Saturday, December 22, 2018

December 22nd, 2018 The Cycle of Retreat

December 22nd, 2018 The Cycle of Retreat

Yesterday: I maintained the integrity of my reduced calorie budget, I remained refined sugar-free, I met my daily water goal, and I stayed well connected with exceptional support.

Feelings. Oh my--they come and go, huh? Sometimes the feelings are created by real circumstance, other times they're created by perception; literally manifesting out of our imaginations. The worst is when the feelings combine both--and that's when working through it becomes a challenge in deciding between what is real versus what's imagined. What is true?

Feelings are often complicated because a big part of their makeup comes from the experiences and patterns that have shaped us. Another part, in my humble opinion, comes from unmet expectations. If our circumstance challenges our core beliefs of who we are; our identity; the expectations of self--watch out because disappointment and negative head chatter will quickly follow. The last couple of days have presented enormous challenges for me in this department.

Here's the thing: I've avoided feelings the majority of my life. Instead of feeling them, I'd quickly retreat into the food. For me, it was the quickest and "safest" escape route. The attempt to quickly change how I felt in any particular circumstance gave the illusion of "all better," but in reality, the issues, circumstances, and feelings still existed--they were just being cataloged for future reference, waiting for the spotlight to bring them center stage once more so the cycle of retreat and eat could continue over and over again. 

Recognizing the pattern doesn't fix it because it isn't what we know, it's what we do. By the grace of God, I haven't stuffed these feelings of late with food. I've thought about it and that scares the hell out of me, but I haven't. And in that place---uhg, that place where the feelings are raw and real, I have the often unpleasant task of unpacking it all, sorting through them, and asking, "what is true?"

So what's the deal? I can't disclose specific details but suffice to say, the broadcast Thursday night didn't meet my personal expectation of broadcast excellence. Since it didn't--and it didn't on a public stage, it also attracted harsh criticism throughout social media--things I haven't and will not read were written (because people have told me so) and okay, fine--that's the nature of the beast, right? The important thing is, lessons were learned and procedures and plans are either in place or will be developed to prevent the same results moving forward.

If I react to life, I'll eat. That pattern is deeply ingrained. In that reactive pattern, life happens, feelings are felt, food is consumed, those particular feelings take a hike for a little while replaced with more negative feelings created by the reactions--like a shampoo bottle instructions, rinse and repeat, right?

If I act on life, I have a dramatically increased chance of making it through without stuffing the emotions with excess food. Two important things are proven and learned in this process of "acting instead of reacting:" Number one, there are options. And number two, feelings change and pass. If I'm acting instead of reacting, and in that process, actually feeling the feelings and working them through, then they pass with a measure of understanding and compassion instead of simply being filed away for future reference.   

I've made my morning routine of prayer, meditation, and positive visualizations very important, I've stayed in contact with good support, I've kept the boundaries of my food plan in place--and all the while, I've been sorting through how I feel about it all. Those are the actions helping keep me well. Instead of the feelings being set aside, the deeply ingrained and natural-to-me reactions have been set aside. This acting instead of reacting thing interrupts the pattern.
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After a long Friday that started at 6am and ended at 6pm, including two location broadcasts, I made my way to mom's place for a good visit. Mom broke a tooth and we're waiting for an appointment with the dentist to get her fixed up--in the meantime, her nurses are helping her manage the pain its created. Otherwise, she was in good spirits. It was a really nice visit.

After the visit, I headed home for a scheduled mentoring/coaching session with a one on one client of mine followed by dinner out with my girlfriend, Kristin. Kristin is a therapist--not my therapist, but a therapist by profession. Although, she has been known to ask me some compelling questions! We'll call those things food for thought--better than food for food, right? Anyway-- we enjoyed a good on-plan dinner before calling it a night. I was exhausted and dropping in bed early for some good rest was just what I needed. 

By the way-- for friends and family who are like, what girlfriend?--Wait, when did this happen? Please do not take it personally because I haven't sought your advice and counsel. I've learned the hard way to keep certain elements of my life largely private. It's not about hiding it, when it comes to girlfriend issues, for me, it's simply about living and learning--and experiencing things without judgment, counsel, advice, or anything that interrupts or influences my path. Of course, this is the opposite approach from where my daily practice and recovery is centered. My daughters, both of them, bottom line it for me-- "Dad, be careful and be happy, that's what matters."

Thank you for reading and your continued support,
Practice, peace, and calm,
Sean

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