Monday, August 16, 2010

going out on a limb

No pictures today . . . no show previews . . . no events . . . or family/friend reunions. Just talk--maybe just talking to myself . But I'm hoping to find a link to others sharing my struggle.

With all the hoop-te-do about the big EAT*PRAY*LOVE movie (based on the fabulous book also entitled E.P.L.) that's out and hitting on all cylinders with most of the women I know, I'm focusing on another great book called WOMEN*FOOD*and*GOD. It's a journey of a different kind. No big, romantic, scary travel . . . unless travel into your own mind is scary (yes, yes & yes!).

For years I've been fighting my yo-yo-weight, which has been a losing battle in recent years . . . and a source of tremendous suffering as menopause introduces additional barriers to maintaining (oops, er . . . finding) the body of my youth. Yeah, I know that will never happen. I just want to feel better but have found myself pretty unsuccessful at stopping the insanity of overeating.

This last year, in particular, has left me with crippling, self-defeating patterns I feel helpless to alter . . . until NOW! Reading WOMEN*FOOD*and*GOD is like reading a script I could have written myself. The author, Geneen Roth, knows personally of what she speaks . . . been there, done that. And she's spent many years devoting herself to helping other women tame the internal demons. Why didn't I find her sooner?! Well, I found her now--and I'm not letting go!

This is the beginning for me. I'm jumping the gun sharing this with you, as I haven't even finished reading the book . . . and I already want to read it AGAIN!

Please bear with me; this will be a rather long quotation from the book. But it's one of my "Ah-ha!" moments and I find it absolutely hysterical:

Taken from: "Married to Amazement, Chapter 8" ( . . . on meditation)

Last night I went to bed rather cheerfully. Matt had just returned from a weeklong work trip, twelve double Bowl of Beauty peonies were blooming in my garden, and I'd had a productive writing day. Also, the earth had survived yet another twenty-four hours without a nuclear blast. Life was good.

Then came the middle of the night. My mind, which had been in repose during the previous eighty-six times I'd woken up, started playing its familiar music. And these, more or less, are the tunes:

Joe (our contractor who had installed a leaky roof) still hasn't returned my call. I bet he's not intending to. I'm going to have to call a lawyer, but it's probably going to cost so much to pay the damned lawyer that by the time i get done forking out the cash for those bills, I could have gotten a new roof. That fucking contractor. I need to call the lawyer first thing in the morning. My throat hurts. I wonder what the signs of esophageal cancer are? Is my computer on? Maybe I should go look up the signs of throat cancer. I'm getting old. Soon I'm going to die--and since Matt will die first, I'll be alone. Men always leave first. Why didn't we have children? I know people say that having children so that you will have someone to take care of you when you are old and no one else cares is not a good reason, but what were they thinking when they said that? Maybe it's not too late to adopt. We could go to Russia, maybe even the town where our grandparents came from. If we knew which or where it was. Latvia? Litvia? Minsk? Are those even real words? We'd have to spend months there. At least we could drink vodka, but first I'd have to like the taste of it. It's late, I need to go back to sleep. I think I'll get a glass of water. Water. California had its driest spring in 156 years. Soon there won't be any water. The earth is either going to be scorched or under water. And we're definitely living in the scorched part. Oh man. I better learn to eat roots and tree stumps . . . (this goes on but you get the idea!)

Quotation continued: These are the ravings of a paranoid, frightened, bitter person. Someone you wouldn't want your children to be alone with. And this was a good night.

I was roaring with laughter reading the above stream of consciousness . . . how many nights I've laid awake, fighting similar silly ramblings of my mind--leading to great anxiety by morning! I'm skipping a few paragraphs here but she goes on to say:

Most of the time we don't question our minds. We believe in their lunacy. We have a thought--my contractor is never going to call me back--that evokes a corresponding emotion (anger, anxiety, blame) and we are suddenly on the phone with the lawyer, convinced that we hired a thief who is now on his way to Costa Rica with our money. The louse.

Meditation develops the capacity to question your mind. Without it, you are at the mercy of every thought, every desire, every wave of emotion. You become unhinged, dependent on whether things are going well that day or not. Whether anyone has rejected you that day or not. If nothing kicks up the "They Did Me Wrong" mix, or the "I Am Fat and Unloved and Will Always Be This Way" mix, you might have a good eating day. But if you pass a mirror and don't like what you see, if you have a fight with a friend, a partner, a boss, a child, there is nowhere to go but your mind, which usually means listening to one of the familiar whipped-up melodies. And believing every word of it.

I want a life of amazement. I want to show up for what Zorba the Greek called "the whole catastrophe." And after living through decades of being married to obsession and self-constructed suffering, I have found that being married to amazement means showing up in the only place from which to experience it: here, now, in this very moment.

Usually when people hear the word meditation, they think of transcending this clunky earthly plane. The kind of meditation I refer to has nothing to do with transcending or leaving or changing yourself in any way--and everything to do with its opposite: showing up where you already are.

End of quote. Okay, I'm "going in" . . . wish me luck. Hope you enjoyed spending this amazing moment with me. I've got a long way to go. If I'm still fat the next time you see me, you'll know how I'm doing ;0).


BuNgAlOw BaY said...

Been trying to avoid this book ~ not sure Im ready for a revelation ~ you convinced me :)~ thank you friend! xoM

Shelly said...

Oh my dear Debi,

I've been a size 8 and a size 20. Grief, comfort, structure, contentment....have led me to all the sizes and number in between.

Health is important! I look at women in their 60's and 70's that have had back, knee, hip surgery and replacement and I think, "Shell, You'd best work on it!"

BUT,,,,,Debi, I'm going to tell you something else. Something that I almost commented on when I met you for the first time,,,You have the most beautiful, penetrating Eyes! Ahh, yes, "The reflection of the soul." And you have the Best Laugh....and I love your voice, and your intellect and your insights and ability to articulate!

My mother, a beautiful woman, always, even in her last days because of her SOUL and her heart,,,,,,,,used to say, "I look back and I see pictures of myself at 30, at 40, at 50 and 60 and say to myself, 'I looked pretty damn good! WHY did I judge myself so harshly?'Why was I so critical?'

I try and emulate her thoughts and insight,,for she WAS a wise woman!
Accentuate your positives,,,,and yes, WORK on the negatives...but girlfriend,,,,,,CUT YOURSELF some Slack! "You've got it ALL goin' ON!"

Yes! Work on being HEALTHY,,,,,But accept and enjoy WHO you are NOW! And you my dear have a LOT going for YOU and relish your accomplishments!

So let us this week, laugh, have a good meal and walk a bit, shall we? Carpe Diem!

Can't wait to see you again on Thursday! Honored to call you my new and DEAR friend!

Hugs and love,

(Got your emails/printed and will peruse and call you tomorrow!)

Jan LaFollette said...

Losing weight is not easy and keeping it off is even harder. I have such a sweet tooth. I had breast cancer five years ago and had a bi-lateral here's a motivator....when you don't have boobs, its like a man, you have a "beer belly" lovely! That and the cancer motivated me to lose 20 pounds but it has been a struggle to keep it off. Having a dog helps, he needs to be walked every day. Good luck, it really is about life style change not diet and as your friend, above, said concentrate on the positive. The book looks interesting, I'll check it out. Jan

Ormolulu said...


Thank you so much for the post on your blog about the book Women Food and God. I'm 56 years old and have been struggling with my weight. Back in 2004, I was able to lose weight very quickly in preparation for a trip to Europe-I got down to 115 pounds. Since then, I've gained 60 pounds and now it's affecting my health. I'm having a really hard time trying to lose even a few pounds. When I read the excerpt from the book I couldn't believe what I was reading. I thought I was the only person who wakes up in the middle of the night obsessing about everything- events of the day, thinking that I may have cancer from some obscure symptom I'm feeling, worrying about who's going to die first, being alone, etc. I have such a hard time shutting down my thoughts! I also had to laugh because there is a reference to the country Latvia in the excerpt and it just so happens that both my parents were Latvian. So, after reading your blog post I went out and bought the book and will start reading it tonight. Thanks again for writing about your feelings- I don't feel quite so alone in my struggles!



Cheryl~ZanyMayd said...

I came for your White Wednesday post & decided to look around, I knew I was meant to see this post, I heard about a book that I really thought I should read, but I could not remember the Name ~ Can You Guess!
Thank You....

Now to head back to your W.W. Post