Where is spirit? Where do you find it? Do we all have a spiritual guide? A chapter in my manuscript discusses the impact of the ever presence of strong spirituality. With regards to compulsive eating, some believe without spiritual energy one is blocked from reaching their peak because the noise is too loud – telling you to eat foods that are going to make you sick – yet you eat them anyway because the voice tells you to. The voice that is saying it is okay this one time because you will begin your diet tomorrow or Monday or on some special holiday. Lent is here and it is a time many addicts vow to not eat, drink, smoke or whatever the vice is for 40 days and 40 nights. A promise to cleanse and begin anew.

Father Tom pressed his thumb hard against my forehead mumbling “ashes to ashes – dust to dust” as he left the imprint of a charcoal colored cross taking up most of the space above my eyes and below my hairline. I walked around wearing my thumb print for all to see– ready to take up the cross and repent – and give up something. This year I relinquished salt and sweeteners. To some this may sound simple, for me it is a gargantuan task. I sprinkle salt on everything and sweeteners are soon to follow. How will my spirit take over my cravings. Will they just be lifted or do I consciously give them up? Do I put the focus on salt and sweeteners or on spirit?

I think of spirit like fresh snow draping over tree branches as they dip low in the early morning with bird prints sprawled below; the scent of freshly cut grass mixed with spring Lilly’s and sea air; Sage pressing her cold wet nose in my hand in hopes I will pet her soft luscious white coat; a baby smiling and cooing as it looks at me in hoisted position off her mothers shoulder; sitting on the dock with a hot cup of tea after planting fresh daisies below the cobalt sky and bluish gray waters dancing like diamonds sprinkled about. Spirit is everywhere. Everywhere is spirit. I invite and embrace it. Spirit enters and addictions are pushed far back – almost a dream – at least for this moment.

The day after pledging your penance reality sits in. Wanting what you have agreed to give up comes calling. Wondering if you really can go 40 days without your designated “drug.” It is easy to say I swear and promise I will give this substance up as the palm ashed cross is securely placed and visible for all to see. But the day after is an entirely different feel. The withdrawals begin to set in and missing your favorite “whatever” comes calling. It is at this point you ask where is my spirit that will lead me to recovery? Where?

Where is spirit? Spirit is here, there, and everywhere – always present – always ready to serve. It requires no cue – it just is. You can’t touch it, smell it, or see it, but if you’re still enough you can feel it. It is available for everyone whether you are tall, short, big, small, black, white or in between. Spirit has no face yet is in each face. Spirit is here. Is now. Lent is here. I give my salt and sweetener to you higher energy and welcome the freedom.

Photos by: Dr. Lisa Ortigara Crego

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