My body is doing a great job of fighting off a cold.
I’ve helped by taking it very easy this week.
That meant one thing—time to devote to finishing the books piled up on my bedside table.
Being in the middle of several books at once is relatively new for me. I used to be of the mindset that once you start a book you finish it, darn it, and that’s that.
Even if I was struggling to get through it, I would not allow myself to start a new book until the first one was finished.
As time started to feel more precious and I had less patience for “the taskmaster” inside my own head, I began being kinder to myself (or more likely, vice versa).
I decided the world wouldn’t implode if I took a break from one book just because I felt like reading a different one.
Seems obvious, now.
So to me the book pile by my bed symbolizes my growth in ease and compassion.
Letting myself off the hook.
What a relief.
Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart was on the top of the pile (Thanks, Robin!).
It’s not the type of book you can say you’ve “finished”. It’s one you read again and again, but I finally read it all the way through for the first time. It’s a series of lectures she’s given as an American Buddhist Nun and teacher.
My favorite concept from the book is that of “no escape”.
The idea is to feel your feelings instead of using drugs or alcohol, eating, shopping, bingeing on TV or video games or even gossiping to escape the pain. Without resistance, feelings, even uncomfortable ones, pass relatively quickly and we are left to deal with the reality of the situation.
So much easier.
Chodron’s explanation of “no escape” dove-tails so nicely with one of the most powerful skills we can develop for lessening suffering and the one I call on most when teaching people about weight loss and maintenance of weight loss: Acceptance.
Acceptance means we don’t wish our life away. No FOMO or “the grass is always greener”. We (ideally) lovingly accept where we are right now—our body, our finances, our relationship status, our accomplishments—and we start from there.
With weight loss, it starts with acknowledging where your body is now without all the judgment and criticism. Not what it could’ve been or what it should’ve been or what it was 5 years ago.
Accepting where it is now.
(And if you play your cards right with this process, you may very well get a crash course in self-forgiveness).
Once truly accepted (with love), the work can begin.
Accepting where we are, not running from the feelings produced, and treating ourselves kindly now and as we move toward our desired goal is the trifecta of maintainable weight loss.