One by one I’ve been interviewing all the participants who took my recent 8 week Eating Peace class.
I LOVE getting feedback.
It’s like we’re engaged in a project together to investigate this common and sometimes agonizing experience when the act of eating feels stressful, NOT peaceful.
And I’m learning how to deliver information in a way that is easiest, most direct, clear, supportive.
In the end, the most important thing is, how can I be of greatest service? What works? What induces or inspires freedom, change, an alternative experience, one that is useful?
Of course, there are no guarantees. No way to apply an exact formula. It’s a process, a practice. It’s an un-doing really, not a doing of anything.
I remember how I used to feel when I would have “episodes”. Code word for frantic binges, eating everything in sight and buying more, stuffing food in like I was trying to hide it, in a panic.
But not everyone has such extreme anxiety or urgent cravings and actions. Some people will buy one candy bar and gulp it down, or continuously return to the cupboard for more raw cashew butter or vegan brownies, grazing off and on all evening.
Sometimes, people sit down with food while watching television and feel semi-conscious of how much is going in their mouth and down their throats.
But for just about everyone….there is a moment in time later on, after the eating, when they have the thought that they must be sick, crazy, failing, missing something, hopeless, lacking any discipline.
A pretty difficult thought to believe: something must be wrong with me.
Yeah! Look at the evidence. Extra weight. Isolation. If normal weight, then the evidence is this obsessive eating, this obsessivethinking.
Even if you don’t have an issue with food, or it’s very minor and of fairly little concern, you can find where you might have evidence of the possibility of something being wrong with you.
For some people it’s change, loss. Divorce. Illness. Confusion.
Something must be wrong with you.
Is that true?
Why can’t I stop acting or thinking this way?
Can you really know that it’s true though, like for All Time, that doing this thing or being that way MEANS there is something wrong with you?
For me, when I look back at who I was and how I behaved and how I lived…I can find how nothing was inherently wrong with me.
Something was out of balance. I was afraid. I was in a fog. Something wasn’t clear. It seemed like my best choice at the time.
I was believing some really troubling thoughts, and somehow I needed to eat at the time. Because that was what I did. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they’ve got, with what they’re believing, and that includes me. And you.
How did I react when I believed that thought, that something must be wrong with me?
Exhausted. Total despair. A feeling of the lowest energy and like giving up. Sometimes an inner rage, blistering words towards me, towards the whole planet. I’d go off on being in this world sometimes, saying or thinking things like “it’s completely insane!”
For some people, how they react to the thought that something must be wrong with them, is that they eat more, they snap at people, they push, they isolate themselves…..or, they try even harder and put on a fake plastic smile and overwork or take care of others and strive to be better, or take mega workshops.
But who would you be without the thought that the must be something wrong with you?
Especially given what you’ve done?
Realizing that there was something so powerful, important, crucial and fundamental happening in those moments of troubling or shameful behavior, that even if I didn’t understand it all….it was a clue, a gift, of the greatest awareness.
That activity I was doing, that thing I said, that uncomfortable behavior….could that mean that something must be right with me?
What’s a genuine example?
Instead of just going on autopilot that something was wrong, how was it right?
Here’s what I see as right, when I look back: I felt the pain. It helped me move away from the hot stove. I became aware of how terrified I was of other peoples’ anger and my own, and how I’d try to shut it down. I was too afraid of rejection, and didn’t want to ask for help for good reasons. I didn’t know another way, but I began to put energy into whatever it would take.
I had the mechanism, naturally, that was like a compass telling me which way to go. I could feel it, even if I didn’t consciously grasp it.
And now, years and years later….I also realize that it put me on a trajectory that completely eliminated more minor food obsessy type moments. If I have any criticism of the body, it can barely get any traction.
I do not get involved with the “right” and “wrong” of food. I do not go up and down ten or twenty pounds. I do not have conversations about recipes, I don’t cook because I notice I don’t enjoy it, really, ever (and I don’t oppose it). I am happy with very, very simple food a lot of which turns out to be raw since I dislike cooking. Hilarious.
I have small moments of learning about food, with delight, but it takes just about one tiny percentage of my mental energy.
I have a good friend who also found how something was right with her for her past drinking behavior. She stopped, because it got unmanageable. Non-issue now.
What is right about you for getting divorced, for losing your temper, for being so clingy, for getting sick, for hurting your leg, for losing your job, for feeling like you can’t forgive……
…..for getting a Reality Slap (coined by Russ Harris)?
It waking me up. Eyes wide open awake.
I felt the discord in being a believer of those stressful thoughts.
Yes, something was really right with me. You may find if you even open yourself to this possibility, something inside sparkles.
Not screwed up. Not missing something. Not incapable. Not special. Same as all humans…feeling pain sometimes.
But wait, there’s more.
What if there is no wrong or right with you, nothing to counter or get rid of, nothing to add or find?
“It is in the absolute surrender of all conditions and requirements that Liberation is discovered to be who and what you are. Then the love and wisdom that flows out of you has a liberating effect on others. The biggest challenge for most spiritual seekers is to surrender their self importance, and see the emptiness of their own personal story. It is your personal story that you need to awaken from in order to be free.To give up being either ignorant or enlightened is the mark of liberation and allows you to treat others as your Self. What I am describing is the birth of true Love.” ~ Adyashanti
What if There. Is. Nothing. With. You.
Oh, ha ha!
“We all already have everything. We all do. That’s how I can sit here so comfortably.” ~ Byron Katie
If you’re noticing difficulty in your inner world around food and eating, come join the Horrible Food Wonderful Food weekend, the first weekend of April right here in Seattle. Friday night, Saturday and Sunday all day, non-residential. $295.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions. If you want to attend and bring a family member or good friend, the second person is half the fee ($150).