It’s so much easier to point a finger at someone else than to reflect on ourselves.
In trying to not be a hypocrite, I used someone else’s coping as a mirror, and found that I was not satisfied with what I saw. I wanted to point to someone else’s excessive drinking as a problem when I wasn’t willing to evaluate myself by the same standard. Until I was, and got really honest about that mirror, and saw that my eating to excess was no different.
I decided to be mindful about it, to notice what I was doing in an attempt to measure my problem. I started checking in with myself when I opened the fridge or the pantry.
Am I actually hungry? Do I need to eat, or is this about something else?
Turns out it’s usually about something else, and when it is I remind myself that food is for when I’m hungry and if I’m not hungry then I need to deal with the real issue.
It’s slowly starting to spill over into how I feel and what I’m experiencing, and has led to me going to bed earlier than usual a few times.
This mindfulness thing is pretty great.
This is the first full week I’ve worked in six months. Over 40 hours, fully engaged, up early, up late, driving lots of miles, handling difficult aspects of projects and wading into conflict to resolve it rather than pass it off to someone else with blame.
While on a new diet that takes away food as a crutch and while resolving some challenging personal shit.
I have been pretty intense this week about sorting myself and my environment out. Brené Brown has a great comment from her therapist, which is rather than put on a shell, get yourself out of the briar patch. I’ve been living in a briar patch and blaming the thorns for being there. Time to get out!
I started purging my belongings yesterday. A quick, temporary move has turned into five years of stuff stored in boxes, stuff that I don’t even remember that I have and certainly a lot that I don’t need or someone else could use. There are some family heirlooms and some things that I will use later in a different living situation, but there is also a lot that I can release: the bag of info and giveaways from a conference I attended over a decade ago. The scraps from handcutting invitation postcards for a program I ran over fifteen years ago. Yep, hoarder tendencies run deep in my family, and I used to keep some weird and unnecessary stuff because I found it painful to throw anything away. Now I understand the weight these things place around your ankles, and how difficult it makes it to get up and walk again when you fall. So out it goes!
I’m halfway done, and that’s enough for now. Usually I will force myself through a task like that until it’s done, and I’ve been forcing myself through some tough stuff already this week. Then I get to Monday and wonder where the weekend went and why I am so exhausted?
So it can wait, I can take a break and rest, because it will still be there to deal with this week, like everything else on my schedule. But I will feel better and be more prepared to handle it.
I’ve been pushing against the walls of the past that confine me, and I’m disappointed, scared and angry that they exist. It’s like I’m struggling to get out of a cocoon or a restrictive jacket, and I haven’t managed to tear my way out yet.
Apparently, this is called Day/Act/Part 2. It’s the middle.
I’m thankful that Brené Brown went first and did the research and self-application that have given me a path to healing. I’m listening to Rising Strong now, and the timing is good. God-thing good. She describes a curriculum in which participants go through an intensive three-day learning process. Day Two – the middle, the part about vulnerability and blame and shame – sucks. And you can’t skip Day Two.
She connects this to the Hero story. Act two is the part in which the Hero tries every easy way around the problem, only to climax at the realization and engagement with the hard truth that there is only way through. Act Two sucks for the Hero. Act Two sucks for us. I am in Act Two, and it sucks. But I can’t skip it. I can’t ignore or skip or evade the discomfort, the struggle and the frustrating constriction, and I’ve come too far to turn back.
But hey, at least I have a name for it and I’m not the only one.
As I listened to Chapter 3 of Healing from Trauma: A Survivor’s Guide I noticed I was experiencing some of the trauma symptoms the narrator was describing. I was tensing up, getting a headache and tightening inward, as if to curl into a ball and protect myself. I was aware I was doing this (mindfulness practice seems to be showing some results!) and unclenched my jaw and rolled my shoulders a bit.
I’ve noticed also during yoga, which I’m practicing more regularly again, that I don’t have a lot of flexibility in my shoulders. There are positions that are really challenging for me, like making a bridge with my fingers pointed toward my feet or clasping my hands behind my back and straightening my arms. I didn’t remember that being the case previously, but a lot of times I blame weight gain for my yoga practice challenges.
Oh…wait…trauma response…tight shoulders…
I’m not sure if it’s more freeing or discouraging to realize that my lack of flexibility and range of motion is due more to trauma than my fat rolls, but it does provide a path forward, and a solution – more yoga!