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A Deeper Kind of Craving: Healing Food and Body Issues through the Practice of Presence Open Access


Other title
practice of presence
healing through illumination, embodiment, connection, emergence
Type of item
Degree grantor
St. Stephen's College
Author or creator
Margaret Maureen Farah
Supervisor and department
Dr. Kristine Lund
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Michelle Lelwica
Dr. Jean Waters
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality
Degree level
A Deeper Kind of Craving; healing food and body issues through the practice of presence is about understanding what is at the heart of overeating. Despite the attention on the obesity crisis there is little discussion of the spiritual underpinnings of overeating. This research explored the spiritual practice of presence and how it reconnects us to our bodies and results in healthier eating and relationship with the body. The researcher, who has a history of overeating and chronic dieting, embarked on a heuristic self-study exploring the experience of healing food and body issues through the practice of presence rather than dieting. The researcher engaged a process of practicing mindfulness, mindful eating, meditation, art making etc. Four distinct healing processes were observed: illumination, embodiment, connection and emergence. Illumination involved heightened clarity and insight, resulting in a compassionate curiosity towards the body and eating behaviors. Embodiment involved embracing the body and learning to hear and respond to its needs appropriately. Connection was characterized by a sense of oneness with one’s body, with others and with the world at large. Emergence was an experience of transformation in both eating behaviors and the relationship with the body. The researcher discovered that the obsession with dieting and the ensuing rejection of the body is more hurtful than the weight itself. The researcher experienced presence as a profoundly spiritual practice that unites one with alienated aspects of oneself. The researcher concluded that presence offers what one is truly craving when one overeats: a wholeness that offers peace.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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