I recently started an Experiment. Fits and starts is actually more like it. I even made sure to capitalize the E. That would make me do it! I decided to:
- Go on a cleanse. Meaning, for me, a self-designed “program”. Again, I used that particular word in the hopes it would strengthen my Great Intention. For however long I can, it was simply, I’m gonna just eat veggies (raw, juice, salads, soups) and fruits and a vegan protein shake with almond milk and chia seeds. I also decided to allow myself some sweet fixes like a few ginger chewies and one or two pieces of dark chocolate. The thought of not having even a tiny sweet fix is just a little too much to take right now. I didn’t have a deadline or end date. This time, I wanted to keep going past a day or two, which I’d never done before. I wanted to see, how healthy I could really get? What if I just keep going? What kind of miracles await me?
- And meditate for an hour every day. I’ve already been meditating on and off since I was 27, but in the last year or so had made a better effort to do it almost every morning for, well, at least five minutes, sometimes twenty, twenty being the goal, but sometimes, mostly ten or fifteen.
The first few days, wow, I did it! I was pretty amazed about the cleanse part. I actually only ate veggies and fruit and shakes the first two, and felt incredible (more on that later), but then a little slip here and there but pretty good. The point was though, I didn’t exactly stick to it wholeheartedly. So, after a week, I started again. Every morning in fact, I decided, I would just keep starting again, until. Like when you first start riding a bike. You gotta fall off a few times, before you can just ride.
So now I’m on New Day 12. On Day 10, I fell off the wagon. To most people it wouldn’t seem like overeating. I already eat really healthy, have been mostly vegan for the last four years or so. Oh lord, plant-based if the V word turns you off. Believe me, I understand (more later). But I do go off it. The point is, I fell off the wagon of keeping my word to myself. But I also decided from that, ok, every 10 days I’ll have a cheat day!
Normally, in all my life, the way I would respond to letting myself down would be the usual default pattern of most humans – berate myself, both consciously and subconsciously, and sabotage my progress and my improving self-esteem with all sorts of destructive thoughts and behaviors. I won’t get into my past here, that’s for another time. Yes, you’ll have to just get on with your life until then. But this time, and this had almost everything to do with the increase in meditation, I decided I would not beat myself up. I would really catch (was getting better at this now) when I would find myself feeling in a weird/shitty mood. I was becoming more able to pin-point the first thoughts that led to it, that very slow and painful process of going from feeling great to, just a few moments later, being in a fog of confusion about why I’d suddenly succumb to doubt and fear.
I started saying “I forgive myself”. What a concept. How obvious yet so very hard for most of us. I decided that would be my new mantra, all day long. When noticing falling into my old patterns of saying any variation to myself of “I can’t believe I just said that/acted like that/did that”, “I can’t believe I’m still (fill in the blank), “I’m so (fill in the blank)”, “I might never (fill in the blank).”, “what if I’m always going to (fill in the blank)” etc, I’d stop and say, “I forgive myself”. It seems so trite, maybe, but only if you’re just hearing those words and you’re not actually doing it. What would it take to actually, truly, forgive yourself for every self-defeating thought? Go sit on a park bench like Eckhart and ponder that for a few years, you won’t be disappointed.
Of course I know, these seemingly demonic habits are universal. The suffering we inflict on ourselves on a daily basis, which most of us aren’t even aware of most of the time, is beyond any we can inflict on others. And even just that, realizing everyone does it; “it’s not just me, I’m not crazy” is the beginning of climbing back up.
So today, I started out with an idea of what I wanted to get done on my day off. Actually, it was the intention I set yesterday. But, inevitably, on the actual day, today, I didn’t feel the same way I felt when I made my precious list. Shocking! I was low energy and uninspired. In fact, this post is still reflecting that feeling. It’s kind of forced and awkward and not flowing. Yet, I soldier on!
I did get my workout in, but I ended up just doing grocery shopping and cooking and prepping my food for dinner and for all day tomorrow and some of the next. Now, getting my workout in (more on that later too), didn’t feel like much of an accomplishment because it’s just part of my routine now. Before you think…oh, who cares what you think, right? Just saying, it’s taken me years to get to that point where “working out”, blech, is actually something I want to do. You have no idea (just one more, more on that later!). But this was the mindset I was in today – that I need to “accomplish, make it happen!”. When I started noticing my resistance to doing the one thing I really want to do, the one thing I told myself I should do, the creeping fog of self doubt started to emerge. So that’s the habit, if I don’t do the thing I told myself I’d do, I can’t even give myself credit for doing something that to some people would be a major accomplishment, working out. “Eh, but there’s so much more I’m supposed to be doing” *whine, sulk…The slippery slope began.
And yet. It ended there. I decided, if I’m not going to do the thing I really want to do, actually had convinced myself I should do, I can at least meditate again. I decided, I’m going to go for a full hour. This is something I’d only ever done once before, and that was a few days ago. I’d already meditated 20 minutes this morning. Again, hey, something I can now give myself credit for! So I thought, ok, if nothing else, get this done. Just do it.
I did. And something was lifted, something always is. (More on that later, especially). But my point is, I hoped it would put me back in the flow, in the zone of letting my thoughts pour out of me into inspired revelations of power and creativity! But, like those first few attempts at a bike, fits and starts. I do feel so much better. What is that? What exactly feels better? How I’m thinking about myself. I got a glimpse of who I really am. Everything. So how can All That Is judge and criticize this silly little personality? It, I, can’t. But my silly little personality is stil very much fighting for breath.
So that’s where I am right now. Better after I meditated for an hour, much more calm and allowing of myself just as I am, but also not quite feeling that high that I know I can feel. That’s the striving though, and there is no way to that feeling. It either is or it isn’t. Trying to feel it is just another addiction, and the beginning of another, and another. But this time, learning to allow myself to be and feel everything that’s in me, is also exactly right, the greatest lesson, and as it should be. To live by the words of my all time favorite song, Let It Be.
And hey, at least I stuck to my cleanse. Ok I didn’t do the one thing I told myself I’d do. Oh wait, I kinda did. But I didn’t do it the way I wanted to, I wasn’t in the flow of joy and ease when I did it! Oh jesus, listen to myself. It really is ridiculous, what we put ourselves through.
And what was the thing I told myself I’d do today, that I didn’t do? I didn’t do it the way I wanted to, but screw it all to hell, I DID DO IT?