The Omens in My Eating Disorder Recovery
By: Meg Burton “Omens are the individual language in which god talks to you. My omens are not your omens. They are this strange, but very individual language that guides you toward your own destiny. They are not logical. They talk to your heart directly.” Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist
I recently finished The Alchemist and have been mulling over what my personal legend in life might become and all the omens in my life, good and bad, that have led me to this exact moment. I may not have a clear vision of what my personal legend is at the moment; but I can’t help but be amazed by the path of the omens that have been laid before. They have ushered me to where I am in life. And they are hopefully laying out a path that will lead me to discovering exactly what my personal legend may be.
Omen Circle #1
Three summers ago as I was in treatment for my eating disorder, I made it clear in most chances that were available, to proclaim my hatred of Italian food. In an ironic twist of fate, the following summer I found myself traveling to the Italian portion of Switzerland to work at an American school where I fell in love with Italian food. The summer after that I even farmed for a little over two weeks in Italy, tending to the vegetable garden and learning how to make home-made dishes like pasta.
Omen Circle #2
While I was in treatment I also met my friend, Shirley, who connected me with the yoga studio, Wanderlust. Shirley works for the owners of Wanderlust and Schuyler (one of the owners) grew up in my hometown and went to the same high school as me. Both of our roots come from the small, crazy hippie-town known as Sebastopol, California; providing me with an omen that convinced me to finally take the leap to sign up for yoga teacher training at Wanderlust. I began to fulfill one of my life dreams of helping others heal through the use of yoga.
Omen Circle #3
After completing my yoga teacher training at the end of May, I jetted off to Switzerland to embark on my third summer working at TASIS (The American School in Switzerland). This summer wrapped up a long omen circle.
About a year and a half ago I was standing in my room when all of the sudden I began to remember an author I loved as a kid. I quickly googled one of titles of the books I could remember, and that’s when Sharon Creech reentered my adult life. All of my childhood books were still at my parents house, but I kept the names of the books in the back of my head.
That spring a friend of mine was in Southern California for a conference so I went to meet with her and catch up. After dinner we found a cute used bookstore and I zoomed over to the young adult section. Low and behold they had two of my favorites, Walk Two Moons, and Chasing Redbird. Even reading the books as an adult I still felt connected to the characters and was reminded why I felt such an affinity for them when I was young.
Fast forward to summer time and I was back at TASIS roaming the dining hall and decided to take a moment to look at the merchandise in the display windows. While my eyes were grazing over each item I froze in my tracks, staring at a book titled Bloomability. Splashed on the bottom of the front cover was the name, Sharon Creech. How could this be!?! Why was a book by one of my favorite authors inside the merchandise display of an American school all the way in Switzerland?
I opened my phone up and began frantically googling. This is when one of the most small world, this-has-to-be-an-omen, moment happened. Bloomability takes place in the exact school I work at in Switzerland. Sharon Creech happens to be married to one of the most influential headmasters of the school and also worked at the England campus where my dad works; and the two actually knew each other! These paths of omens are crazy you guys.
This summer, I decided to embark on an adventure I’ve always wanted to take since working in Switzerland. Our campus overlooks Lake Lugano which is nestled between the two peaks of Mt. San Salvatore and Monte Boglia. I have always stared up at the blank, grassy knoll of Monte Boglia, hoping that one of these years I could find a free day to hike it. Shirley ended up coming to visit me this summer and we were able to hike all the way up to the top of Monte Boglia where I left a quote from Bloomability in the trail book. I wrote it down with a huge smile on my face; enveloped with so much joy and happiness.
Omen Circle #4
And now here I am sitting in a cafe with only 17 days left in this magical place, reading a book I was suppose to read for yoga teacher training but never did. To add to the continual path of omens and magic, it happens to be a cafe right next to Herman Hesse’s house who wrote Siddhartha, the story of the life of the man before he became Buddha.
This place I am nestled in is filled with magic that draws so many influential and special people here. All these omens have led me to this special place on this earth where I am tucked away in the hills of Montagnola - surrounded and protected by the lakes, rivers, and mountains.
Keep your eyes open. Look around you. There are little miracles and omens everywhere once we pause and listen. They are talking to your heart and yearning to guide you.
So again, all I can do is repeat the holiest of all mantras while I sit here and draw a line through all the connections that have lead me to this moment where it feels like anything is possible in this life.
About the Author:
Meg Burton first began working with Project HEAL in 2012 where I started as their PR intern.
She writes, "I was going into my sophomore year of college at Cal State Fullerton where I still felt like a fresh transplant from Northern California and didn’t quite feel like Orange County was my home yet.
Transitions often trigger eating disorder behaviors so I was on high alert to maintain my recovery. I was trying to find resources to surround me with support during this transitional period and I was astonished to find that my college not only did not provide any resources for eating disorders, but didn’t even “deal with the issue.”This is when I decided to do something. If there weren’t any resources, then I was going to provide the things that I wished were available to me. I moved from a PR intern at Project HEAL, to helping found the Southern California chapter.
Working with Project HEAL has been a dream for me. I don’t want anybody to go through the painful process of trying to get help and being denied from insurance and/or being able to attain the care that they need. If I can take the experiences I went through to help another person in their healing process then I can find the meaning in all my struggles. We’re not meant to walk through this journey alone and I am so grateful to be a part of an organization that is here to hold your hand if you need it.
In my free time I'm a wanderluster. I love traveling, going on crazy adventures, sitting in coffee shops, practicing yoga, reading, and going to concerts. I'm absolutely obsessed with Harry Potter and Florence and the Machine. If you've talked to me for more than fifteen minutes then you've most definitely heard a camp story from me. Recovery has made me become a connoisseur of many foods so if we get to hang out lets go get chocolate milkshakes."