I haven't had time to write much lately.  Well, to write much personal writing lately.  Life's just ramped up a bit, and I'm getting pulled in a number of directions.  Trying to keep all balls in the air.

But one ball keeps dropping to the floor.  It's a ball that I've dropped often.  My health, and specifically, my weight, exercise and eating habits.  Lately it seems that when this ball drops to the floor, it inverriably lands on my toe.  And it's apparently not a nice bouncy ball, but one made of lead.  Or at least lard.

Back in early summer 2009, I was back down to a weight that helped.  By today, I've put back on nearly twenty-five pounds.

This is really unacceptable.  For many, many reasons.

No one thing contributed to this issue more than ME.  I have added in a few animal-based things into my diet.  But that's not the key to this problem.  I have had access to a car again for the last two months, so I'm not walking like I used to.  But that too is not the key.  I have been eating from emotion and boredom again.  Once again, not the sole issue.

The sole issue is ME.

And I must do something about it.

I was a rather strict vegan for about three years.  In that period, I was at the lowest weight I'd been at since the beginning of high-school.  I felt physically better than I had since I was in my 20's.  I could do more with greater stamina.  My blood-pressure was getting back in line.  Everything was better.

Now it's not.

Two women I'm close to are dealing with very emotional issues that orbit around food right now.  One is the woman I was married to for nearly a decade.  One is a close and dear sangha friend who's dealing with food allergies.  I have a great deal of respect for both of these people, as women, as friends, as fellow sangha members, and as people I love.  To see them struggle hurts me.  I want to support them in this struggle.  And I have made a realization.

I can't do it by being like this.

One of my teachers--the founder of this particular branch of our lineage--is a well-regarded author, and her most recent book is on mindful eating.  My former partner is even mentioned in her book.  I have read the book.  It is brilliant, and immeasurably helpful.

But then I promptly ignored nearly everything in it.

Because I wanted to feed my hungry ghost.

A hungry ghost is never satisfied.  A hungry ghost is unable to be sated.  There are a number of variants to this cultural meme all throughout the world (the New World has them too).  It is a metaphor for the undying nature of greed.  Well, that's just it.  It's not greed per se.  It's not merely greed.  Obviously, back in the days when these stories and archetypes were being born, it was as obvious as greed.  Greed is bad.  How do we deplore greed?  We tell people that if they're greedy, their spirits will carry that greed over into the great beyond after death, and the greed will be so great that it will be the factor that keeps them from moving forward into (The Pure Land/Nirvana/fully joinig with Kṛṣṇa/The Happy Hunting Ground/etc).  Easy-peasy: greed bad.  Check.

But what it really is about is not greed so much as desire.  Clinging.  Wanting.  Desiring that which is currently not.  More than anything, I believe it's about fear.  The fear of feeling unhappy.  The fear of feeling want.  The fear of going without, of being denied, or the fear of feeling something you don't like.

Fear is so very powerful, and it has (miss-)informed and shaped my life for nearly its entirety.  Frankly, I'm tired of it.  I've said that many times before, and I'm aware that I've also said "this time it's different" many times before, to the point that it's probably one of my Top Ten All-Time Hits.

But the truth is, if I don't really and truly get a handle on this, it's going to kill me.

You'd think fear of death -via- my own stupidity would be enough of a motivator.  Apparently not.  Ghosts want more than that to chew on.

Back to the two women above.  Both are very inspirational to me in any number of ways.  I'd really like to show them my support.  I'd like to show them that I'm behind them in their struggles and that I think they're doing something meritable and good, and that by doing so, they inspire me to try and be better myself.

I cannot do that by giving in and giving up, again.

The long and the short of it is this: having said all that gooey and good support-y type stuff, I am really needing to do this for myself and myself alone.  I must.  I have a desire for things above and beyond "gratisfaction" as I call it, and frankly, I must find a way to re-tune myself and my ethics to be greedy for THAT.

As of the moment of typing this, I weight 290lbs again.

I set no goal other than to TRY.  No numbers. No points.  No "I will do _____ every ____ until I reach ____".  What I will do is this:

  • I will strive to treat my body with love and respect.
  • I will strive to be accepting of who I am now, but also strive to improve that person.
  • I will not judge myself too harshly when I fail.
  • I will try and seek support for this bad habit of desire from multiple sources.
  • I will reduce what I can, and strive to be more mindful.
  • I will trust in the tools that my linage and my faith have shown to be Good Medicine for all ills.
I will try to do these things because there is one overarching truth that applies to each and every one of us, fat, thin, healthy and unhealthy:

I am of the nature to grow old; there is no way to avoid growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health; there is no way to avoid having ill health.

I am of the nature to die; there is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me, and everyone I love are of the nature of change; there is no way to escape eventually being separated from them.

My deeds are my closest companions; I am the beneficiary of my deeds.  My deeds are the ground on which I stand.
That is the simple truth of existence.  And no matter what I want, no matter what I desire, no matter how I try and mollify these things with over-abundance and indulgences, the above remains forever true, until the candle of "want" is finally extinguished.



I also have a weight-loss blog: Fat Man In The Bathtub.  I invite you all to check that out as well.  The more people that are watching, the less likely you'll find driving down the street with a Twinkie in my mouth.

Good news is, I've always detested Twinkies.  I was a Zinger's kinda fat kid...

3 comments:

Laura.Jomon said...

Wow! I so appreciate this solidarity. Thank you for your efforts. It is such a difficult area, and I hope you know I support you 100%!!!

One thing that has been extremely helpful to me is food diary practice.

I used to use an online (free) program called FitDay.com. Now I use a program compatible w/ Mac that is very unfortunately called "DietController".

All I do is write down what I eat every day. It calculates calories, and protein / carb / fats percentages, a few other things, but mainly, all it does is help shine the light of awareness on this area of my life. For me, this is WAAAAY better than a "diet". It's just the facts. Doesn't judge, and allows me to just see what it is I'm doing. It's a little tedious, but for me, makes the most sense.

Sending you love& support!!!

~Jomon

Jeff Hess said...

Shalom Trixter,

Your struggle is one I share, 265 pounds for me at present, and one I recently gained a bit of insight on reading David Kessler's The End of Overeating.

What we battle is as physical addiction as strong as that of heroin or cocaine and our pushers are the American food industry which packs fat, salt and sugar into our foods as a way to market the overproduction of our Agricultural Industry.

Thank you for the mention of Jan Chozen Bays' book, I ordered a copy this morning from my library.

Without addressing it as such, Kessler makes the case that mindfulness is the only way to overcome the addiction.

I think he is so right.

B'shalom,

Jeff

Buddhasbrewing said...

thanks for this.

I'm there with you man.

I'm too fat to sit Zazen in a tradtional manner.

I ahve to sit in a chair.

I've made vows before before too.

Maybe it's time I took a vow of "saving this being."

Gassho, my friend.

~Andy