An interview with Caroline Dupont

Posted October 22nd, 2010 in Psychology of Disease by Rebecca Lane

I first heard of Caroline DuPont when I was asked to help with cooking at one of her retreats. Once I heard that she had written a cookbook, I went out and purchased the book Enlightened Eating: Nourishment for Body and Soul and read it from cover to cover. I was entranced. Here was someone who had written down so beautifully so many of the concepts and ideas I had been thinking about over the previous couple of years. Now that I had the information in concrete form, it seemed so much clearer and easier to understand. Through her company Health and Beyond, Caroline helps clients with a holistic model of healing that encompasses many modalities, including meditation, yoga, dance, energy work and nutrition. In addition to writing her cookbook, Caroline runs regular Clear-Being Meditation retreats, has produced several meditation CDs, teaches yoga, meditation, whole and living foods cooking and preparation and lectures on many healthy living topics as well as teaching at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. She is also currently working on developing courses for the Canadian Academy of Therapeutic Arts.  I chose to interview Caroline DuPont because she has successfully merged the two aspects of holistic health that I think need to work together, nutrition and emotional healing. I wanted to find out how her practice had evolved into the successful lifestyle she is living today. I prepared several questions to discuss with her, but when the interview began there was only one overwhelming question that I needed to ask her about.So, as soon as I sat down with Caroline, that’s what came up. How do you help people take responsibility for themselves? Caroline’s response was that once people take responsibility for themselves, you can act as a guide. But until then you’re wasting your breath. You can’t make others take responsibility for themselves, but you can work on yourself and lead by example.For this, she says there are many different layers. On the physical level, she teaches classes in her kitchen because it offers practical experience, and because it lets her clients see how she really lives. Her kitchen isn’t perfect, yet she can still put together healthy, nutritional food. By letting people into her world, they see that this is how she really lives.The next layer is to take responsibility for your reactions to others lack of self-responsibility. Again, there are sub-layers to this. Look at letting go of needing to control others, and of needing to be in control of your reactions. A deeper layer though is to look at those reactions as a mirror back at you. What triggers you? Why are you being triggered? What do you need to be working on?For Caroline, taking responsibility means including her reactions to clients in meditation, because if they are triggering something in her, then it’s about her. That’s the foundation of the work that she does. In that sense, every client is a gift. What do my reactions to my client’s choices say about me? This is TRUE self-responsibility. Don’t spend any external energy around trying to convince clients to change the way they do things. Instead, focus on your own personal growth.For example, if you find that your clients aren’t preparing their meals, look at yourself. Are you taking the time and energy to cook and eat healthy meals? You will keep on seeing the same clients until you’re ready to make changes yourself.When you decide to become part of the “healing” profession it’s a vocation, it doesn’t end when you stop seeing your client. They follow you into your life and into your meditations and dreams. Your job is to do the clearing of whatever comes up.So, being with clients who are willing to be self-responsible coincides with her decision to be completely self-responsible. Your personal journey is mirrored by the clients you attract. The more self-responsible you are, the more you will draw to you people who are willing and able to be self-responsible. It’s an exchange of energy in that we draw to us people who need to learn from us and from whom we need to learn – so we are all learning from one another.I next asked how she incorporates spiritual and energetic work into her practice. Her response was that she tells potential clients in the first interaction that in order to heal you’re going to need to delve into emotional stuff and asks if they are prepared to do that. In addition, all of her marketing material, book and website describe her practice as including nutrition as well as meditation, energy work and movement (through yoga and dance), which leaves nothing hidden from the clients.As to the timing around when you start on the energetic, emotional work, she says you take it one client at a time. First you need to recognize that when you have clients with the same issues or who provoke the same issues within you that these are the things you need to be working on at this time. This is the universe saying “Ok, let’s work on this now.” And you need to do that work.As you become more comfortable, you are able to recognize when a client is ready to do emotional work. You’ll notice that their diet is good, and they’re eating well, but they’re still having physical problems. So, now it’s time to work on an emotional level. Caroline usually starts them off by teaching them some basic meditation skills and sends them home with a meditation CD. For the next meeting, she will focus on body work.I wanted a tangible image of how she actually does body work, so asked what does “body work” look like for you? Usually, she listens to part of their story, and in the middle of a particularly emotion-filled issue, she asks the client “What are you feeling in your body around this issue?” Often, they’ll say that they don’t feel anything. So she has them close their eyes and guides them into their body. Once they can feel their body’s response to the issue she teaches them how to sink into that feeling and be present with it. Don’t try and dissolve it, just recognize it and know that the energy needs to be there. And that it is generally uncomfortable as it moves on to a higher frequency. That’s why we keep on jamming it back down with distractions and our own addictions. By teaching people how to do this on their own, they become no longer dependent on her guidance.She warns that this work is difficult to do because the person wouldn’t have suppressed it if it wasn’t frightening to them in the first place. For her, it’s almost as if she is taking their hand and saying lets take a look at this together – in a sense, sharing their burden for a few steps. Ask them leading questions like, what does it feel like? Have them describe it. Get people comfortable with what they are feeling so that they can start to hear and to trust their body, the energy and be present with it.In Caroline’s mind, this is the true definition of compassion – being willing to share clients’ burdens for a time. Because we are all the same, we have the same struggles. This is why it is so important to her that she goes to bed early, does her meditation, and eats well. This gives her the energy and ability to help others.This interview turned everything I had been thinking on its head! I hadn’t realized that I wasn’t being authentic. That I was going through the motions of being a “Holistic Nutritional Consultant” but not really walking my talk. Caroline made me realize why it is so important to make this my vocation. I know that I need to make several changes to my own lifestyle to place priority on creating healthy meals for me and my family every day. Once I learn how to do that, I can share that information with clients so it’s much easier for them. Then I need to add regular exercise to my routine. I can’t teach others to heal themselves until I’m prepared to do my own work first.I also now understand that attracting self-responsible clients starts with me. Until I am ready and willing to face every issue that comes up in my life, and resolve it, then I can’t help anyone. By choosing to do this kind of work, I need to be prepared to be truly self-responsible – to see triggers for what they are, opportunities for growth. It’s time to relinquish judgments and trying to control my world.From a practical standpoint, I now have concrete examples of how I can set up a process around including energy medicine, artistic expression and meditation to my practice. It has to be part of everything I produce for my business so that not only am I clear about how I intend to do work, but clients will also be clear. I think that my approach can be similar to Caroline’s in that we start in the kitchen with concrete menu plans and recipes, some of which we’ll actually make together. Once the diet has been cleaned up, the opportunity will open to work on the emotional side of healing. Maybe it will come up while we’re cooking in the kitchen!It is time to start living my vocation. I’m developing ways that a busy mom can find time to cook healthy meals for her family. So far I’ve discovered that a lot has to do with having fresh ingredients at hand. Last weekend I did all of my shopping at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and was set for the whole week. Cooking was a breeze. This week, I wasn’t able to go to the Farmer’s Market, so don’t have the fresh ingredients and I’m finding getting around to cooking more challenging. I think that another thing I need to look at is creating weekly menus so that I can get right to work as soon as I get home from school. I can then use these menus (with shopping lists) to help my clients be more organized. That way all of the creative, time-consuming work is already done for me when I’m too tired to do it. I have faith that my family will eat more of the good food once there isn’t so much stress associated with making it.

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