Let’s go back in time ten years ago. Channel Z0135 opened with:
We know you are not mentioning your eating issues right now and that is going to be a test, we feel, of your willingness to be true to your deeper sense. Just remember, whatever you do or decide not to do, whatever you choose or whatever choice you don’t make, you can choose the path of least resistance, you can choose to experience ourself exactly as you are, you can choose to be ok in the moment, this place-moment of here-now.
Now, let’s go back in time a few days ago. I read some blog, or Instagram, or Twitter — I don’t remember — about a family man in Montana who had some moment of fat-shame epiphany and lost 50plus pounds. Now, he looks amazing. Then, he looked fat. He had a picture of him, upper body naked, looking pretty chunky.
Two days ago, I got on the scale and weighed in at 259#, the heaviest of my life. I feel gross & disgusting and so, I too took a picture. The effect was overwhelming. Even if I don’t die from fat, I’ll be miserable until then. I’m still eating myself to death. Apparently, this is nothing new, for here I am 10 years ago with eating issues. My goal? To create a new 12step program called Addicts Anonymous (AddAnon?) that isn’t about poly-addiction or cross-addicted or clean and sober, but just about how addiction shows up in every area of our life. Whack-a-mole. I picture holding a beach ball under water. A slight shift and Whoosh, up it goes flying in some random direction. I stop using drugs, or having anonymous sex, but like a fire jumping ship, something else goes wackadoodle.
One day ago, last night at 7:15pm, I went to bed so depressed and hopeless feeling I just wanted to give up. Part of me did. I feel like a really lousy example of recovery. But another part of me felt some sort of angry defiance. I can’t be the only miserable 60ish-year-old trying to start over can I? Two Channels, Z0219 and this one (in progress) that I’ve read and I’m supposed to be cured, right? But this blurb was on my mind, 2nd to last paragraph of Z0135:
We realize we have always begun at the beginning and we are always beginners. Each of us begins the day anew as a newborn newcomer to this great creation. We have spent the deep night in other aspects of our great expansion exploring the world of dreams and creating beyond our creations. We forgive our memory losses, we forgive our slowness, we accept our limitations, we understand that time and energy and space and mass all take time, space, energy and mass, and that there is no substitute for hard work. But what work? For us it is play. We are gifted by the generosity of the universe.
And one other thing. In this week’s misery, perhaps in response to my Dad’s death or perhaps in response to my decision to take my first week off of church & 12step meetings (one for sex addicts, two for drug addicts), I was at least clear that relapse, except in the form of food and self-loathing as it seems, was absolutely not an opinion. Suicide? I not only feel ashamed to say that’s what had come to mind, but I’ve also taken that off the table as an option. On my mind was this idea that maybe I could find some solution in my dreams, if only I can become conscious during.
Another guilty admission: I’ve been frustrated in my Buddhist meditation class, feeling like I’m not learning anything. Yesterday at work while supposedly training I could barely stay awake. I kept thinking “I need to quit meditation.” And then, when I got home there was an email with the Kadampa meditation center asking me to do a little graphic design work for them and also that they wanted to help me with finances so I could take the Foundations class. Weird coincidence, I thought.
I went to bed, was exhausted, but couldn’t sleep. At 8:47 I heard a cellphone beep and got up. Leslie, my sister-in-law, had written. She mentioned that tomorrow (Thursday) she’d be teaching her first Mindfulness Meditation class at a woman’s correctional facility in Wyoming. That seemed to be somewhat synchronous. Was I pulling an addict, running from what’s good? Probably. Off to bed and into a deep sleep. I woke up at 4am, I thought, following a long and complex dream. I wasn’t lucid, but was aware. And it was only 11:41pm.
I am in a large facility, which I finally figure out after several days is a huge multi-building mental institution in a beautiful, woodsy setting — almost like a small, rural town. I want to get out, to escape, and over time find my way around, get whatever privileges I need and make my way to “the outside world.”
But, I discover the outside world is part of the mental institution, too, but the people “out there” think they’re free and not trapped like us. They don’t know they’re crazy, they think they’re “normal” and so they don’t need to be locked up with physical barriers — their invisible mental barriers are stronger then steel.
I make it as far to the edge as I can go (being incarcerated still) and I’m in a nice house looking outside at the world rushing about. There is a woman outside on the street looking at me through the window. I feel naked and want to close the curtains, but I can’t. There aren’t any. Everybody can see everything about everybody in this world. We are like pets in a zoo. Except only some of us realize we are all pets.
Strangely enough, I suddenly feel okay knowing this. I wake up.
Even though I was wide awake, I went back to bed and meditated, relaxing each part of my body piece by piece. Body Scan meditation it’s called. I fell into a deep sleep and woke up at 5am, ready to go. The next dream ended right before I woke up. I felt that strange electrical pulse that brings us back and I felt my brain spinning and whirring really fast. Like circular electricity. I couldn’t remember anything about the dream, but now more than a dozen hours later, I can still “feel my dream about”. I am standing somewhere, I still am standing there I feel, it’s hot and I’m on an earthen dam. The sky is very bright and blue.
Work was intense today. I was awake and didn’t need tons of coffee and diet soda to stay awake. We are learning this ancient dos-based program for the Golden Rule Insurance Company … I learned on my own how to manage and write macros. The trainer overheard that, I guess, and I ended up partnering with her and others and working together we made a lot of progress. We have maybe 50+ macros now that script the dreadful blurbs we read to members. It’s non-Obamacare short-term insurance and so almost nothing is actually covered. But that work led to one-on-one time and lots of relieving downtime. I belly-ached to the team managers about my grievance concerning a recent promotion to trainer that I apparently didn’t get — the training manager interviewed me over a month ago and never said anything one way or another, just like the last two times. They pushed me to go to HR and I did. I tried to write an honest and fair grievance. Not to get anybody in trouble but only to ask to be treated with a little respect. No, it probably won’t help me but hopefully help someone else down the line. I almost felt like a grown-up.
I would like to write a grown-up blog but I’m not grown-up. This isn’t eloquent or important, and I don’t think anyone will read it anyway. But we all start somewhere, even if it’s a late start.
The bike home today was beautiful. A small pack of coyotes was down by the creek. One was itching something fierce. Another stared at me for a bit, then walked off. The other looked sound asleep and warm in the sun. Oh, there she is to the left on the sand.
What a beautiful day…