So I went through this book and dog-eared every page that had something on it that I had underlined previously that really spoke to me as I reviewed it a second time…and let’s just say there are a LOT of pages folded down now. I thought I’d share with you some of my reactions to the author’s insights in case you have a similar take on things.
A lot of her points lead you right back to you, which of course I love — the self-discovery aspect of things intrigues me even though sometimes I wonder if I don’t even have time to fold the laundry, when will I have time to think about my convictions and beliefs? But, of course, thinking is something that you can do anywhere, any time. I think the key is to just take this list one at a time and focus on each point for a number of days or weeks, whenever you think of it, come back to it, until you feel like you’ve dug all the way to the bottom to find what applies to you in the statement and THEN move on to the next one. Be patient. This sort of self-discovery and realization is not an overnight thing, although you may experience dreams or moments of clarity. Slow and steady wins the race.
I may have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: “We are walking, talking expressions of our deepest convictions.” What does Geneen mean by this? Well, that’s really for you to figure out, for you alone. Think about your appearance, your home, your clothes, and your relationships. How do you speak to your spouse at the end of a stressful day? Do you live in ratty old t-shirts and pajama pants? Is your home one endless stack of papers after another? Think about what this kind of stuff says about how you view yourself and your worth.
“Allow [yourself] to feel the feelings of brokenness… [Your] resistance to the pain [is] worse than the pain.” Emotional eaters, listen up. Sometimes I think the only way to avoid stress eating is to literally get out of the kitchen, get out of the house — and don’t go to the nearest drive-thru. That may sound like my typical escape mechanism, but if you can go somewhere to breathe deeply and focus on what’s bothering you instead of just tuning out, whether via food, TV or another vice, good. Feel the emotion, not the hunger. Remember that.
“Understanding the relationship with food is a direct path to coming home after a lifetime of being exiled. Perhaps that home is what God was always meant to be.” This book is obviously about more than just food and dieting, and while I don’t expect a non-religious person to necessarily be moved to belief by reading about chocolate cake and French fries, that last sentence comforts me. God as home. (And therefore by contrast, if this speaks to you, Food not as home.) Even if you don’t dive into food as your comfort, it’s still nice to feel comfort, peace and calm anyways. That has benefits that reach far beyond your waistline.
“Diets are [your] most flagrant attempts at fixing [yourself].” Well if that doesn’t say it all right there, I don’t know what does. Is your weight standing in your way? Do you avoid trips to the beach with your friends because it would mean being in a bathing suit? (Or do you go and not enjoy yourself because the whole time you’re thinking about how she looks and how you look and how all the guys are looking at her, not you?) Let me be blunt: Screw that. Again, even if your issues aren’t weight or eating or dieting, I know I’ve put up a million walls and excuses based on this other level of thinking that only involves fear, self-consciousness and low self-esteem that, even if I do go to the beach, or the party, or the meeting, am I really connecting with people? Or am I so locked up inside my own head that I might as well not be there in the first place? I, for one, am sick of that. Number one; diets will not fix your problems. Number two; diets will not fix “you.” Number three; you don’t need to be “fixed.” You can deal with your problems, okay, but you yourself are not flawed or broken. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
“Can you remember a time, perhaps when you were very young, when life was as it was — just the fact that it was early morning or any old day in summer — and that was enough? When you were enough — not because of what you looked like or what you did, but just because everything was the way it was. Nothing was wrong. … You were back to a fundamental feeling of positivity, of goodness just because you were alive. What if you could live that way now? And what if your relationship to food was the doorway?” It’s kind of like my bike-riding analogy. There’s a reason why a Google search of “Live in the Moment” comes up with 50 million results. 50 million! 50 million reasons why we should cast our worries aside (enter God again) and just enjoy the outdoor barbecue party or the pool day or the wedding. Don’t let your preconceived notions put a damper on anything you do. Get rid of them. It is physically impossible to maintain them and live in the moment at the same time. This is not something you can do from one day to the next, but become more self-aware. Notice when you’re having a conversation with someone and all you can think about is whether you’re nodding your head at the right times, listening enough, talking enough, should you smile? Just converse. Just go on a date. Just eat dinner. It shouldn’t be as hard as it is.
I feel like I could have endless book club discussions about this book. I also just found out that she has several other books, so with any luck some day I’ll be reading those, too. I find this stuff so interesting!