Day 345

6:30PM:

I cannot even trust myself with my judgment about Grilled Yam Soup.  My first reaction was that this would be great!  A second later, my second reaction was to question it.  “Ooooh, that looks good” VS. where does that come from: the calorie-less brothiness or my actual soul?

Am I missing a part of my heart?  Or have I fractured/fragmented/frazzled/fractioned/frayed so much that because this reaction felt like it came from my head (my thoughts, my perception), it is somehow less?  Do I need to expect something more visceral?  Is the ME version of ME more visceral or does the ME version of ME that if it comes from my head, then it comes from me!?!

I think about it thirdly, as I like the idea of Grilled Yam Soup.  I like the idea of coming home to it, taking it to school, putting it in boxes and being able to focus on enjoying every morsel.  But I cannot trust the why – I question the why.  I am so disjointed/disassociated/disgusted/dismayed that I cannot hear the voice fairly.  Or is it that I am so tired (no synonyms for that one; maybe just FUCKING tired), that I cannot hear it, that my soul and desired do not have the loudness that they should?  To bring it back to this recovery stage, stress is bogging down my soul?

Extrapolating from there: let’s say it is about the brothiness.  Maybe I just prefer quantity.  Maybe (in terms of my wife’s recovery), I am a finisher.  I can avoid the mistake by finding comfort in this.  The first stage though, is about dealing with the stress that’s bogging down my soul…

Day 339

1PM:

I thought that the concept of the Uncarved Block

“According to Lao-tse [author of the oldest existing book of Tao-ism], the more man interfered with the natural balance produced and governed by the universal laws, the further away the harmony retreated into the distance.  The more forcing, the more trouble. … Everything had its own nature already within it, which could not be violated without causing difficulties.  When abstract and arbitrary rules were imposed from the outside, struggle was inevitable.  Only then did life become sour” (Hoff, 4).

“The essence of the principle of the Uncarved Block is that things [and people] in their original simplicity contain their own natural power, power that is easily spoiled and lost when that simplicity is changed … ‘things in their natural state’” (10-11).

“When you discard arrogance, complexity, and a few other things that get in the way, sooner or later you will discover that simple, childlike, and mysterious secret known to those of the Uncarved Block: Life is Fun” (20).

“When we learn to work with our own Inner Nature, and with the natural laws operating around us … then we work with the natural order of things and operate on the principle of minimal effort.  Since the natural world follows that principle, it does not make mistakes.  Mistakes are made – or imagined – by man, the creature with the overloaded Brain who separates himself from the supporting network of natural laws by interfering and trying too hard” (69-70).

…spoke to disruptions in sex, in emotion, in fatigue signals being the result of my disruptions in hunger.  By automating hunger, I disautomated the things of which the universe takes care.  I created difficulties and struggle and sourness and spoilage and overload and separation by messing with hunger.

It does not appear that that’s the case.  Based on our mistakes learnings, the disruptions in my hunger appear the same as the disruptions in sex, emotion, fatigue, gentleness.  The disruptions in all these appear to be because of difficulties and struggle and sourness and spoilage and overload and separation brought on by me messing with the “a lot / too much” principle.  They’ve been caused by me walking a very fine line between taking on a lot and taking on too much, probably on the latter side much more often than I’d like to admit.

My Uncarved Block is buried in black gook.  Our road of recovery, the path to reclaiming healthy, is about washing and scraping and chipping away that blackness surrounding my ME.

Day 335 & 336

Recapping the last few days, the more ME version of ME appears, the more we learn about ME.  The more we learn about ME – not through mistakes, since I have gained wisdom by experiencing and experimenting with intuitive eating – and what ME/WE want to be – not what we should be – the better we are able to reclaim healthy, take it back from the blackness.

Imagine that there is a battle – a battle that wages between the blackness that grabs hold when stress is over-stress, a battle that is fought with the tools of recovery.

So, standing at the precipice of the next battleground, the next stage in reclaiming healthy, here are our lines, our path towards vivid, the next steps in recovery:

  • No more drinking before eating two meals, since I am able to separate drinking to cope from drinking to enjoy, but I am not able to separate drinking for calories from these.  I have allowed myself to consume alcohol calories outside of mealtimes (in the same way as having allowed myself to consume a latte outside of mealtimes), and therefore if I am too hungry outside of mealtimes, before the “shoulds,” I will drink my calories (and sensibilities) away.
    • I was ready to go on hiatus, but my wife brought me back to sensibility; I do enjoy a good bottle of wine, I just need to make sure the reasons (interesting, because she was the one that first opened my eyes, palette and heart to social drinking and now, she’s helped do it again with my tummy!).
  • Back to portion counting; albeit a softer version, but still portion counting.  After learning – through non-mistakes – I am comfortable doing this.  I am comfortable saying that intuitive eating is less a part of me than portion counting.  I am comfortable saying that softer portion counting [no weighing EVER, only calorie counting when ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY (since the latter actually allows me to try unknown things, fit it into me)], is helpful to me.  I am comfortable saying that this allows me to be the person I want to be, but acting as a boundary, an insurance that I will not falter.  I am comfortable saying that I want/need portion counting to retain the me-ness of me throughout a busy day.  That’s why it was not a mistake to try intuitive eating – hell, it might be something we go back to someday.  It was not a mistake because now I don’t say “grow” or “be able” to eat intuitively; I say that if it fits, it will be a part of our future.
  • To address the symptoms (and some of the causes) of over-stress:
    • Unrecognized hunger
      • Portion counting and food timing
    • Decreased sex drive
      • Sex drive
      • Pushing through discomfort and communicating openly about sex
    • Increased spiral thinking
      • Food timing
      • Recognizing that spiral thinking are signs/signals, that (insert venomous tool of the blackness here) is more about being in a position of weakness, not about being weak
    • Unrecognized fatigue
      • Re-instituting candles
    • Decreased silliness/gentleness
      • Happy lists
      • talesofarecoveringrecoverer.wordpress.com

There are still gaps, especially in needing to develop more coping strategies and boundaries that prevent the blackness from taking hold of the symptoms of over-stress.  In fact, my wife brought up a point yesterday, that I completely understand.  I understand that this does not deal with the core issue as much as it could.  These lines fight the symptoms more than the disease.  Therefore, while this next stage in recovery means boundaries, stop-gaps and lines that help support the anti-stress movement, it still requires further thought about what to do about this whole stress thing (if I were to put money on it, I’d say there are more beautiful candle and happy list ideas in my future, once my wife digests our talk and taps into her beautiful, amazing and loving vivid genius).

Step by step, breath by breath, one day at a time.

Rivers know this, there is no hurry.  We shall get there some day.

Here we go.

Day 332

11AM:

I’ve had a song stuck in my head all week. No, not that unusual for me. But it was Sheryl Crow (at least it’s not Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil while working with missionaries in Kenya):

Not sure if this quite sums up where we are, where I am on this road of recovery. Mostly due to the irony of the song, it doesn’t really fit (ever so snuggly, he remembered). It doesn’t fit reclaiming healthy, finding the me-est version of me.

What’s better is this:

Never been a huge Sloan fan, but they have a resoundingly appropriate chorus: “If it feels good, do it. Even if you shouldn’t. Don’t let people mess you around.”

I shouldn’t portion count, says majority opinion.

I should eat intuitively,  says majority opinion.

I should be able to rest if I just listen to my body, says majority opinion.

I haven’t been able to. It is not me, at least for now. I don’t feel hungry if I’m not constantly paying attention to it, checking the levels by a watch. I don’t like having to worry, about food in this case. I shouldn’t,  but these feel good, appropriate for me, right. They fit ever so snuggly.

So fuck you blackness and your shoulds, since that’s the source of them, I know.  We’ll do what works for us, the lines that work for us and make us vivid – a vividness that will fight to outshine even the blackest of your dark corners.

Redrawing the lines for the road ahead, so I can be the Don I want to be; seeing the lines form and others fade away.

Reclaiming healthy.

Day 331

9AM:

After digesting Thursday’s Naturopath appointment (a part of the support system and a resource, but not a driver of recovery – that’s US!), my own thoughts over the last week, what Guidance friend said to me yesterday about heart and soul and last but fucking definitely not least, what my wife wrote to me on the fridge, here’s what I’m thinking the true culprit is…

The True Culprit

 

Imagine that there is a battle – a battle that wages between the blackness that grabs hold when stress is over-stress, a battle that is won with the whites, the tools of recovery.  There are still gaps, especially in the whites, these coping strategies and boundaries that prevent the blackness from taking hold of the greys.  But it’s another step.

This is not yet the next step.  This is seeing where to take the next step, the next puddle in which we will jump, with giant smiles on our faces, holding hands, hands that fit ever-so-snuggly.

 

Day 300

4AM:

I haven’t thought about this much, but I’m sure the thought has crossed my mind once or twice.  I run a breakfast program at my school, serving 150-200 students a day, so my philosophy runs counter to what a lot of teachers practice about eating in class.  My current batch of grade tens haven’t gotten used to eating throughout the day so that they aren’t hungry after 225 minutes of class straight, very often with a gym class in there somewhere.

I had my first Master’s class last night.  I ate before and came home hungry.  More than hungry though, I was tired.  I ate what I thought would be enough and given the quantity, I thought it would be.

I woke up an hour and a half ago.  I have not made it back to sleep.  I think I am hungry.  I have promised myself that I want to rest now, so I will not be getting up to grab something (even a drink of some sort).  I am exhausted, but I cannot even sleep because I am hungry.  Not famished, but it proves that in not eating enough throughout the day yesterday – being too busy to listen to my nature and act as my Uncarved Block – I could not make it through the night without being woken up and kept up by HUNGER.

I will lay in bed, tire my eyes and hopefully get to sleep soon.  I will wake up tired.  I will wake up and (hopefully) be strong enough to eat more, having not eaten enough the day before, if that is what my nature dictates.  I will wake up and (hopefully) listen to that nature throughout the day.  I will wake up and not forget.  I will wake up and not forget that if sleeping is difficult when you are hungry, imagine how hard learning can be?

Day 283

5:45PM:

Choosing Raw and Greatist do a “Links of the Week,” so I figured, what the hell… let’s co-opt the idea!

1. The ever-intelligent and inspirational Neghar Fonooni turned me on to this little ditty: “Byron Katie, author of Loving What Is says about [self-deprecating] thoughts: ‘A thought is harmless unless we believe it.  It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering.  Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring.  A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.’ … Tell yourself something enough times and it will become true for you, no matter how far off it is from reality.”

The way that my wife feels about herself sometimes, her self-worth, her self-image, her direction, these are far off from reality.  These are far off from reality because the blackness took hold of them and made her believe they were true, without inquiring.  For me, the lack of stomach definition is a trigger, and may actually be a figment of my imagination.  However, if I continue to believe that it defines me, that it is anywhere near as important as valuing myself or being a capable Don, then I have given it to the blackness, given these thoughts to it to be malevolently twisted into flaws.  Instead, treating ourselves compassionately, telling ourselves that “our weaknesses are not the blackness’ anymore,” telling ourselves that “I value myself,” these will allow us to reclaim healthy thoughts from the blackest pits of neglect.

2. http://greatist.com/play/blood-sugar-hunger-anger-relationships

How many arguments between my wife and I, my parents, their parents, their (you get my drift), has been caused simply by hunger?  I do not want to not understand my hunger.  I do not want to be able to blame not recognizing my hunger at a 6 as the reason for a fight.  It is why I ate lunch yesterday, because I need to know.  Not that I need to be in control or that I shouldn’t let myself get hungry, but because I want to be a strong, loving and respectful person – none of which can happen with overwhelming hunger, not the least of which because it gives the blackness traction and a willing ear to hear its screams.

3. I like the “defining” part:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellbeing/10403767/Confessions-of-a-vegan

Day 282

7PM:

I have had Workout Friend’s voice in head, especially after Wednesday’s post and particularly after the recent Don-ish musings.  If I am not waiting, even if I am and it is temporary, as the new Don of Tz’u, it means being invincible.  Scratch that…

The Don is not invincible.  The Don is not Superman.  These are illusions, but illusions that are part of the role.  The Don appears stone-faced, steadfast, without doubt or vulnerability, because it is from this that others gain strength and trust and security.

Truth is, the Don just makes decisions, uses supports and blackness-weakening tools, chooses to live so that this perception is possible.  For me, that means doing things and accessing supports that will allow me to be a better teacher, a better student, a better husband, a better son, a better employee, a better rock.  Better able to deal with family drama, with my mother-in-law’s impending surgery, with my wife’s thoughts about changing jobs or at least changing the make-up of her current one, even through the job I will face come September, the Masters for which I have gone all in, the house to keep mortgaging along.

That means taking it slow for a few days, recovering.  That means setting the stage so that physical rest can be restful, because physical rest is not restful if my mental health is unhealthy, is weak, is screaming the sirens’ song of the blackness.  Perhaps that means shifting meal-conception to allow for more regularity, more regular blood sugar and blackness-weakening strength spread throughout the day.  I tried varying the times and number of meals per day (trying to act on my natural hunger cues), but ended up eating certain amounts and not spreading it out.

Therefore, perhaps to be a more capable Don, I need to vary the amounts, but make the times more certain, more definite: eat too much at breakfast, eat a light lunch; not feeling hungry at dinner, eat something small.  This will also ensure that I am not drinking to gather up much needed calories (and suffering the aforementioned consequences).  Instead, allow my body to tell me the truth, provide the colour, but within the lines of breakfast-lunch-dinner regularity, and by doing so, finding vividness, strength against the demons inside, rest and peace, the appearance of being superhuman.

Day 279

6PM:

Some universal signs to interpret, from today, a day that has left me realizing I’m worn down and not doing myself any favours by living on the edge:

“Peace is in each of us” (Mennonite Church)

Even though I felt like I needed the Naturopath to be a sounding board, that I needed her to tell me I am drinking too much (either to cope or to fill up the calorie tank at that point in the day), that I am not respecting my hunger out of fear of getting fat (and the never-ending thoughts of belly fat, unknown as to its delusional or truthful nature), that I am not fueling my me-ness enough throughout the day with food and rest, thereby letting my blood sugar drop, my adrenal health plummet and my ability to fight off / ignore / not hear the blackness crater.

Even though I felt like I needed her to say it, I knew these things.  I am scared of trusting myself, of trusting my opinion, even though time and time again, we draw the same conclusions: the only us experts, are us.  Peace is in each of us, or at least, in my case, the ability to find that peace is in me.  I trust my head to think, my heart to love, my soul to feel; now, I need to trust my body to heal.

“I value myself” (Naturopath)

I want to shift the way that I think from I find no value in myself compared to others, worthless in their shadows and that I accept myself as such.  I want to shift it to that I find purpose in others, I find value in helping them (like the happiness I got from doing yard work at my mother-in-law’s house today, not thinking about the selfishness that spawned me doing it, but simply having my heart focus on the love and the IAN).  However, finding purpose in others does not negate valuing myself, it does not have to.  In fact, valuing myself means I can be selflessly selfish, by taking time to heal myself, heal myself so I can engage in that purpose of others; as opposed to being selfishly selfless, making it about ignoring my own needs and ultimately sacrificing my ability to live that purpose.

“Be patient” (Mennonite Church)

We will make mistakes, we will falter, we must before we fly.  We will be patient, step by step on the path of recovery.  We will keep putting one foot in front of the other to reclaim healthy, making mistakes along the way but still going, one day at a time, one breath at a time, breath by breath.

Day 266

6PM:

These might all seem like separate things, or even worse, redundancies. Two-hundred and sixty-five days of over and over, dropping one thing and going to the next, picking up one catch phrase when it better suits and putting down an old one, or again, even worse, being redundant and repetitive and (dare I say) edu-speak-ish.

Fuck off.  That is not the case.  These ideas do all fit, they fit around recovery.

Recovery is creating an environment – through lines (structures, respecting your true nature and not shoulds, working through blacklists and exposure therapy, safeguards, routines), support systems (literary and asking for help from the warm-blooded – familial and therapeutic) and tools (regular exercise, expressing gratitude and appreciation, writing a blog, happy lists) – that starves the blackness inside, taking away its power, taking back the things it stole as flaws (taking your thoughtfulness, contemplative nature and warping it into toxic hyper-vigilance and overt control, anxiety and over-thinking, an eating disorder or alcoholism to cope and depression, low sex drive and thoughts of self-harm as a result; taking your self-awareness and bastardizing it into self-doubt and fear, whereby you run and cheat and lose your you version of you) and reclaiming them as your own beautiful, amazing and loving imperfections, and in doing so, allowing yourself to find vivid in recovery one day at a time, reclaim healthy, manifest as the you version of you, your true nature, your Uncarved Block (healthy veganism, thoughtful gentleness, IANs, creative attentiveness and loving care).

Without the breaks and brackets (and questionably avoided run-on sentence):

Recovery is creating an environment that starves the blackness inside, taking away its power, taking back the things it stole as flaws and reclaiming them as your own beautiful, amazing and loving imperfections, and in doing so, allowing yourself to find vivid in recovery one day at a time, reclaim healthy, manifest as the you version of you, your true nature, your Uncarved Block.

See, it all fits – perfectly imperfectly.