I’d like to do a bit of inquiry right now, because I just woke up and some of the first images through my mind are bagel with cream cheese and jelly, bowl of cereal, tea. Nothing’s wrong with those foods, of course – it’s just that I’m not hungry at all yet, and I am feeling some pull to make these images a reality for my mouth!
So let’s see, since I lost my job almost 3 weeks ago now, I have not been on a regular schedule – today I woke up around 11:30AM. I think this already bothers me, because it means I will likely be awake late tonight past when everyone goes to sleep, and for me this is a great environment for bingeing. But hey – why am I already thinking about the end of my day? I just woke up! There are never too many times one can remember to stay in the moment. Okay, coming back here. I feel my feet on the floor. It’s slightly cool, which is pleasant to me. I feel my thighs and butt against the seat of the chair.. It’s not the softest, but comfortable enough. I feel the texture of the thin, smooth keyboard protector on my fingers. It’s nice, it almost feels like suede..
Ah, and at this point I am feeling more in this moment.
Okay, how’s the impulse to go eat doing? Well… It’s still an alluring fantasy, in my head. As for how my body would feel afterwards.. I imagine I would feel somewhat sluggish, maybe wanting to plop back into bed.. And emotionally I would be disappointed that I passed by another opportunity to be kind to myself and heal the relationship with food.
I often think about other addictions, other fantasies people might have, and what it would look like for people to overcome them. I imagine someone who’s married and having an affair, for example. This person finds themselves utterly seduced at times, if they go into the fantasy of what it feels like to be with the other person.. And the only way to end it would be to make a true decision, a true commitment to their marriage because they’ve decided THAT is what they truly value.. And then, to recognize the beginnings of the seduction in their mind, and to choose to refocus their attention.
I also like to think of the example of someone who gets high on marijuana every single day, since there is much about this I find similar to my own eating (mostly bingeing every day). Marijuana’s not cocaine, and you can function while high to an extent – and my bingeing isn’t usually physically as severe as some other eating issues, and I can usually function despite it. So basically I see both as somewhat hidden, somewhat underestimated forms of zoning out throughout the day. So I think of this person, and what they would have to do to go from so much marijuana use to giving it up.. And again, I find that they would have to make a commitment to a life that is better, deeper, truer, than the one that’s available with all the zoning out. Then, when they had the craving, they would have to identify it as not what they truly want, as a slippery slope, as a destructive fantasy.. And they would have to refocus their attention from getting lost in the idea of unconsciousness/zoning out/taking a break, to getting back in the moment and finding out what they really need.
One of the reasons I sometimes think about these other addictions is because there’s often a sense of urgency or of “serious stuff at stake” when drug use or affairs are considered – you may crash your car under the influence, you may lose your children in a divorce. Whereas in my case, it’s so easy to get lost in my head, in external standards, and think: I did very good in school. I have such a loving relationship. People who know me think I am friendly. I have a roof over my head. I’m going to be fine – and thus judge that there’s nothing urgent here.
Meanwhile, if I was instead consulting with my heart, I know from the times that I have been willing to listen that I would find a vast landscape of unmet longings. You know what’s at stake if you lose your kids in a divorce because of an affair? Aching longings for everything to go back to normal, for the ability to turn back time and change what you did, to see your children all the time as they grow, REGRET, REGRET. At stake if you crash your car or get arrested while high? The longing to undo the physical injury or death you caused to an innocent person, the longing to be out of jail and to have a chance at your life again, the ache of wishing you pulled yourself out of that downward spiral of substance abuse long ago.. REGRET.
So… what’s at stake for me, eating this way? What’s at stake for you reading this?
Maybe I’m not obese, and I’m not skin and bones.. Maybe I won’t get arrested for bingeing.. Maybe my life looks good compared to many others.. (I will discuss the difference between gratefulness and ignoring your true self in another post)..
But….. Who are we really pulling a fast one on here?
Who do YOU wake up with?
Even if there is physically someone at your side in bed in the morning, you know those moments of being purely in your own mind, in your own skin, in your own heart, before getting lost in thought and getting plugged into the day.
We live with ourselves.
If others praise you for your performance and you hate yourself for being an empty shell, guess which one affects your eating. Guess which reality determines how life feels for you. It’s obvious, and we all know the sayings and stories about those in the most wretched of conditions finding happiness and those with health wealth and fame being miserable. Because it’s about your OWN experience, and your own longings, wants and needs. Your very own once-in-creation truth.
So what’s at stake in allowing yourself to get lost down the path of bingeing, restricting, obsession with food and body.. is that you are losing the connection to what is the very most important to you. You are telling yourself: “The life you truly want does not matter, and it’s not possible. You’re going to deal with living this way instead.” How much different is this than being thrown in prison? Being awake but not being able to live how you want? Feeling trapped, hopeless, degraded?
The luckiness is here – for you, for you and lucky, lucky me… It does NOT have to be this way. We are not deathly poor, we are not in jail, we are not in a country that dictates what we can or cannot do. Freedom is possible for us! Yes, for many reasons we wound up with a food issue – perhaps damaging enough to drive us to wishing for death, perhaps just enough to cause chronic frustration and dissatisfaction. But either way – it’s not something we can’t heal. The invitation is open every single time you eat, each time your body’s hungry – “Come closer, come closer.. Come closer to the life you long to live.”
How many more people do we need to tell us about regret? How many more years, days are we going to let pass by before we close up the gaping wound of I-wasn’t-supposed-to-be-this-way..?
We intuitively know the truth that you find wholeness and peace when you Be Yourself, no matter what the circumstances of life. How to do this? Look at what’s keeping you from being yourself – look at what’s going on when you act out with food, when you cause yourself regret.
At this point, I feel much more aligned with myself and do not feel the need to go and get my fix. I’m going to try to let food do it’s magic – nourish my body, when it’s hungry – and to find out what would nourish Me-Being-Me right now. Writing felt pretty good for Me ;)
Give yourself a chance,