I know the standard instruction: sit with the feeling, don’t feed the compulsion, and you will discover the reason behind it. That takes time, though, and in my normal frenzied state, I don’t take the time. I take the bite.
On my retreat I have no real stress. I have no responsibility other than to myself. I have no schedule. After five days, I am relaxed. What fascinates me is that when I reach this place, I am scarcely hungry. For the only time in my life, I eat to live rather than live to eat. Okay, so the food is a bit boring, too. In my home environment this wouldn’t stop me for a New York minute!
So today I had a compulsion to eat. I ate my breakfast, wasn’t satisfied, and began rummaging for something to eat. I waited anxiously for lunch. I wanted a snack, to be chewing, to be doing SOMETHING. It took until mid-afternoon to recognize and validate what was going on. I had made a commitment. It was something that I had loved doing in past years.
Here’s the “aha” moment.
I don’t have to do it anymore. No matter how much someone else enjoys it, I don’t have to do it. If I care that it gets done, I can arrange for someone else to do it. It was my idea in the very first place and I have a right to withdraw. Wow!
I’ll gear myself up when it’s time to go home. I bet I can eliminate a ton of self-imposed rituals if they no longer serve.
BTW, I’m not hungry anymore.
*I’m not sure it’s fair to represent a compulsion to eat as hunger.
Originally posted on My Life Class January 11, 2012