Becoming the Observer.
I began my experiment on August 14. Just a day before the launch of Becoming Zia. The timing wasn’t that great, but now upon reflection, it was perfect timing! I began with watching my thoughts about giving up a food plan and taking away any restrictions. Anxiety. Yes, that was the first thought and feeling that arose. If I didn’t have consciousness about it than I feared I would weight 350 pounds in a matter of months. If I didn’t weigh myself than I feared that I could gain weight so quickly I would be shocked the next time I weighed. The thoughts and feeling that arose were terrifying and majorly stress inducing. There was a war going on in my brain.
I realized that any separation I had between diets don’t work and my own belief system was gone. I had fully meshed with the Fat Operating System again! I had slipped back into the total and complete belief that I was powerless over food and eating and that I could not be trusted to listen to my body or to make responsible choices.
Knowing I had slipped back into this FOS mentality even made me more panicked! And being a person who was under treatment for an anxiety disorder this was not a good feeling at all. But, I did know that I had to step back and watch these thoughts and see where it lead me. The first big urge I had to eat when I wasn’t hungry became an opportunity. Instead of reacting to it, I looked at it. I wrote about it and investigated it. In this one inquiry, I discovered something big, huge actually. When I followed the urge to eat two things came up in my head. First, the thought “fuck it, I can eat what I want it doesn’t matter. I want it!” and the second, “If I eat it now, I’ll just have to stop eating it in the future sometime, because that is the only way I am going to lose weight.””Every explicit duality is an implicit unity.” -Alan Watts
Then, what happened next is what changed everything. Right behind those two thoughts was a feeling so powerful that it knocked everything else out of the way. The feeling was sheer, life or death panic so intense that it nearly forced me out of the chair and to the refrigerator. The desire to eat was nearly impossible to stop.
I realized that it wasn’t one thought that I had to look at – it was a cluster of thoughts that were connected. There were the first two, which seemed like my rational mind arguing the process and cons of eating. Then, there was the fear of having to give up this habit that had obviously served me well through out my life. And just the very thought of it sent my flight or flight response into overdrive and I was acting out of a survival level need. I could feel it all over my body. Thankfully I was still in the observer mode and I allowed myself to experience this, telling myself I was safe and it was okay to watch this unfold.
It was an awakening. At that moment I had made the connection with this deep seated anxiety that I had lived under most of my life. First, in my family, then my first marriage, and then recreated by me. It had become a state of being – protecting myself from this anxiety. A feeling of life or death. It was big.
I sat with this for a few days and things began to unfold. I kept thinking about the Big Lessons I had learned Becoming Zia. The most important being, I am perfect just as I am. What if I started at that point. Accepting myself exactly as I was? That wasn’t entirely easy. I had begun to accept myself as perfect in many areas of my life, but this stuff with my weight and body just seemed hard to accept. I was willing to try. I talked to my daughter about it and she was a little skeptical. She asked if I was just giving up, or looking for a way to just eat what ever I wanted. I heard her and I understood her concern. After all, she had lived with the same messed up kind of mother I had had, body and weight obsessed. She had seen me through dozens of diets, weight loss programs, non-diet diets, and all sorts of metaphysical and new-age sorts of programs. She had joined the one I was doing now! So hearing me question yet again, another program really got her going. It did stop me, and make me question my decision to stop the “protocol”. Was I just looking for another escape route, like I had many times before? Was I being just like my mom who started counting calories, then switched over to counting carbs when she wanted to eat sugar or flour? It gave me pause and I had to look into that thought.
So that’s what I did. I sat with it and I observed my thoughts. I realized that it takes an effort to really get that space between your thoughts and awareness. To become the observer, or the watcher. It is a gift of our humanness, but sometimes hard to do. That is what makes most people uncomfortable with meditation, all the thoughts that come up and interrupt the silence. I had been encouraged to start a meditation practice after my anxiety breakdown last year. I was religiously doing it for months and months, but it had slipped away. So, I decided that would be my first line of action – beginning my meditation practice again. That would help me step back and observe my thoughts and see if I could uncover what was going on.
Part 3 next week.[