Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Root of the Problem

It’s high time that I posted another blog. I find it so hard to write. At some level I’m still “letting the best be the enemy of the good,” as my husband has said.

You’d never know it by looking at my life, but I’m a perfectionist. I completely identified with Karen Anderson’s post on perfectionism. Read it. She says it much better than I could.

Anyway, if I can’t do it “right,” I won’t do it at all. Then nothing gets done. Let’s face it: I have a family of excellent writers. The pressure is ON! But why? I’m not even telling people that I have a blog. And, let’s not forget that my first post (ok, my second) was all about the fact that it’s not about “them.” I’m writing for me.

Today I wrote a letter to a friend of mine. (I’ve changed her name to protect her privacy.) I’ve decided to post it because I don’t want to forget where I am today. And I want the accountability of having this in writing—in “black and white,” for my own sake. If, at some point, you read this, maybe it will be of some help to you. (I can use the word “you” because YOU wouldn’t be reading this if YOU weren’t ... anyway ...)

By the way, you will discover while reading this, that I talk about OA—Overeaters Anonymous. I began going to OA last January 2008. I have committed to going for a solid year. I realize that I have a problem with food. I want to understand what it is and change the way I relate to food.

I’ve tried lots of diets, therapy, supplements, etc., etc., but my weight continues to increase and my self-image continues to decrease. I believe that OA is going to help me get to the real root of my struggle and give me the freedom from compulsion that I long for. Time will tell. In the meantime, I want to be a good student and learn everything I can about this area.

So here is the letter—not written for prime-time—just written:

Hi Julie,

Great to hear from you. I haven’t seen Lisa since she’s gotten back, but from a few conversations we had over the phone she said she had a GREAT time on vacation with you. You are a very special friend to her!

You asked how I was doing. I’ll tell you what I am doing (OA-wise) and what I am very excited about. I am reading the book HOW TO LISTEN TO GOD by Wally Paton. He’s the one who wrote BACK TO THE BASICS, the subject of that “seminar” I went to a few months ago which was two Sunday afternoons for three hours each. He’s dedicated to helping AA people, etc. get back to the spiritual roots of AA. He’s done a lot of study on The Oxford Group, the original group through which Bill Wilson (founder of AA) got sober. Anyway I HIGHLY recommend it. Buy it today! You can get it off of Amazon or from http://www.faithwithworks.com/index.html. You might consider getting the book BACK TO THE BASICS as well (from the same publisher).

Seriously, I am loving this book and I am trying to figure out how I can lead a study group on it.

Otherwise, the thing that is helping me this week, while I’m at the beach, is not having ANY junk in the condo. Mike and I went to the grocery store yesterday and I was “internally obsessing” over wanting to buy brownie mix or something. I said to him, “Hey want to get some ice cream to take back?” (It is a vacation after all!) He said, “No, not really. Let’s get some of those grapes, they look fantastic. And how about that watermelon?” (He really meant it. He wasn’t thinking of me—trying to “help” me. He was thinking of himself and was just wanting more healthy stuff.) So, no brownies, no ice cream.

I’ve been reading non stop since I got here. When I crave a snack, or I’m just tired of reading ... I head straight for the kitchen ... and grab a handful of grapes, or some trail mix which is sitting out in a bowl. Choosing something healthy is a no brainer. On one level I hate it. I find myself getting angry about it—craving something else. Then I remind myself that this is the problem. This is what I am NOT happy about in my life and I get thankful that the temptations aren’t there. I get thankful that there are some really good alternatives to helping me brake this vicious cycle I’m in. 

I also remind myself of what I really want, to obey the Voice within me that says “No. Make a different choice, a better choice.” But I feel like I’m going through the DT’s. (I guess I am ... detoxing from SUGAR!! ... and detoxing from control ... wanting to be in control) and I don’t like it one single bit. But I know it’s what I want - to be free from the power of sugar, (and self) etc. And it’s what God is leading me to do. I just need to obey His voice within me. That’s my problem! I want to obey my own voice—rationalize, make excuses, make exceptions—and look where it’s taking me.

Truly obeying and trusting God’s voice is what I have such a hard time doing, but only HE can show me what is the right and the best thing for me to do. Only through Him can I break free from my compulsions! But I’m not a puppet. He won’t do it FOR me. I am the only one who can make the choices and take the action. I have to be WILLING to trust Him and do what I know is right. Then I have to DO it. I have to match my prayer with ACTION. HE WON’T DO IT FOR ME ... dang!

Until I started reading this book, HOW TO LISTEN TO GOD, I never before saw or admitted how stubborn I am and how rebellious I am. I cringe as I even say those words because I don’t want to see myself like that. I am the good one. I am the one who loves God and follows Him ... or am I?

Do I really follow Him—in every area? EVERY area? Am I waiting for Him to intervene and do it for me? Am I really lazy, when it gets right down to it? Let’s get honest, Gail ... Well, I am just BEGINNING to get honest. I hate it, but I also am really hopeful for the first time in a long time. I think this has been one of the missing ingredients to my “success.” I have never completely surrendered to Him. I still want to hold on to certain things—to keep control.

So there you have it ... a long answer to a short question. Get the book today! Maybe we can study it together long distance.

(Today I am also making a point to get out and walk. I want to get really consistent with that. I know “moving” is crucial! and good for me in so many ways ... not the least of which is emotionally and psychologically.)

Love you. Make good choices ... “just for today.”


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Blogging - A sermon to myself

It's been almost a year since I wrote a blog. That's right, "a" blog. Just one. What's that all about? I am in a family of writers, a family who thinks about and processes life "out loud." And I really enjoy reading their blogs. So why am I not blogging? Good question.

My answer is probably the answer of anyone else who isn't blogging. Because I have nothing to say. I mean if you write something, which in essence is public, you assume that it will get read by people, right? So if people are going to read something there must be something of interest to read, right? Wrong. It's not about "them."

Last night I was with my friend Karen Anderson and her husband Steve. She's a professional writer and communicator from way back and is trying to flex with the times - technologically speaking. Mike got her hooked up on Twitter - which was a blast to watch. She was like a two year old who just discovered the world of wind-up toys. Then after we left, she wrote her first blog. Though she's had a website forever, she's never blogged. And she was paralyzed to begin. Why? Because she was concerned about what she should say, what she should not say (didn't want to give away all the content to a new book she's writing), who would be reading it, etc., etc. My comment to her was, "You're over-thinking it."

Blogging isn't really about everyone "out there." It's mostly about you/me. (An interesting thought just popped into my head:" It's about me." That sounds very egotistical. But actually that makes it less about me. When "it's about everyone "out there"" it becomes all about me, my ego - how am I being perceived, etc. But when "it's about me," it's not about my ego, it's about my teachability and my ability to be a good student of myself - where I'm growing and where I need to grow. It really becomes about what I'm learning from "everything else "out there"" and how am I being changed - change is life.) In my opinion, blogging is about sharing what's in your heart. It's about living in the present moment, and observing things. Being a good student of life.

Blogging keeps us accountable. It's a great vehicle to keep us moving in life. It forces us to pay attention - to things we want to see and things we don't want to see. There is something about putting things "on paper" which forces us to be true to our word. I hate this and love this at the same time. I hate it because I don't want to be accountable, even to myself. After all, I might "fail" and discover that I'm really lazy or scared or self-centered or pretending, or whatever. But I love that, because I don't want to be any of those things and being confronted with them in black and white forces me to do something. I can't ignore them. Especially if I keep "discovering" them over and over. So there. I've said it. I wrote it. I love being accountable. Because I don't want to stay in my same ruts.

So, my words to Karen about over-thinking now apply to me. I'm not going to obsess about writing for others. (If I do I'll never get started.) I'm going to write for me. And I can put up with imperfections in my writing, so I'm good to go. I'm ready to embark on my treasure hunt. I'm ready to discover everything I can about myself, my purpose on this earth, my Creator, creation itself (people, places, things) and everything else - did I leave anything out? -

The truth is, I do have something to say, even if it's just to myself. And if you want to listen in, then that's OK. But, I'm not writing for you or for "them." I'm writing for me. And if my suspicions prove true, not only will my life be enriched but others will too.