Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Saying No

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Saying no is not something I usually do.  For a long time, being the nice "yes person" was a sure-fire way of being liked.  I tend to be able to suss out the needs and wants of others before they come to the surface, and for years I used this as a skill to endear myself to others.  And even, at times, as a tool of manipulation.

The ability to discern what others want before they even know they want them... comes from being on eggshells when I was younger, trying to avoid wrathful interactions with my mother (with whom I am on good terms today).  Turning this survival mechanism into a skill seems like a positive progression, but I see now that there are deeper pitfalls behind it.

Living by discerning the needs of others has a downside.  My deeper connection to what is right for me has been covered over by the needs and wants of others.  What is right for me may come through that still small voice that Marianne Williamson talks about - that connection to soul, to truth, and ultimately to God (as you understand he/she/it.)  Of course the still small voice is a biblical reference originally (Kings 19:11-13).

How does this relate to compulsive eating?

As I say yes to everyone else's needs I put my needs last - I see that I say no to myself on a regular basis.  

Saying yes around food seems like the only indulgence I have left.  When you give your time and your attention away for others, there is little time for cultivating personal joy... fun experiences... fulfilling needs like meditation and prayer.  Food provides an endorphin rush, a way of saying yes to myself that takes no time.  It is my time that I give away to others and refuse to give to myself.

It is painful to paint these truths in words.  I've been in therapy 7.5 years, which is where I explore these themes over. And over. And over again.  I see it writ large and yet I do it again and again.  

However, with some of the yoga tools I've been learning recently, I can also learn to see above, below, and around the psychodrama.  In my practice every morning I end in meditation - only for about seven minutes or so (I'd love to stay longer).  But my goal is to be in the prior state.  The place before the drama arises.  I am loving awareness, as Ram Dass says.  The drama about where my patterns have come from, what damage and good they've done, how I keep repeating them...  There's also a bigger perspective available that is just space, just love, just open wide in awareness.

I look forward to seeing how the contact with this loving awareness prior to the drama will help shift the drama as it plays out.  If you feel like meditation might help you and you're curious about some wonderful free resources, head over hereTara Brach New to Meditation Online Resources.

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