Geneen Roth- Talk #2 of I CAN DO IT

The second speaker on Day 1 of the I CAN DO IT Conference was author Geneen Roth. She wrote “Women, Food, and God” and you might be familiar with her from her Oprah appearance. She is quite petite and vibrant. I wasn’t sure I was going to “connect” with her. When she was on Oprah she came across as quiet and reserved. Well, apparently she must have been nervous on the show, because once she hit the stage at I CAN DO IT, she was extremely charismatic, funny, and extremely likable.

Geneen Roth began by talking about her own struggles with weight, from dieting to binging to bulimia to anorexia, she has struggled with everything and for almost 20 years she has been able to deal with her eating addictions. I, personally, don’t have an eating addiction, but like most women I think about my weight and body image more than I need to or want to. So naturally, her talk resonated with me in many ways.

Here are some of the notes I took and again, my own commentary is in italics:

Being ordinary is just a path that opens to the extraordinary.

The way we do ANYTHING is the way in which we do everything.

Our relationships to anything is a reflection of our beliefs of ourselves. This was interesting to me, as I thought to think about my relationship with money, food, work, holidays, rest, energy, people.

We believe that if we feel uncomfortable in our bodies it is because of the weight. This is what we think. But is this true? Geneen spoke about the relationships we have and the belief systems we have for ourselves. If we are uncomfortable in our body, it isn’t JUST about the weight. Remember, the way in which we do anything is the way in which we do everything. It is all connected.

When we begin to worry about the past or the future or we get angry about the past or the future, we have to remind ourselves that in this EXACT moment, everything is fine.

Geneen had us to do an exercise where we had to tell the person next to us, what our relationship to food is and what our relationship money is. Both are topics that we hestitate to talk about in our society. We don’t tell people that at 3 in the morning we ransacked the fridge to find chocolate chips or that we spend money on things we don’t need or even want. For me, when I did this exercise I realized that I have a huge amount of GUILT when it comes to both food and money. I feel guilty when I eat something unhealthy and I feel guilty when I spend money on something that isn’t a necessity. Geneen said nothing is separate. How we do SOMETHING is how we do EVERYTHING.

For me, this was a really interesting exercise. If you have the time or interest, write down and identify what your relationship to food is and then write down and identify what your relationship to money is. It really is profound, the correlation.

Much of the time our beliefs do not connect with the reality. For example, Geneen was telling us that she had over $1 million in the bank pre 2008 and yet she still didn’t feel like she had enough. In 2008 she lost EVERYTHING as a result of Madoff. When she lost everything she realized that what was really important in her life (family, friends, love, her body, her aliveness), was still in tact.

She concluded with a fabulous quote from Stephen Levine:

Anyone who says they have their shit together, is standing in it.


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