Connecting Things

This morning when I opened up Facebook I had a "memories" post where I shared some thoughts from my favorite compulsive eating author, Geneen Roth.  The post was about how as infants, when we have periods of extreme stress, there is no differentiation between emotional and physical pain and how we learn to shut down or detach for survival at very young ages, how we use food and other pleasurable distractionsn to survive the stress intact.  As adults, it went on to say, if we continue to react as if we need to not feel stress in order to survive, we will obsess over the very distractions we used to cope when we were young and had a lot less options.  In order to get over this habitual practice, we have to be willing to feel the feelings we are trying to avoid, to have stress and live through it without trying to escape it or distract ourselves with food.
This post got me thinking about what she calls "The Me Project" that state that we seem to slip into where we constantly have something about ourselves that we feel is broken and needs to be fixed; our weight, our relationships, our job, our workout name it.  Her teaching is that, maybe the happiness we think comes about from losing weight actually comes from the realization that nothing's broken with me, so many things are good and right.  She uses the Zen buddhist quote " My barn burned down, now I can see the moon."  So giving up "The Me Project" means letting go of the belief that you, in and of yourself, are not perfect just how you are in this very moment.  Not broken, not damaged, not unlovable, perfect.
So I was thinking about the Me Project and I do this, still, always, it is evident in my posts.  I need to work out more.  I need to eat better.  I need to stretch.  Blah blah blah.  So because this hits home, I am fency about it.  I believe in self-improvement, I feel part of the Buddhist focus is on working on yourself, your thoughts so you can see reality more clearly.  (I need to meditate more, ha ha, there's another need).  I believe to overcome certain things you have to strive to "fix" things but the important emphasis is on the internal world, not the external.  What is really needed, is to fix my reaction to things.  And that is where Geneen's two concepts come together for me.
I think a Me Project can be very good, especially in light of how overwhelmed I can get when I have so many appointments and tasks to complete in a short timeframe.  I get a little bowled-over in life and sometimes the very thing that is missing at the end of the day is time for me to do things that are healing, rejuvenating or lead to personal growth.  So much of my time is spent doing things for other people and many times I don't take time to do the things that make me feel alive.  That leads to me feeling like I am just pushing through one day after the other, one task after another, hoping that eventually I'll be caught up enough to do the things I like to do.  I have had many many experiences where, in the moment I think to myself, I should be happier right now.  It could be a day off, particularly nice weather, maybe a special event or a trip to a beautiful place and there is still this cloud of discontent that blocks my ability to truly notice the greatness of it and appreciate it.  Maybe I expect too much, maybe I'm too disconnected, and these are the things that I really feel like are the goal for a Me Project. 
I have said things like this before, I have even gone so far as to make a list of things that help me feel alive and joyful/appreciative etc, but I haven't taken the time to make it a priority to incorporate these things into my day.  So my goal is to get things down on paper, maybe even record them on here or in a journal, and then prioritize getting these things in every day.  It is like a quote I saw recently that said to romanticize your life, to let yourself believe that your morning commute is fun, to brag about how awesome your job is, to believe that Tuesday is the best day of the week, etc.  I think that is possible if I can learn to appreciate things more, to focus on all the things that rock about a day/moment/experience instead of always having my brain stuck on my to-do list. 
So this is a new branch on my journey that I am going to try and see how it uplifts me.  I am going to start my very own Me Project.  As much of my attention as I freely give to everyone else, I deserve to give more to myself, and everyone will be better for it if it has the effect I believe it will.  More to come on the project!


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