Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Filling the God Hole
I’ve struggled and struggled with my food, trying to figure out the magic combination of actions to help me conquer my compulsion to eat. I’ve come up with many things that help, mentally: yoga, meditation, journaling, being creative, having fun; physically: whole foods, lots of fresh veggies and fruit, sufficient protein, healthy fats, wholesome snacks, adequate exercise. I’ve found several approaches that have been enormously helpful: consistency; positive, like-minded people to share my journey with; and finding a balance between over- zealousness and laziness. Emotionally: being gentle with myself, praising myself a lot, being forgiving, and remembering my true worth has nothing to do with my jean size.
In their way, each of these are pearls of wisdom, and many times I’ve discovered one of these truths, only to think that I had found THE ANSWER and that I would never struggle again, ever; because it seems like that, when something is really working, you feel undefeatable. But then, for some reason, it stops working, and your perfect smugness melts away into humility once more. Now, that’s not a bad thing, humility is a good thing, it helps us to remember that we can’t do this alone. And no matter how much we think we have it all figured out, we don’t, and we need help. Twelve Step programs call it accepting our powerlessness (over our disease) and then recognizing that we need help from a higher power.
So I guess you could say I need to take that first step over and over again. For some reason, I keep forgetting that I don’t know it all. Then I’ve got to get humble again, ask for help and start anew. It’s true, I do know a lot, I’ve made a career out of studying the science of weight loss and the psychology of addiction, but there’s a missing little piece to the puzzle that can’t be found in the textbooks, it can only be found in the human heart.
And maybe that’s the thing that I keep forgetting: Nurture yourself, Jackie; love yourself. Give yourself lots of little gifts (a 30 minute break from housework, to play the guitar; a walk in the woods; a funny movie with a friend; time alone to draw; an hour of silence) I love the expression I heard in the various 12 Step programs I’ve visited, the “rooms”, as they’re called: That when we are ingesting inordinate amounts of various substances , in this case, food, we are trying to fill a void, an emptiness that’s so hollow and steep, there is no filling it, and that’s what the rooms call “The God Hole”; it’s an insatiable desire, because no substance can fill that spiritual longing. By this, I do not mean religion, I mean an intimate relationship with ourselves, for when we dig deep enough, that is God. And yes, nurturing my spirit is spirituality, because it is the truest, deepest, most authentic part of me.
But like I said, I keep forgetting. I get caught up in the busy-ness of my life, I allow the demands and responsibilities I face each day to consume me; I take on, as my problem, things that should be handed back to their rightful owners, and then I lose sleep over it; I forget that I am more than just what I do. I get caught on that conveyor belt of life and forget to stop and smell the roses; hell they’re whirring by so fast, I don’t even see the roses. So, I need stop, check-in with myself, remember that it is the journey, not the destination that matters: how I go about it, how I treat the people who I come across along the way, including myself; and it is never OK to beat myself up because of my frailties, they a part of me and part of what makes me whole.
So, to borrow another expression from the rooms, I guess I’m right where I need to be. If I can find complete acceptance of this moment, and gratitude for everything that’s right and good, I’ll be OK, damn, more than OK, because at least, for the moment, I’ve let go of the struggle, and that feels good.