Lately I’m doing a ton mega-work on looking at eating and compulsion (or really any addiction of any kind) issues.
(Haha, not really….well, OK, maybe now that I’ve investigated stories and beliefs, it really kinda is my favorite, but in the thick of it, not so much).
One thing I’ve realized in the experience of whatever addiction actually is…..it’s never hopeless.
(News flash: if you’re interested in Eating Peace, you can download the new eating peace ebooklet with a seven-day-practice guide to daily steps to inquiry and peace: HERE.)
Once I had a young man come to work with me who felt excruciatingly fearful about avoiding drugs when he felt drawn to them, but also living his life each day in a new location where he didn’t know anyone, and no family was around.
He felt utterly hopeless one morning. Like he couldn’t leave his apartment. HOPELESS.
And yet, when we took at look at what actually happened, he left. He didn’t THINK he could leave, but he did. He called for help.
Something happened, then something else. Change unfolded.
It wasn’t entirely completely absolutely hopeless, even though he THOUGHT it was for awhile. (And I remember having this same kind of thought myself).
If you think it is hopeless, you can question this belief. It’s just a belief, an idea, thrown out by the mind.
Is it true?
I could never, even in the worst nightmare of addiction, find that it was absolutely true, without any doubt at all.
Even if my mind was churning out devastated, furious, vicious thoughts about life, it was never true.
Thoughts like: you are all alone, you are a piece of shi*t, you are unloveable, the world is a terrible place, you’re a failure.
I mean, that thing can get nasty, right?
But who are you, without the belief you your situation is hopeless?
Your addictive pattern, your income, your location, your life…who would you be without the bitter thought that it’s hopeless?
Without the thought?
I don’t even know what to say.
But it does make me pause a moment. Whatever “me” is. And whatever “pausing” is. And whatever “hope” is.
I can wonder….who would I be?
Sometimes this Question Four: who would you be without your story….is a strange act of imagination.
When you’re in the thick of fear and dread, you have no idea of the answer. And yet the mind can STILL WONDER who you’d be?
You might come up with possibilities, ideas, you might even be able to paint a picture of what Someone (not you) would be like without that dreadful story.
That’s YOUR mind, able to imagine and come up with answers.
You’re good at the opposite, dark, haunting, violent, horror imagined stories….why not use your imagination for a little of the opposite for once?
Turning the thought around: it’s hopeful. It’s not hopeless.
Whatever “hope” is, is not actually required (the biggest turnaround). My thinking is hopeless….not me, not the world, not everything in my life. Hope is not a “thing” and not even important.
Can you find examples, no matter how small, of how things are rather hopeful around here? Or how whatever they are, hope isn’t needed?
Autumn late afternoon sun beaming on fresh green wet grass. Wild bunnies racing down the road to escape the car. Traffic sounds from rush hour people driving from work. Silence in the evening air.
People I worked with today feeling different than they felt last week when we met. Two days from now, all the people coming for retreat here in Seattle–everyone coming to join with me (amazing) to question thoughts, and change our world.
I took a tour of the retreat house I’ll be teaching at two evenings from now. I was so grateful for the beauty of the place, how gorgeous it’s set up. The location is stunning, and it supports the process of inquiry. Almost no profit for this retreat, due to expenses.
Why not. And right now, what’s true is quiet tapping of fingers on keyboard. No retreat in sight. Beautiful kitchen table. Friendly laptop. Pretty pink phone. Calendar open to November since that’s the next time I can make any client appointments.
This moment, glorious.
“Hope means intentionally using the idea of a future to keep you from experiencing the present. It’s a crutch, but if you feel lame, use it.” ~ Byron Katie
Hope is not required for happiness right now, I notice. Strange, but true.
And, I can open up to hope, if I feel lame, like I’m limping, like I’m not making it, like I keep dropping into my addictions, like I fall in the hole 50 times a day.
Then maybe the future looks better. But right now? Maybe it’s not as bad as you think. No, really.
P.S. Last minute thought to join retreat? You’d be welcome. Reply to this Grace Note. Join us–4 days in The Work.
P.P.S. If you have special interest in ending eating battles of any kind–obsessing about food, body, weight, exercise–then download this guide and let me know if it’s helpful. I’d really love to know. Download it HERE. Share it with others who you think would benefit.