I hope the weekend left you starry-eyed, excited, intrigued, or a little less sleep deprived at least. In the spirit of soul searching, my weekend was a combination of volunteering, (obligatory study for the GRE), a full moon drum circle, and an amazing day trip to Flagstaff to climb Mt. Humphreys (for one hell of a view).
A day in nature with a dead iPhone for several hours (THANK YOU UNIVERSE!) always seems to simultaneously fill and drain me. With the “draining” comes thoughts, memories, connections, ideas, and what I like to call “body talk”— or the noticing/feeling of emotions that were stored in my tissues long ago. By this I mean that “sticky things” such as resentment or old guilt seem to creep up when muscles are stretched, worked, and tired. I think this is why I have always enjoyed being active. In the movement, I always seem to discover new things that I didn’t even know I had repressed. Whenever I think about this, I laugh to myself because I am reminded of the movie First Wives Club where Goldie Hawn says to Bette Midler, “I get my best ideas working out!” I couldn’t agree more Goldie.
Like any active day, yesterday was no different. Ideas, emotions, and memories surfaced and several hours later, I knew there was something I wanted to share here on this silly little platform, aka, the blog.
The little slice of knowing that I received yesterday was simply this:
I hope I never stay the same
This may sound completely ridiculous, so of course, I will explain (in way too much detail) what I mean by this and why I find this one sentence so damn meaningful (at least for today, this moment, now).
When you believe with all your heart that the way your body looks determines your happiness, you are asking for heartache and disappointment. The moment you think that you “have it all figured out” and feel completely secure, your entire world could be rattled.
As a recovering perfectionist, I can say that as soon as I felt “skinny” or “happy” or “successful” or “loved” I would immediately worry about these feelings leaving me. I was terrified of anything changing. I craved constancy and security. I relied on tactics and behaviors of control. Yesterday while I was hiking, I heard a gentleman say to his friend “Any day in the woods is a good day”. As he passed me, I smiled and told him I couldn’t agree more.
Then, my little brain, mind, and heart got to thinking: Would I be enjoying myself more if I was thinner/smarter/had more money/had my life “figured out”/etc.?
The answer to myself was a loud NO. I love it when you have a moment of clarity. A moment where you realize that the perfectionist inside you lives on and breathes flawed thinking. The eating disorder is married to perfectionism and perfectionism fuels the eating disorder. The symbiotic relationship is entirely toxic to the person carrying it. In the past, I believed that my power existed in my ability to stay the same; my strength was derived from sticking to the same schedule, the same exact meals and snacks, the same weekend plans, and the same patterns of control. I desperately wanted to control my body. The idea of it changing (gaining weight) was so frightening, that I physically felt ill when I ate foods that weren’t a part of my “plan”. I desperately attempted to control the emotions of those around me, because my fear of not being liked was a real, sickening, deep fear. When I started to do some self-study here in Arizona, I attempted a witnessing meditation. The first question listed was “What am I afraid of”?
My answer was long but here is part of it:
What am I not afraid of?! …Not being liked/accepted is at the top of the list, afraid of my body changing/weight gain… I am afraid of most anything new. Afraid of failing and afraid of being out of control….
The reason I share this snippet of my private journal is that I have a feeling someone out there has felt similar fears. The very nature of being a human is grasping at what we know, what feels comfortable, and what has made us “happy” in the past. You know the thing about living in your comfort zone? It is comfortable. And that is about it.
Have you ever experienced a really amazing moment in life and closed your eyes wishing that it could go on forever? Yesterday, I did this several times. It felt so good to feel what I was feeling that I held my breath and felt myself grasping for that moment, wanting to contain it and feel it forever. What I realize is that grasping at anything and wanting it to “last forever” or attempting to control anything, hoping it will “never change” is the root of suffering and a way to stop all growth. This is where my line of inspiration came in- I hope I never stay the same.
Every moment of life you experience has the potential to change you. Even in a teeny, tiny way. You are always learning. You are constantly growing. Your body is a little bit older every single day. Everything is imperfect and impermanent. Hoping that you can maintain a weight that you have deemed “perfect” will inevitably lead to depression. Planning every single moment of your week will cause you to miss out on the beauty that exists in the accidental.
I hope I never stay the same. Because if I do, I will miss out on what it means to be human. I will miss out on new flavors, new places, new faces, new ideas, and I will miss out on the spectrum of emotions that results from diving into the unknown and uncomfortable.
When I change my mindset from fear of the unknown to excitement of the yet to be discovered, my fear lessens. Inside each bundle of control, fear, and judgment exists a tiny seed that is dying to be planted somewhere new. And when that seed is sown, it grows new life- something completely different that what fear grows. I hope that every day, I can be okay with not being the same person I was yesterday. I hope that I can be okay with my body changing. I hope that I can let go of the need for control. I hope that I can be totally okay with people not liking me. I intend to notice and work with letting go of fear when it bubbles up inside of me. I intend to plan and then be okay with life changing my plans for me.
Today, I hope like every future day, I will greet my new self and face my day with a fresh perspective, a letting-go of past ideas about how I have to look, who I have to please, or what I must do to maintain control.
I hope I never change. I hope I never stay the same. How wonderfully liberating that feels.