Today, I am reading a book called, “A Course in Weight Loss, 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever,” by Marianne Williamson. I bought this book about 3 years ago. Like many other weight-loss books, fad diets and weight-loss recipes, I bought it with the intention of applying it to my life, but never actually took the time to do so. I was always in such a hurry to do the next thing in life. It’s like I went around acting as if I was getting ready to die and I needed to hurry and experience everything that I could. The problem was that I wasn’t actually living my life. I was storing up knowledge, but never taking the time to go through the motions required for real change. I would endeavor to say that my experience is like many of you, too. Somewhere along the way, each of us get caught up in the collective pace of humanity, which I think is set to the highest speed possible. Wouldn’t it be great if each of us could move a switch and set our own pace of living? Actually, we can. There are some aspects of life that require us to adapt, sure, but in the privacy of our homes and in the times when we are not working, we can adapt our lives to reflect our own personal choices. But how many of us take the time to actually do that? For most of us, we use substances to keep our bodies going when we really should slow down. Caffeine has been the drug of choice for most of the world. I’m not going to bash it entirely. I just enjoyed a steaming cup of Chai tea. Drinking a cup of it in the mornings helps to wake up my brain. But how many of us can say that we enjoy every single cup? Or every single serving of caffeinated beverages or food? I can’t say that. However, my daily intention is to enjoy what I put into my body. Why would any of us do anything otherwise?
Anyway, I digress…..back to the book. I found this book at a time when I absolutely needed it the most, but I didn’t read it. I had already found myself at the highest weight imaginable for my 4’11” frame at 272 pounds. I struggled to get through each day. I was tired all day and exhausted at night. I was miserable living in such a large body. I craved sweets and carbs. I also craved physical and emotional connection. I ate the most when I was lonely. I had many fears. To be honest, I didn’t really even understand where the fears came from and why I had so many. It wasn’t from a lack of trying to understand. I went through three years of counseling trying to figure out what made me so unhappy. I began to blame everybody in my life that contributed to my unhappiness. I became bitter and full of anger and at the same time, I craved intimacy. I wanted someone to love me, but most of all, I wanted to love myself. I wanted to feel worthy. For whatever reason, I wasn’t ready to accept the words inside the book. I tried reading it, but couldn’t get past the first chapter. Maybe it was because I saw so much truth in what she wrote and I couldn’t accept it about myself. I wasn’t ready. It would take weight loss surgery and the subsequent weight loss before I could even begin to open the book up again. It’s like I had closed the book on myself. I couldn’t stand to look in the mirror. All that I saw was loathing and disgust. I didn’t love my body. I had to collapse into failing health before I was able to make any change. I saw my children growing up without their mom and that set me into motion to do something about my weight.
The following words have hit home with me. We are not separate body parts to treat or diagnose. We are many parts of one body. If one aspect of our bodies, say, the spiritual side, is not begin fed, then we are going to suffer either in our physical or mental bodies. We have to learn to differentiate what part of us is hungry. If we are truly physically hungry, then we give our bodies actual food. If we are conscious of how different foods react in a biological way that can affect our mental or spiritual bodies, then we begin to choose better foods to fill up our physical bodies. The same philosophy applies to spiritual food and mental food. What do we do to feed our spiritual selves? Do we find inspiring books to read? Pray? Meditate? There are many forms of meditation. I have found that the best form of meditation for me is “walking” meditation. My mind will stop spinning off of its axis when I am walking out in nature. If God created the beauty of nature and it has no conscious thought to please God, what more will He do for us who seek to please Him? And, what about our “mental” bodies? Do we take time for ourselves everyday? Do we get enough sleep? Do we participate in a hobby that makes us truly happy? Do we engage with others in a meaningful and fulfilling way? How often do we get out with friends and enjoy the day?
Ms. Williamson wrote a passage about fear that really resonated with me. She wrote, “Fear is a psychic tyrant that has no intention of letting its slave go free.” How profound! I began to realize that Fear is like a separate entity for most of us. It can attach itself to us and make us miserable, if we let it in. We must treat it as an unwanted guest, but with a commanding demeanor not born out of hatred or anger, but out of authority and respect for ourselves. We must remove fear from our lives. We cannot enjoy our lives as long as fear follows us around like the life-sucker that it is. We must remove it from our thoughts and vocabulary. We must realize that we no longer bow down to fear. We are no longer enslaved by its tentacles of doom.
In order to fully move forward in life we have to forgive. We have to forgive ourselves for the unhealthy way in which we have treated our bodies. What is passed is in the past. We can’t go back and fix anything. We can only live in the moment and choose the outcome of tomorrow as best as we can by making healthy choices today. We have to be willing to let go of the hurt, anger, frustration, fear, and self-loathing. Today is a new day. Let yesterday be but a memory. Let it go. It has no power over you. You are not the same person as you were yesterday. Choose to evolve. Learn to adapt. Settle into the new patterns of what makes you truly happy. Accept nothing less than what you truly desire in life. If you don’t fully know what makes you happy, then begin experimenting today. Make a list of things that you might be interested in learning about and go through them, checking them off, one by one, as you would a shopping list. We have to allow healing to take place within ourselves, if we want true salvation from our addictive behaviors. Healing cannot take place without forgiveness. It is extremely important to forgive others, but have you forgiven yourself, too?