Something dawned on me when I was eating lunch this afternoon. I was madly in love with the sensation of eating the food. Yet it was an incredibly simple meal—just some green leaves with a delicious dressing. I said to my wife, “God, how I love this food.”
Then I became aware of how important it was for me to savor that meal so that I wouldn’t feel hungry a few minutes later and feel deprived. It was also important for me to savor the meal because it’s exactly the thing that I was doing at the time. It was a matter of “being in the moment.” So in that moment, eating the simple meal was a focused meditation.
I couldn’t believe that I was thinking like this after all these years of being a wild guy by nature. Not in the sense of consuming alcohol and behaving promiscuously, though. My excesses included being a workaholic, moving from one thing to another, and being filled with anxiety and excitement about things that weren’t of true value. Yet today I was eating a meal, enjoying it, and really being with it, probably for the first time. I know what an enormous effect my enjoyment of that meal will have on my overall chemistry.
I know from my own experience that I don’t need a book or scientist to tell me how a positive attitude will help me with my overall health. And I’m experiencing pleasure in sharing this with you. So then I got to thinking, What about the person right now who is eating something that I would consider junk food? Should they feel bad about it? And I said to myself, “No.” If they feel bad about it, they’re getting two times the negative effect. The first negative effect will come from the disruption to their chemistry caused by the junk food. The second negative effect will come from the attitude they have about what they’re doing.
And then I asked myself, “How do I tell someone who’s eating junk food and taking care of themselves so poorly to close their eyes and take a deep breath and savor even the junk food? How do I tell them to tell themselves that what they’re doing is amazing?” I said to myself, “What everyone should be grateful for in that moment is that they have calories and sustenance to keep them going.”
Be grateful that you have calories and you have something to support your life to make it through another day. And hopefully it will also help you to continue to expand your consciousness to see things more clearly or in a different way.
Tell yourself that the meal you are eating is beautiful and important – no matter what the meal is! Tell yourself that you’re going to work to continue to do better and improve yourself. I believe that is what the purpose of all of our lives should be—to continually expand our consciousness and learn to do better.
Initially I might have been close-minded about telling a person to praise themself while they are eating a Snickers bar. But then I realized that it’s critically important that a person not beat themself up anymore. At the same time, it’s important that a person not overindulge with their positive attitude and make it so that they continue to do things that aren’t good for their health. People should give themselves the right amount of praise for positive things they’re doing but still strive for needed change and improvement.
Move at your own pace. In doing so a little discomfort is OK; it’s a sign that you’re pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone (which likely need to be pushed). Don’t push so hard that you cause yourself terrible stress and unhappiness. Push yourself right to the point where you start to get a little bit of an adrenaline rush. At that point you’ll be doing something good for yourself. It might be hard and you might hate the struggle, but you can bear it. And you can do it again the next day.
As long as we keep pushing ourselves without reaching a breaking point we’ll very likely make progress. There will always be some setbacks to progress, and that’s OK—setbacks are normal and commonplace. Progress and improvement are always difficult for many reasons. One is that we’re naturally lazy, another is that we are frightened, and yet another is that we don’t know how to do everything ourselves without practice. We follow our role models as examples. We have to unlearn some patterns of what we’ve seen done by others and replace them with new patterns and new routines. That takes time.
Another reason for a potential setback is that we have an attachment to a behavior that we’re doing. That behavior connects us to something that we find important, something in which we find safety and protection. We have to do psychological work to unravel ourselves from any attachments that don’t serve us.
That takes time as well. How much time it will take varies from one person to another. There are many factors involved. They include how much work one does, how deep is the level of work required, if the person is in a support group, what the person’s natural abilities are, and how honest the person is with him or herself.
Keep working to progress. Never give up on yourself. When you feel stuck, find a new approach. And never hesitate to look for people to help you. Perhaps I can help you. By all means reach out to me through social media and ask me for help. I like to talk and I like nice people, so maybe if we cross paths we could exchange information. Please don’t be a pain in the ass. Thank you.