I've gotten myself back to the gym - not regularly by any stretch - but I've been there, done that, at the very least and I lived to tell of it. And I dared to run this past week, and that was fun...well OK, maybe not fun but it was an accomplishment.
It appears I still know how, if barely. And I've been more consciously aware of my diet as in, which foods are vitality uppers, which ones are downers and most importantly, which ones are emotional numb-ers. And I've been spending an inordinate amount of time lately fixated on the link between healthy mindedness and mindfulness.
To many people, healthy-mindedness, eating and living is a natural state of thinking, doing, being. I admire such people (actually I don't; deep down, I think they're slimy slithery slibes but I pretend to admire them because it would be good for me to do so) but alas, in this process of deconstructing and reconstructing my own bad habits and thoughts over the years, I am discovering that I am not yet one of those healthy creatures. Ya think? Suffice to say, talking and being nice to me is not my natural habitat.
I am one of those creatures who deliberately gives away all her compliments for others (except for slibes) in order not to have any left over for herself. I am also one of those people who is not good at establishing firm boundaries and saying "no" to others. Thus, I tend to agree to tasks to the point of feeling compromised. Failure and disaster ensue and I unravel and then I feel like a failure so then I eat until I'm comfortably numb. Here's where my keyboard gently weeps.
Way, way back in the day before overeating, I used to do drugs or go on a bi-monthly drinking binge. Get home at 4am and ruminate the next day about (a) which letter in the alphabet I got to in my alphabet drinking game and (b) how close I came to blood alcohol poisoning. I'm not sure I see any one addiction as being better, worse, different from the others....I have found them to be, for the most part, interchangeable anesthetizers, varying only in accordance with their social acceptance, legality, cost, next-day effects and/or ability to impregnate or propagate disease.
All this crime and punishment rambling is necessary preamble for those of you who consider the connection between mind, body, spirit to be a bit of a no-brainer. For some of us, it's precisely because of our no-brainer disconnect that we struggle with it. The disconnect I refer to is, of course, feeling.
Any and all addictions are really just methods to quell and bury emotion. I considered myself an addiction adept at one point in time, in a been there, done that kinda way. I now see that there is not only a kind of environmental factor prevalent with addiction, but also a genetics to addiction that I did not consider existed until pondering family issues this past decade. I'm convinced most all families share addiction in some way - certainly every family I know has been touched by it in some way shape or form - be it a propensity towards sport, skort, port or in my case, chocolate torte. Caroline Myss cites Prostitute and Victim as universal archetypes we all share....selling our soul to the something that will make us feel good one minute ~ commiserating over it the next.
Lucky for me, I have been able to control my substance abuses over the years. The drugs were a high-school recreation perfectly suited to the university frat party scene I frequented and were a sport I tried in earnest to have consume me, but alas they were a fleeting fancy. The drinking was great fun through my teens, 20s and 30s; whose frequency and quantity correlated proportionately to my social or on-the-road travel life at any given time. While alcohol and I rarely get together any more, I still consider us good buddies and hope we can always be friends. I remain cautious, however, given my fear of genetic predispositions.
Which brings me last to food. Last but definitely not least. Food has been the one constant. Back in the day, I could overeat to my heart's content. I came of age in my parent's fast food restaurant, and had you asked me to list the four food groups, I would have honestly noted hamburgers, french fries, ice cream and bologna sandwiches. For me, they were the four food groups. I ate a proper balance from each category with zero effect to my slim frame, as luck and a healthy metabolism would have it.
I love food but I've never been especially good with establishing boundaries or keeping things in moderation. It's my Type-A persona. I tend to approach everything with an all-or-nothing zeal. It's a wonder and miracle my body has sustained such constant overeating with so little weight gain, relatively speaking. And even then, it has only been the last five years where the punishment has begun to fit the crimes.
Anyways, it was with this same all-or-nothing outlook that I woke up one day and figured out that my brain had atrophied from all my hedonistic, tourism work. So I decided to switch gears and become a university student. So there I was in pursuit of Mind, at the expense of Body and Spirit. Then a few years later, I began looking at Spirit. I read voraciously and began seeking out church homes for my spirit to reside. And now, four decades plus a year from whence I first began my journey, I have come full circle - awakening to a newfound consciousness that it not the pursuit of one at the expense of others (which so totally sucks, by the way) but the integration of mind, body, spirit that makes for the whole person.
So here I am at Body ~ the final frontier in my quest for health and wellness. Cue the spooky Star Trek music. I'm nothing if not an outer edge gal and don't even get me started on my procrastinator tendencies.
I've arrived at a few epiphanies about my body. One is that I tend to reside most of my time in my mind rather than my body, such that I can look at myself in a mirror in a kind of abstract way and feel very disembodied and disassociated from myself. I don't know if that's normal or not but I do know that such a disconnect no longer serves me. Truth be told, it never did.
Another epiphany I've had is that I'm either way more emotional than I ever realized or I'm becoming extremely hormonal. Or perhaps it's a bit of both. So I'm now trying to figure out ways to release my extreme emotions rather than suppress them. The ones that have me raging and railing against the world like an angry punk rocker or leave me wanting to wail at walls. This, I'm learning, is tricky business for us control freak types. The world around us cries and we're the ones handing them their Kleenex. Not for lack of emotion and empathy - it's just that the damn inner dam is Hoover strong.
So I'm now flirting with the idea of letting these emotions out to play more. I'm going to start with the emotions that move me to tears. Instead of holding back the tears, I'm going to let them flow like a river - I'll call it Denial.
I'm fairly convinced that as pent-up as all these tears have been all these decades, had I just released them at the apropos time, I might have had enough to create my own river. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Now for fear this sounds like a dangerous case of allowing an intent of drama in my life, post-Law of attraction hype and all that, permit me to clarify. I'm going to focus on cultivating joy but remain open to acknowledging sorrow when it rears its ugly head. If/when the sad face mood arises, I'm going to let my tears out to play ie. crying 'til I laugh. Letting it be, letting it be. So I'll seek ways I can laugh 'til I cry.....like watching this dude on YouTube. Watch him: I dare you not to laugh out loud.
When I'm happy, I'm relaxed, when I'm happy, I'm relaxed.
So that's today's wise crack, as in foundation, as in Leonard Cohen's infamous words:
"there's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."
Thus spoke the man with extreme drug, alcohol, sex and tobacco addictions (how else does one explain Closing Time?) but heck, he's a Zen Buddhist now so I'll trust he's not only been touched by light near the end of the tunnel, but enlightenment, too. Or maybe he's just touched, in which case, I extend my hand and say, welcome to the club, dude.