Screwing Up Is Sacred
Five FEEL GOOD Ideas from Me!
1. Screwing up is SACRED.
This weekend I was at a spiritual retreat and was reminded of the great sacredness of humor. We had a meditation circle and many of us offered songs. I began to sing one of my favorite spirit songs solo to the group. As I began, the first line came out wrong. The dark, candlelit room of 30 people, who were previously in a deep, extremely reverent stillness, descended into a raucous burst of laughter that seemed to last for 5 min. At first I I felt a burst of shame for screwing up, but quickly realized this laughter was, as Anne Lamott says, “holy carbonation”.
When you were born you cried
And the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice!
(In divine error, I sang that first line,
“When you were born, they cried…”–cue 30 people laughing OUT LOUD)
Later in the night we strode out of the meditation hall for some fresh air and were greeted by intense winter fog. That night, the shaman mentioned that fog is often a sign that the spirits are near—-and that resonated deeply because of some of my own life experiences.
A few hours later we went outside again and the fog has turned every branch and leaf into a magical crystalline bedazzlement! Hoar frost!
AKA whore frost. There were many whore frost jokes to follow (…well it does get around- to an awful lot of branches!).
I used to worry that the Bevis + Butthead cortex in my brain was a bad thing but I now know it’s the best thing. Have you screwed up lately? I hope it was an opportunity for holy carbonation!
2. SLOW YOUR ROLL. This quote from Jason Sweig made me realize how often I hear somebody’s decision about something and I automatically think why they shouldn’t do THAT (whatever they have decided to do) and begin to share my thoughts about it without ever asking them a thing. I just did it this weekend! Shoot!
“Never try to get other people to change their minds without first trying to understand why they think the way they do. Never do that without being open to the possibility that the mind that might need to change the most could be your own.” ~ Jason Sweig, columnist Wall Street Journal
I intend to stay curious in 2023 and ask more questions before I open my mouth. Pray for me!
3. Commit to Being Alone with Yourself in 2023. Sabbath, Sabbatical or a 9 day “Dieta” with a shaman in the Amazon Jungle (like I did) — however you decide to take a “break” from life, your phone and your responsibilities, doesn’t matter but taking the time is PRECIOUS + IMPORTANT.
I invite you to mark a few days on you 2023 calendar now. Something happens after a few hours alone in stillness (or a few days). Our inner voice comes back online (or we can now HEAR that voice) and clarity rises.
I have so much resistance to silence and alone time. My comfort zone is doing, reading, creating, learning, conversing. But looking back over the year I feel those 9 days I took to be silent helped more than anything.
a bit from my Amazon journal…
“Here everything hidden becomes visible again and a conversation is opened with masterful and mythical beings who encourage me to look my life straight in the eye to see what’s real.
To live with grace, she says, I must first accept things as they are.
A pair of ducks splash into the pond with a chaotic shuddering slap. Parrots chatter endlessly to eachother in treetops so high I can’t seem to ever catch a glimpse. Countless unknown/unseen beings croak, cluck, whistle, hoot, click, groan and laugh in 10,000 alien voices. I would join them if I wasn’t so self-conscious.“
~My Jungle diary, Amazon (Iquitos) 2022
4. Like me, Anne Lamott struggles with food addiction. I loved what she wrote on facebook the other day. Feel free to skip ahead to No. 5 if this isn’t you!
“Here is a slightly modified version of the anti-diet piece I publish every year just before New Year’s Day. These last few years have been especially hard because of Covid—the isolation, baking, the comfort food. But a diet is never the answer. Ever. I actually stopped eating sugar a year ago because I have a lifelong obsession and compulsive scary behavior when it comes to sweets, but that is a little different. It’s been relatively easy. I eat a lot of fruit most days and don’t miss hiding in my room or car with one pound bags of so-called Fun Sized chocolates. We need – I need – to have the same little talk we have every year at this time: I know you might be starting a New Year’s diet. I used to start diets, too. I hated to mention this to my then-therapist. She would say cheerfully, “Oh, that’s great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?”
I got rid of her. No one talks to me that way.
Well, okay, maybe it was 10 years later, after she had helped lead me back home, to myself, to radical self-care, to friendship with my own heart and body, to a glade that had always existed deep inside me, to mostly healthy eating, but that I’d avoided all those years by over-achieving, dieting, binging, people-pleasing and so on.
Now when I decide to go on a diet, I say it to myself: “Great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?” Here is what’s true: Diets make you fat, 95 percent of the time. We gain it back, plus five pounds. We lose it, it finds us again and brings a few friends.
I may have mentioned several hundred times that I have had the tiniest, tiniest struggle with food and body image for the last – well, lifetime. Hardly worth mentioning. It is a long story, having to do with childhood injuries to my sense of self, terrible anxiety, and my parents weirdness around food and inability to nurture my soul. So starving and chastising myself cannot possibly heal this.
I hate to say it, but only profound self-love will work, union with that scared breath-holding self, and not a diet that forbids apples or avocado. Horribly, but as usual, only kindness and grace , which is spiritual WD-40, can save us.
Can you put the scale away for a week? Okay, then how about four days? I have been addicted to the scale, too, which is like needing Marjorie Taylor Greene to weigh in every morning on my value as a human being.
Can you put away your tight pants, that don’t actually hurt you? Wear forgiving pants! The world is too hard as it is, without letting your pants have an opinion on how you are doing. I struggle with enough esteem issues without letting my jeans get in on the act with random thoughts about my butt.
By the same token, it feels great to be healthy. Some of you need to be under a doctor’s care. None of you need to join Jenny Craig. It won’t work. You will lose tons of weight quickly, and gain it all back, plus five, at best.
Some of you might want to get outside and walk for half an hour a day. I love walking, so that is not a problem for me, but I have a serious problem with sugar: If I start eating it, I sometimes can’t stop. I don’t have an off switch, any more than I do with alcohol. Given a choice, I will eat Raisinets until the cows come home, and then those cows will be tense, and bitter, because I will have gotten lipstick on the straps of their feed bags.
But you crave what you eat, so if I go for three or four days with very little sugar, the craving is gone. That is not dieting. If you are allergic to peanuts, don’t eat peanuts. Have an apple! Have some avocado.
It’s really okay, though, to have (or pray for) an awakening around your body. It’s okay to stop hitting the snooze button, and to pay attention to what makes you feel great about yourself, one meal at a time. Unfortunately, it’s yet another inside job. If you are not okay with yourself at 185 pounds, you will not be okay at 150, or even 135. The self-respect and peace of mind you long for is not out there. It’s within. I hate that. I resent that more than I can say. But it’s true.
Maybe you do (or don’t) eat a bit less, and exercise a bit, and make sure to wear pants that do not hurt our thighs or our feelings. Doing a three-minute meditation every day will change your life. Naps are nice.
I’ll leave you with this: I’ve helped some of the sturdier women at my church get healthy, by suggesting they prepare each meal as if they had asked our beloved pastor to lunch or dinner. They wouldn’t say, “Here Pastor, let’s eat standing up in the kitchen. This tube of barbecue Pringles is all for you. I have my own,” and then stand there gobbling from their own tubular container. No, they’d get out pretty dishes, and arrange wonderful foods on the plates, and set plates at the table, plates filled with love, pride and connection. That’s what we have longed for, our whole lives, and get to create. Wow!
Join me in not starting a diet this year. And God bless you all real good. Cheers!
From me: I have found a lot of wisdom at Bright Line Eating (BLE) and I do believe it is the love of my fellow compulsive overeaters (and my sponsor Judy) that help me the most. If you are curious about BLE, her book is a great place to start.
5. Tenacious Vulnerability is a quality worth cultivating. How do we do this? We practice opening our hearts each time we reflexively want to shutter them. For example, when I am confronted by my partner for doing something (or acting in a way) that is unhelpful….I can either get defensive or I can open my heart and admit I’m wrong. Or I can be honest about how I am feeling rather than pretending I’m fine if I’m not. Taking risks with the heart when you feel relatively safe is good medicine!
5. If it’s not a man, it’s a martini, if it’s not a martini, it’s Mastercard, if it’s not Mastercard it’s a muffin….
-Liz Gilbert on the four ways we find our FEEL GOOD by tapping into our addiction. But those addictions take us to a not such a good place in the end. Liz finds that writing is a natural way to FEEL GOOD and to silence her ego/mind. I agree! So is painting and dancing! In this podcast she covers it all and its excellent!
If 2023 is the year you’d love to complete writing your first book, please check out our course – we begin next Tuesday on the 11th of January! Its not too late to join us!
I find that writing, painting, singing and all creative acts set me free (temporarily) from addiction and overthinking. That is freedom!
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