40 Days: 022010-D4.0

(copyright R. VanWestervelt, taken at Loch Raven Reservoir, January 2010)

Namaste. It is 8:55 11:10 a.m.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, that’s for sure.

I realized a few things yesterday. First, these chains that I’m trying to break free from are rusty and resisting. It’s one thing to say you are going to abstain from a few things for a few weeks; it’s another thing entirely to live every moment of your life thinking about sacrifice and devotion. At any given moment, I can stray. I am tempted at every turn, every moment, to abandon this commitment, even for a few seconds, with the private promise of returning to the commitment.

I’ve resisted every temptation, though. I’ve imagined Jesus, Siddhartha, and other spiritual leaders who have taken the journey and, yes, asked the very cliche question: What would each of them do in this situation? Maybe more importantly, I’ve asked, What *could* they have done? I am surrounded by conveniences and luxuries. If I’m hungry, all I need to do is drive or even walk one mile in any direction and find a dozen choices, a dozen temptations. They had none of these conveniences, so how dare I plead my sorry story about not eating meat, eggs, or dairy for a mere three days?

It doesn’t help, of course, that good memories are associated with all of these foods and their savory scents. I’m stuck on the notion that, if I eat this, then I will feel that. Ugh. What a horrible connection to have established so firmly in my life.

Second, I realized how important support is from others. There’s about seven great people out there who are texting me, emailing me, posting comments, and offering simple words of support and wisdom. I appreciate the time you have taken to offer your encouragement. In times of weakness, I have re-read your words to get me through those temptations…

Third, I realized that I can be my worst enemy. A friend of mine texted me yesterday asking about the origins of my inner critic. It’s always been my assumption that this is common, but maybe I’m wrong. Do you find that, at times, you are your worst enemy? Telling yourself that you are not deserving of something, or that you don’t have the will and the strength to complete a goal? I look at my past, and I have always battled that inner negativity, which is how I probably ended up being so overweight. Yesterday, the inner critic was really working overtime, encouraging me to stray just a little with my shift to veganism.

No one will know, after all.

But I’m not doing this for anyone but myself. It wouldn’t matter if I was the only one who knew; I’m the one I’m most worried about.

Resisting the temptation gave me (and continues to give me) strength. Again–I know that it is only Day 4; I am merely ten percent along, but I can already feel that inner critic getting a little scared, wondering if this time it’s for real.

So…onward. We’ve got a busy weekend. Nevertheless, I will begin adding daily walks to this crusade, providing more opportunities for quiet reflection and calming of the mind. I am determined to loosen these rusty chains and break them free from the decades-long grasp they’ve held on me.

Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.

tao te ching, 16

3 thoughts on “40 Days: 022010-D4.0

  1. Wow, Steve…Fascinating article. Those of you following along, please take a few minutes and read the story Steve has posted above…extremely relevant in the discussion regarding the power of emotion in any addiction, food or otherwise.

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  2. Rus, I admire what your commitment. Knowing human nature the way I do, I also understand the struggle. Two Scriptures came to mind when I read this: 1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1)(St. Paul). And then in Romans 7, Paul talks about “the good I want to do, that’s not what I do and what I don’t want to do…that’s what I do” and the paradox & ever-present battle going on within us. Or to quote Bill Cosby: “I have a conflict of interest going on within myself” (Sorry, I have a 2 yr old yanking on my brain right now. 🙂 ) Okay, so in my own words…. “I’m feelin ya, man. Fight the good fight. You can do it” 🙂

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