I have been making a conscious, concerted effort lately to step outside my own mind and take in reality with all of my senses. Maybe you immediately get what I am saying. Maybe you, too, have a habit of retreating to your safe space where the *stuff* going on around you is muted and distant, where you can control with one click or one bite *exactly* what your life experience will be. This selective living experience is truly less than desirable, but you don't tend to notice it until you shut off the withdrawal mechanism. It's like the old hermit guy who, for whatever reason, retreats from the world, living in his isolated cabin in the woods where a long beard and ragged clothes don't matter because nobody sees him; like the modern man who similarly hermits himself in his dim room with his computer or his TV and doesn't bother anymore with the more frustrating and distressing life outside the box. It is so, so easy now... in this world of technology... to escape ones' self this way. Like disappearing into a whiskey bottle or a drug needle or a hot fudge sundae, everything else spins around you unnoticed and even in the chaos, *your* reality is calm.
It doesn't have to be like that. Even though we can't control *everything* around us, we can control our reactions. And in fact, we can control far more than we imagine we can. Most of those things we feel *stuck* with, we are not actually stuck with. We have it in our power to change things, yet it is easier... more comfortable... not to. Think about it.
Today I am going swimming with my daughter. Yes, in a bathing suit. Yes, at a public pool. Do you know why? Because I want to. That is the life I have always wanted. Swimming with my kids is part of my desired reality. We think, "oh if ONLY I could lose this weight and look halfway decent in a swimsuit, then I could enjoy swimming again!" We long for the cool water in the heat of summer, the freedom of weightlessness in the pool, the feeling of sun on skin. We don't go, though. Too embarrassed. To white and pasty and fat. What if someone sees me?
That, you see, IS in your control. You want it? Take it. Put your self-imposed chains aside and do it. Let go of the shame. This is your life, your one and only life. If there is a pool or a lake or a river that is safe for swimming, then it is there for you to swim in. If you choose not to, but WISH you could, you are creating conflict for yourself. And conflict is in opposition to happiness.
Create your happiness, IN the things that are in your control. There is enough sadness, enough things that we cannot control: loss of a loved one, debilitating illness, other people's choices. Don't let things you CAN change make you unhappy. Please.
So we will swim, we will laugh in the sun, we will play. I will come home and have a glass of cold-brewed iced coffee while I continue with the de-cluttering (shackle-breaking, as I have sometimes felt shackled to *things*) and making my surroundings reflect the state of mind I want to have. I hope you, too, will free yourself... escaping not just obesity or unhealthy habits, but also the mindset that keeps you chained to a lesser-than life.
**cold brewed coffee: in a Mason jar, mix 1/3 cup of coarsely ground coffee with 1 1/2 cups of cold, filtered water. Stir, put the lid on, and leave it on the counter for 12 hours. Strain through a sieve and then a cheesecloth or coffee filter. Dump the grounds; rinse the jar and put your newly made coffee concentrate back in the jar. Store it in the fridge. To serve, mix concentrate with equal amount of water or milk (more or less, to taste) and pour over ice. Recipe can be doubled.
Friday Update and Reality Check
1 day ago