Friday, April 11, 2014

Im Backkkkk

Woah, how time flies! It has been nearly a year since my last post. This marks the beginning of spring term. I have always looked forward to the the first day of school- a fresh start. This term is no different. I find myself giddy with enthusiasm as I fantasize over what the next few months will bring.  That`s right...Big Hope, Big Dreams, Big Changes ahead. Most often these aspirations involve unrealistic expectations, fueled by desires to 'correct' my imperfections and better myself.  I might stay 'on track' with these goals for a few weeks, but before long the pain and struggle of maintaining such an extreme level of change overcomes the satisfaction of accomplishment. Disappointment follows, and I find myself making empty promises..'tomorrow I will start fresh and undo the failures of today.' I seem to have adopted this guilt-punishment attitude as it has become my comfort and my escape.

Let me explain. Something goes wrong... Say I get a bad grade on an exam. Rather than focusing my effort on correcting the problem, I allow the problem to consume me. I start making assumptions. I tell myself that I am the problem. I punish myself with food, exercise, rules etc. My question is this: at what point did I become desensitized to the destructive nature of such a coping strategy? What is so wrong with ME that I feel not just an urge and a need to punish myself?  I seek comfort in doing so.

Every one struggles.  For most of my life I have felt stuck in the mud of my struggles. I allow the struggle to both consume and define me.  I have viewed my struggles as detours... assuring myself that as soon as I get back on track I can start living. I have recently come to this realization that the struggle is not a detour, but the path itself. It is my life right now. Have you heard of the phrase "No mud, No lotus"? I recently listened to a talk, given by Tara Brach, regarding this very topic. In her audio she discusses this fear we harbor towards struggle.  Difficulties, challenges, struggles- they are not always comfortable to experience. They are the mud. They are the realness, and the vulnerability that we feel. When faced with adversity, it is human nature to want to escape... to avoid whatever pain might be associated with the struggle.  My eating disorder has been my escape.

Remember that tendency I have to self punish?? When I feel stuck in the mud and I don't know how to stay. Punishment is the solution. When I feel lost or hopeless, I assume that there is a problem with me... punishment is my response. How is punishment soothing? One word: escape. It takes the focus off of the struggle directing my focus towards something within the scoop of my 'control.' In doing this I am not actively dealing, but passively avoiding. I am using  external means to numb and soothe the internal discomfort. And so, the same struggles continue to surface and never fade. My eating disorder has provided a source of comfort to get me through some tough times, for as long as I can remember. Tara Brach challenges this tendency to use addictive practices to cope. Instead she challenges the idea to allow the struggle to strengthen us. If we allow it to, whatever mud we might be experiencing holds the key to awakening compassion and wisdom.

We can not control what happens to us, but our Creator gave us the free will to interpret and respond to whatever challenge we might face in a way that serves us. Our struggles do not have to define us, but they can and will shape us into stronger, more compassionate beings. If only we embrace them with the right attitude. We run from struggle because it seems painful. We want happiness not pain. But what if we simply changed our approach towards struggle? What if we viewed struggle as not a death sentence and not a sign of weakness but an opportunity to discover strength that we did not believe in. Jesus wants our true happiness. True happiness is in knowing him and reaching eternal life with him. Earthly struggles are only temporary.

It is time to move forward.  Thank you, Mr. ED, for the comfort you have provided me thus far,  but I think that I can take it from here.  I will not dwell on the time lost. I can look forward to  the experiences I will gain in choosing  to let go.  In letting go I surrender this illusive control promised by the Eating Disorder voice. I am perfect in the eyes of my creator.  Today I chose to let go of the control and punishment. Today I chose to surrender myself to Christs care. I can not do it alone, but I can find strength in him. Hope is here.
Thanks for the love, Untill next time <3