Wow, I loved doing The Work this past weekend in Horrible Food Wonderful Food with the beautiful inquirers who wanted to look at the way they eat, view their bodies and examine their compulsive movements with food.
Not only did we question powerful thoughts like “there won’t be enough for me” but we also looked at one person in our lives whose behavior, words, or even a “look” disturbed us.
That person was bothersome….and it may appear that they have nothing to do with our relationship with food or eating.
But it may be more closely related than you think.
Try this test.
First, pick a situation where you got scared, upset, nervous, irritated, worried, confused. It’s a scene from your life. There was another person, or a group of people, involved.
It can be hard to choose sometimes, when there might be many moments spent with this other individual. So allow one particularly troubling moment to come to mind.
It doesn’t even have to be that big of a deal….the most important thing is you have some objection to someone. You didn’t like something about the situation you experienced with them.
Then, write down all your beliefs about this situation. Write down why you’re disappointed or nervous, what you would prefer instead, what you wanted, what you needed in order to be happy.
Now you have your troubling concepts written, on paper, in front of you.
Here’s where the interesting part about food and eating…or ANY addiction…comes in as a part of your investigation into your stressful experience of reality.
Let’s say you write this about someone: I am upset with him because he lied to me. I want him to grow up. I want him to vanish. He shouldn’t have ever started talking to me. He should cut the crap. I need him to apologize, relax, stop being so dramatic, enjoy his own life.
You may then do The Work with any one of these concepts, asking the four questions and finding your turnarounds (opposites) and exploring the truth of your story and if you really believe it.
Now, to investigate further with your addictive substance (in my case it was food)….here’s the interesting test:
Turn all your thoughts around to the opposite, to yourself, and plug in the word “food” and try it on like you’re trying on a different outfit.
I am upset with myself because I lied to myself about food. I want me to grow up when it comes to food. I want my thinking about food to vanish. I shouldn’t have ever started talking to myself about food. I should cut the crap. I need me to apologize to food (to my body), to relax, to stop being so dramatic, to enjoy my own life especially when it comes to eating food.
Wow. What an awesome prescription for what I needed to do next, to face my addictive behavior.
I can spend more time with this prescription, specialized for me only as it was built out of my own stressful perceptions (of that other person).
Instead of that other person, or thing like food, needing to change, in order for me to be comfortable, could it be ME who could be comfortable first?
Can I stop lying to myself and telling myself all kinds of detailed, intricate, wild, chaotic, sad, violent stories about food, eating and this body?
“You just stop telling your mind that its job is to fix your personal problems. This job has broken the mind and disturbed the entire psyche. It has created fear, anxiety and neurosis. Your mind has very little control over this world. It is neither omniscient nor omnipotent….You have given your mind an impossible task by asking it to manipulate the world in order to fix your personal inner problems.” ~ Michael Singer
Today, I know that eating something will not solve my personal inner problems. It will only fuel them, quite honestly.
Drinking, smoking, engaging in obsessive thinking about a relationship, shopping, cleaning, setting goals….these also won’t resolve anything in the inner world. Yes, they will distract me, cause temporary memory loss, create drama, make me feel relief.
But all that is really not that fun. I tried them all and they really all stopped working. And I wanted more than relief.
I wanted liberation.
So in that moment when you feel like reaching towards something like a candy bar, a cigarette, a magazine, memories of that giddy moment with a lover….
….could you remember to ask yourself “is it true, that I need or want this?”
Is it true that this present moment isn’t good enough?
Is it true that I’m hungry? Or unhappy? Or lonely?
Is it true that this moment won’t be changing in a few seconds, without my help?
“You can have ten thousand thoughts a minute, and if you don’t believe them, your heart remains at peace.” ~ Byron Katie
Doing The Work on anything addictive, on others, on what I object to in my life in any way….is such a great alternative job for this analytical mind than demanding it resolve the situations or people I encounter in my life.
And funny thing….the more I have done The Work….
….the urges, cravings, commands, demands to DO something (like eat, or think, or plan)….
For all those who wrote to me about doing Horrible Food Wonderful Food via web cast, YES, I will do an online retreat soon on this topic where you can join from anywhere in the world.
I love your creative ideas, and your sweet and amazing desire to set yourself free.