I had a long chat with a woman today who reminds me so much of my former self: lots of potential but too insecure to recognize her dreams, much less pursue them.
Perhaps the most important lesson my former career as a nutritionist/nutrition therapist and personal experience with weight and body image issues taught me is this: Failure to follow our dreams, to live largely and with gusto, makes way for weight, body image and food issues. And fixating on what we perceive as our primary issue (say, added pounds) will keep us from those dreams like a pack of guard-dog hyenas.
If we focus on the symptoms (those pounds) rather than the culprit (failure to pursue your passions), our symptoms will expand until they swallow us and our emotional well-being whole. Meanwhile, our dreams will slip away until we either forget we had them or keep us from recognizing them in the first place.
We’re not afraid of being large (or other negative adjectives), we’re afraid living large. God forbid we don’t succeed, right? Please tell that inner-naysayer to shove it; bumpy roads lead to success.
And how do these lessons relate to suspense, you ask? (Thanks for asking! Brings me to my next point…;)) We don’t simply want to read and write page-turner novels, we want to live them. Who wants a life in which we do not look forward to the next day while savoring the current one? In which challenges are simply obstacles worth surpassing and learning from–so we can get to all the saucy, thrilling good stuff? ;) Since the day I claimed writing as my career, I wake up eager for what the day will bring. Heck, I daydream about it before I fall asleep at night. And guess what—food/body/weight “issues” have long since fallen to the wayside. The same has happened time and time again to friends and former clients.
I’m not suggesting that pursuing your dreams cause you to eat more fruits and veggies, swap pastries for whole grains or associate food with gratitude, rather than guilt. Nor will it make you instantly happier with you and your body, precisely as they are. But doing so can ease the process.
Not convinced? Try it. Before each meal, jot some notes down on your laptop or journal about your dreams. Complete the following: “If I had a magic wand I would…” (Sorry, ‘alter my appearance/weight/metabolism,’ is not an option.) Then plot some baby steps to help get you there.
As readers and writers, i.e., lovers of words, I suspect that Julia Cameron’s guidelines in the “Artist’s Way” will serve you wonders. Cameron suggests free-writing several pages each morning—free of self-judgment, whatever comes to mind. If you have no clue as to your personal obstacles, wishes and dreams or other issues you’re failing to face, they will show up in those pages. I’d put money—okay, granola bars—on it.
We love mysterious, suspenseful, thrilling stories…the way they captivate us, make our day’s stresses seem, for the moment, obsolete… (See more on this in my previous post, Thrill Therapy) Well, use your imagination. Your life is a story, of your own creation. Where is it heading? Who is the heroine? Most importantly, what does she most desire? If you’re so bold as to post your responses here, I promise to cheer you on wildly.
If you’ve already learned these lessons (hooray!), I’d love to hear your story.