Ever since I can remember, I have only felt value in going to extremes, particularly when it comes to weight/food. I clearly recall, so many times, as a pre-teen, planning the perfect diet, which would start tomorrow, consisting of extreme elements. Always containing illusions of false perfection.
As a child I thought losing weight consisted of counting calories. A piece of cake that had 500 calories would make for a perfect meal. I didn’t consider nutrition. I didn’t think of the deeper reasons for my need to satiate myself with food, with empty calories.
Going to the extremes followed me into adulthood. Whether it involved food, exercise, school: my last semester of graduate school saw me presenting papers at NINE conferences in three months. I didn’t know how to stop. I still don’t.
Wait. Maybe I do. Maybe I just need to stop. To slow down. Whenever I’d join a gym, I ‘d calculate how many times I needed to go to make it worth my while financially. I didn’t stop to factor in emotional benefits. When I started Bikram yoga I started doing doubles to push myself, and that had benefits, but it also kept me from slowing down and just BEING.
I’m on this journey to lose weight, but I’m also on this journey to learn how to be and to be happy with myself. To feel at peace inside. To look forward with my life and create the life I want and deserve.
I want to slow down, so you know what? I am slowing down. Taking time each day to breathe. I don’t speak of meditation here (I do meditate every day). I’m referring to just taking time throughout the day to stop, to appreciate to feel. To look around me.
The adjustment feels awkward, feels painful, but it also feels right.
I’ve stopped explaining myself to others. I owe no one an explanation. NO ONE. That’s part of going to extremes too—thinking I always had to explain myself, always had to justify myself or I wouldn’t be loved and/or accepted. By slowing down, I’m learning to listen to myself.
I’ve been taking walks without my phone (gasp!). I’ve been spending time at night just staring at my lit Christmas tree and feeling happy while looking at the twinkling lights.
The effects so far? I find myself more productive at work and at home. Before I act, I ask myself: is this mine to take care of? Because maybe it isn’t? And if it isn’t, then I need to let go of it. And when I really think of it, all those things I take care of that aren’t mine to take care of, take me away from taking care of me, and as many great sages say, “if you want to change the world, change yourself.”
Oh, I don’t actually want to change the world, but I do want to change MY world!
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