Friday, March 28, 2008

Following my bliss in practice

(Why is it so hard?)

Why in the world is it so hard to simply do what we like and what is best for us physically and emotionally? Where does all this fear and guilt come from?

As I said in the last post, my second juice feast made me see how important writing was for me. In fact I think and binge less and am less depressed when I write regularly.

I began to work when I was 14, shortly after my dad died. I started teaching English as a second language and helping out with kids who did not do well in school. When I was 16 I became a volunteer at an environmental NGO. I hated the first and enjoyed the second – environmentalism is my second passion after writing. When I was about 20 and in a pretty destructive relationship, I began to use working for its anaesthetizing effect as I had been doing for years with food. I committed myself completely to environmental issues and worked on several kinds of activities (for pay or not for pay) seven days a week. During my last year of college (which was also the last year of that relationship) I had a part-time job in waste management, an internship in marine biology, and was a fulltime student, plus several other smaller parallel activities. For one year I made myself so busy I “did not notice” he was dating me and living with someone else at the same time. Needless to say, it was then that I reached my highest weight (excluding when I was pregnant later).

Despite working, volunteering, and all the food, there was always a gap – that big “hole” so many people feel inside them. I went from trying to find out the reason for it (and coming up with superficial or childhood-related answers) to brushing it off as something inherent to the human condition.

The following year was pretty intense. I finally broke up with my boyfriend after over six years of emotional abuse, started my masters in another city, and for the first time lived on my own (an old dream come true). I discovered The Celestine Prophecy and a bunch of weird and interesting “coincidences” started happening (or I started noticing them…). I learned and grew a lot during that year, but at some point I began to feel stuck. Then due to several other coincidences, I met my husband, was pregnant in two months and then got married.

That was hard. I was never too sure I wanted children. I learned a lot with pregnancy and motherhood, especially because it does not come naturally to me. Now I love it, but I still have to work at being a good mom every single day. My greatest difficulty is to really “be there” when I’m with my son. I spend a lot of time with him, we play together, etc., but ever so often I am just going through the motions and my mind is elsewhere.

Yet how does all this come together and also link to raw food?

First, I now realize that I write all the time – and most of the time I’m not even writing on paper! In other words, while I’m working, I’m “writing in my head” at the same time; when my son should have my full attention, I’m secretly going over what I would like to be writing at that moment; when I’m with my husband, I’m taking mental notes of what I want to write down later on… The result is that I’m never doing what I should be doing because I’m trying to find my bliss, and when I do have some time to actually write, I generally don’t because I feel guilty for not “being there” in all those other moments.

This causes a lot of frustration and I now believe it is a big part of that void I mentioned before. Further evidence: for years and years I’ve had this weird feeling that I’m always forgetting something really important that I have to do. So I make and remake “to do” lists, go over priorities, plan, setup schedules and the like, but no matter what or how much I do I can’t get rid of that feeling (I have it now!). It is very unsettling. After the last juice feast I started asking myself if that missing thing wasn’t writing.

I decided to test the theory. I told myself I would leave home earlier and let myself write for one hour everyday, first thing in the morning at work. Guilt would not be allowed during that hour. Then the rest of the day I would try to be productive and do what I had to do work-wise and then write some more if there was time left (after all, I suspected my general productivity would rise).

In practice, this only happened a couple of times in these two weeks. Even stopping to mentally allow myself to write and release the guilt, many days I would busywork, busywork, do a bunch of things that were not priority or that other people asked me to do, then get to the end of day having done neither what I should have done in work nor followed my bliss and written guilt-free. The final result would be to go home frustrated and with that gnawing feeling again and eating a bunch of junk to fill the void.

I don’t want to work because it’s not exactly what I want to be doing and I don’t want to do what I think I should be doing because I feel guilty about it.

On one level I feel guilty because I think I should be working/doing my research. I’m afraid people are looking over my shoulder and seeing I’m doing something else, even though they probably don’t even care! I also feel guilty because I’m here “wasting time” when my husband had to leave his job and temporarily become a homemaker for me to be here.

Yet those are all superficial issues. There are other, deeper issues, related to my dad’s death and my relationship with my mother, who never learned how to follow her own bliss and put herself first when she needed to. My greatest fear is repeating these patterns with my son, which is also my greatest motivation in curing myself of the binge-eating syndrome and other destructive behaviours I have acquired through life. I believe exploring these issues will go a long way, along with raw food, and some “outside help” I am starting to think about these days.

I hope to post about improvements soon….

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Writing really helps me too! It sounds as if you're really getting to understand yourself on a deep level and figuring out what will work for you in the long term.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!