My Health Log:
Aug -Oct 2003 (newcomers, read this FIRST!)
Oct- Dec 2003
January 1st 2004. As I watched them take Dick Clark from his cryochamber to
officiate the dropping of THE BALL, I was once again reminded of the slippery
nature of time.
When I was a younger man, I always
thought that by the time I reached my forties I would have MADE SOMETHING of
I turn 44 this year. What do I
have to show for it? Well, let's see. I'm in better physical and
psychological shape than I've been in years, and I think that my career is
accelerating. I have several published books and an international reputation as
one of the authorities in my field. True, nobody in my home town of
Knoxville gives a crap about who I am -- this doesn't really bother me, since
this is because the only artform recognized in East Tennessee is UT
football. I seem to be digging myself out of my business debt, at last.
So why do I feel that time, despite what Mick Jagger tells me, is definitely NOT
on my side?
it's the realization that I know that I'll never really
grow up. Even when my ever-lengthening hair
(remember the famous HAIR PROJECT?) is long and silver,
and I look like Dumbledore, I'll still be frozen -- like
Dick Clark in his cryochamber -- somewhere in my twenties
inside. Perhaps this is sad; perhaps endearing.
I think my wife finds it frustrating. Whatever it
is, I'm powerless to change it. Adulthood, whatever
that means, eludes me. I simply cannot take life
seriously. I want to have fun; I want to avoid
unnecessary stress; I want to dance, yell, laugh, read
comics, live my dreams. And I see no reason why I
There's a great story by Robert
Heinlein entitled The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag.
In it, one of the characters tells her husband that as a child, she thought that
there was something you were told when you grew up that made it impossible to
ever be happy again. She dreaded the day that the adults would take her
aside and tell her this awful SOMETHING. Fortunately, she never found out
what this SOMETHING was.
I hope I never find out either.
Still, I worry. I'm going to
be 44, and I'm an entertainer. I'm at the height of my skills, I can bring
people to their feet, make a room fall silent with amazement; make them laugh,
cry, play them like an instrument. But, I'm getting old.
I flick over to Leno and about fall out of my chair. There's the
ELECTRIFYING Tom Jones, whom I remember from my childhood, a tremendous showman
and singer, known for such songs as It's Not Unusual and She's a Lady.
Coincidentally, he was one of my mom's favorite singers. So here is is,
and he has to be pushing 70, moving like a teenager, singing a powerful, amazing
version of Burning Down the House that put the original to shame.
Great God, what a voice! What moves! Yes, lads and lassies, this old
man showed the youngsters how to rock and roll!
Heh. 44. I'm still a
January 7th 2004.
Buddha, that great teacher
and enlightened being, told a story about a dog who suffered from a terrible
case of mange. The dog was in misery, scratching at himself constantly.
Buddha called his bhikhus (a Pali word meaning monks) to him and said,
"Watch, my friends."
The dog moved about from place to
place, first lying in a field, then on a rock, then rolling on some sand, then
in the brush, then onward to a patch of gravel. Buddha turned to his bhikhus and said, "Do you see what he's doing, my bhikhus? Do you see
what he's doing? He's trying to find a place where the itch is not."
Just let that sink in for a few
moments. It's the sort of revelation that can change your life, if you let
For those who need an explanation,
the dog thought that the itch came from outside himself, and that he could
escape it by moving to a place where the itch wasn't. Poor dog, he didn't
realize that he took the itch with him everywhere he went.
Poor dog. Poor stupid dog.
We laugh at that dog, because we're smarter than that, aren't we?
- I had a
friend once, who would have a job for about two months
before he ran into trouble. You see, he liked to
gossip. Once his gossip got back to him --as
it always does-- he'd lie and backtrack to tray and
cover himself. Conflict ensued; he had to resign
and go somewhere else and start again. He always
blamed it on the "dysfunctional" people with whom he
worked. He repeated this pattern for years; sometimes
staying with a place for a few weeks, sometimes a year
or so. He moved to a lot of different places; many
jobs, many cities. And still he itched.
I used to work in the engineering
field. I was miserable because I didn't do well with hyper
So I would move from office to office -- "Job shopping" it's called, temp work.
I wouldn't stay anywhere long enough to become irritated. Or to make
friends. No attachments. In my life I've been many things: artist,
performer, writer, harmonica player, palm reader, student of physics and
philosophy. I've been restless, bored, dissatisfied, unable to find the
"one thing" that will make me happy.
- Once a
young chap came to me with a problem. He had
fallen in love with a young woman who was addicted to
heroin. She worked as a stripper and prostitute.
He believed that it was her "manager" -- read "pimp"
-- that kept her from being the angelic creature he
imagined her to be. He was going to take her to
Denver with him so they could start anew. He
thought that the cure for their particular strain of
mange could be found in Denver.
God, I hope they found it. But
I doubt it.
Like Buddha's dog, we look outside
ourselves for the source of our unhappiness, refusing to see that we carry the
source with us. But ultimately, we are the cause of and the solution to
all of our problems. Not our job. Not our spouse. Not food.
Not genetics. Not God. Not a bad roll of Fate's dice. Us.
You and Me. Sometimes the sheer weight of that responsibility makes me
want to scream with terror. Sometimes it makes me giddy with a sense of
raw power. I can shape myself into anything -- ANYTHING -- I want.
- There's no such thing as a pain-free
life. Buddha realized that. It's the first Noble Truth, often
oversimplified as "Life is suffering." If we live, we experience pain.
There is no avoiding it. If we feel dissatisfied, restless, unhappy,
moody, angry, depressed, this is all part of being alive. We should know
this and embrace these feelings. Go into them; examine them, determine
their source. Don't blame them on others. All my feelings originate
with me, just as yours originate with you. If I were the last person on
the planet, left utterly alone, I would still experience these feelings.
The difference would be that there would be nobody else on whom to blame, and I
would finally realize that, all along, I'm mad at myself. Way am I mad?
For not being perfect! For daring to fail.
Life is stressful, there's no
denying it. Buddha worked out the cause of stress, by the way, as well as
the source, the means to identify the source (which he formulated into the Four
Noble Truths) and the means to eliminate the source, which he called the
Eightfold Path, a very
realistic, workable and simple formula for happiness. Using food to deal
with the pain and stress of life is unrealistic though; just another futile
escape attempt, like the mangy dog trying to find a spot where the itching
Pain is unavoidable, but suffering
is a matter of choice. I've learned much from that dog. Poor old
fellow, dead these 3000 years, I hope he's in dog Heaven, his belly eternally
tickled by Cherubim, or perhaps reincarnated as an enlightened being who knows
the Source of his Itch and What to Do About It.
January 9th 2004. I've been hovering around the weight of 258 pounds since my
mother died. As I finish processing -- or DIGESTING, if you will -- the
death of my mother, I find myself ready to enter another round of reduction.
It's a sort of wanderlust; like there's another leg of a journey waiting for me.
All my belts are on the last notch and my jeans are baggy.
- I had a
realization the other day. I've been angry for a
long time. I'm not sure how long, but I realized
that I've been angry all the time, at everything and
everybody, for a long time. I mentioned this to a
couple of people who knew me well and they said, "Yeah,
you are mad all the time." I think that when
my mom died I became angrier. I know I was mad at
her for years because she smoked, and that this habit
finally killed her. I remember as a kid I hated it
that my mom smoked. It made me sick, too. I
have asthma and other respiratory problems because of her
I've always known that I've had a
great deal of anger. Several years ago, when I decided to do something
about it, I bought a notebook and entitled it MY ANGER LOG. My theory was that if I could get it out of me and onto
paper, I could rationalize it.
I began writing everything down in
it that made me mad. I began with my earliest memories of wrongdoings.
Soon, I filled the notebook up. Then another. A third. This
led me to consider the relationship between anger, guilt and shame. It
soon became obvious that I would spend the rest of my life filling notebooks
with my anger. The exercise was pointless. It was sufficient to
recognize that the anger was there, and that there was a lot of it. There
didn't see to be anything I could do about it. I went into therapy for
years, made some progress.
said that anger is like a hot coal that you hold with the intention of throwing
it at someone. Sometimes I wish Buddha would just shut up and go back next
to the cash register at the Chinese Buffet -- but he's right. He's always
But this latest bout of anger was
pretty bad. I was lashing out at the world. However, as soon as I
realized I was mad, I went into it, looked at it for a while, and the anger went
away, like a mist dissipating. Anger does that -- it's another Buddhist
thing. Anger doesn't last long when you look at it without judging
After the anger left, I thought
about the things that made me mad and they didn't make me angry any more.
It was amazing. I thought about the people in my past who had wronged me
-- or who I THOUGHT had wronged me -- and instead of the usual Count-of-Monte-Christo
revenge thoughts, I felt compassion.
So what led to this
release? I cannot say. The experience was deep; beyond the ability
to describe. Perhaps it's the result of everything I've done so far.
I've done a lot of spiritual work in the past year in order to deal with the
emotional underpinning of weight issues, and anger is certainly a key lynchpin
in emotional eating. I've dealt with my need for acceptance, grief, shame,
self-doubt, guilt. Perhaps in my case anger is the next tin soldier to
knock aside in order to go to the next level. Am I ready to take the ochre
robe and join a Buddhist Ashram? The fantasy pic to the right convinces me
that perhaps I am not ...
Maintaining rage requires a heck of
a lot of energy. I want to make it to 250 pounds fairly soon.
That's only eight pounds away. I can do that. With anger out of my
way I think I'll have the energy.
January 10th 2004. Weight gain and reduction isn't about food. It bears
repeating again and again. It isn't about dieting, will power, secret
combinations of foods, fad programs like Atkins or the LA Weight Loss Program --
it's all about what goes on inside myself. Food is nourishment; it can
nourish both body and soul. There's nothing wrong with this, but when it
becomes the soul's PRIMARY means of nourishment, there's definitely a problem.
When you see
an overweight person, you see someone in pain. The
degree of pain is directly proportional to the amount of
weight he or she is carrying. The weight is a
manifestation of the person's attempt to self-medicate the
pain with food. When I was a kid in school, fat kids
were rare. For a long time, it was just me, then in
the sixth grade there was another one. We were singled
out, separated from the herd. Not so anymore; about
half of the kids I saw playing in a second grade playground
were overweight to some degree. Soon, lean
people may be the minority!
Look out; we may eat you.
But you have to
wonder, is it any healthier (at least in a psychological
sense) to be one of those folks who live at the gym, pumping
iron until their arms look like Kentucky hams, or one of
those those jogging people who run until they become so
emaciated that you can see the entire circulatory system
stitched on their bodies like knitting yarn? Do they
flee childhood memories of being taunted as the fat kid?
Perhaps a father or mother teased them about their weight?
I suspect there's something like that, and as they torture
their bodies a mantra plays over and over in their minds,
"Never again, never again!"
grim. But who am I to judge? Maybe they've found
their Bliss. However ...
- A couple
of years ago, I did a show for Rush Fitness Center.
Keep that name in mind if you plan to join a health club,
and don't join this one. I don't care if they try to
sue me for this or not, because all I'm telling is the
truth, and I have this show on videotape to back me up.
Anyway, this group of physical fitness people were the
biggest bunch of jerks you could imagine. Loud,
rude, and obnoxious -- ESPECIALLY the owner, who made it a
personal point to insult me in a deprecating way after the
show. At one point in my act I have two chaps come
to the stage and blindfold me. During this
performance, as soon as I can't see, one of the guys
pushes me as hard as he can in the ribs with his elbow.
Keep in mind this is a bodybuilder, and this is AFTER I'm
blindfolded and can't see. It hurt for about two
fit, maybe. Emotionally healthy ... you decide.
I guess what
I'm trying to say is that we have to love the body, mind and
spirit as a whole and not obsess about any single leg of the
triangle. The body is the most visible and easiest to
see, of course, so it's the one component we're most likely
to fall in love with. But it's also the least
January 14th 2004. I can record another weight loss. This morning I was at 256
pounds. This is great! Great for several reasons:
- I haven't
been in the mid-250's since my early 30's.
- I promised
myself a major reward when I hit 250 pounds (If you read
the first archive, you'll recall my reward at 225 pounds
will be either a new Armani suit or Three Asian Hookers).
weight loss is a sign that my emotional state is
improving. I can't help but think that the tumbling
of the anger-wall within me led to this breaking of the
weight plateau I've been stuck at since my mother's death.
don't know what my reward will be when I hit the 250 pound
mark ... I may reward myself with Ballroom dance lessons.
At any rate, each major weight loss results in a picture for
this site, so expect one shortly. You can also see how
the GREAT HAIR PROJECT is coming along. I should have
a ponytail by spring.
January 17th 2004.
pounds, though it's late in the day and I'm disheveled and bloated from eating
chili for dinner. So it's me at my least flattering, who gives a
Really time for some new jeans;
those are becoming comically saggy. And the hair is ALMOST ponytail
length; I can sort of make a tiny little ponytail if I really try.
As I find myself deeper and deeper
into my Buddhism studies, I realize how unimportant my original motives for
weight reduction were. Now I've gained greater control over my emotions,
and deeper understanding of my drives and motivations. I've also lost
almost all interest in my appetites -- such as sex, hunger, power, ambition --
which sort of seems weird to my friends. I study these drives like a
scientist studies a new form of lizard: analytically and with a detached
interest. But with no real investment in them. They have no hold
over me. They do not control me.
- Somewhere near the beginning of this
journal I wrote a long epistle about having given up on love. I wrote this
out of a pain arising from a lifetime of seeking something I have never had:
unconditional and uncomplicated love. Do I still crave love? No, not
really. Somewhere in my evolution, I've become detached from the need of
another's love, approval, support or permission in order to feel whole.
Why? Is it because that I know
that I AM whole; complete and self-sufficient? I have the answers to my
problems -- after all, I am the cause of them all. I should know how to
end them. I began them. All I have to do is stop the behaviors that
perpetuate the destructiveness.
Yesterday I had an angry thought.
I replaced it with a kind one. Today I almost said an angry word.
Instead I said nothing. For lunch I almost ate an entire pizza.
Instead, I ate a single slice with a salad.
One decision at a time, one word,
one thought, one moment. A single second of perfection, not tomorrow, not
next week, but now -- RIGHT NOW -- in the present.
Now and forever, world without end,
January 19th 2004. I love it when walls tumble, be it a wall of
anger, self-doubt; personal walls of hells built through
pain and negative experience -- or those annoying weight
plateaus we hit every now and again.
that's what must have happened to me, because this morning I
hit the scales at 254 pounds, another 2 pound reduction!
Not a bad way
to begin the week. It's occurred to me that with my
family genetics, I'm going to be around a long, long time,
so the maintenance of my bod is probably fairly important.
January 21st 2004. While cleaning out my closet, I found a silk
shirt that I bought several years ago -- and I mean, like
ten years or so. Though it claimed to be X-large, I
couldn't even get it to stretch across my chest to button
it. My wife wanted me to return it. I was so
angry at buying it without trying it on first, that I tossed
it into my closet and forgot about it.
I could button it. It was a little snug, but I could
almost wear it.
So what if
it's a little out of style. So am I. Next
spring, I'll wear the damned thing!
January 28th 2004. I don't watch the news or read newspapers.
I'm sort of famous for this, and every so often someone
takes me to task, usually with the incredibly naive
question, 'How do you know what's going on in the world?"
As though nobody TELLS me what's going on, like I live in a
cave or on Gilligan's Island ... my usual response is that I
walk outside, look around, and if the world is still here,
that's all that I need to know.
fact is that I do occasionally hear the news, and I do read
a newspaper now and again if there's nothing better to do.
And do you know what? The news is always the same.
There's always a war going on somewhere, politicians are
calling each other names, people are killing each other,
other people die in alphabetical order. Atrocities are
committed, ludicrous wastes of time are focused upon while
truly important issues are ignored. I mean, c'mon --
I've seen UT football take the front page of the newspaper
while a homeless man was found killed in a parking lot.
He was on page B4, by the way. His name was Henry
Evans. UT won the game though.
"news," it's the same old crap. If something new
happens, like a nuke lands in my backyard, I'm sure that
someone will wake me up and tell me about it. In the
meantime, I'll continue to ignore the media. I have no
use for them. I've never trusted them, I know for a
fact that they often lie, and remember, all television
content -- ALL of it -- exists to sell ads. And to
make you sit on the couch and get fat.
If you want
to know what's going on in the world, go out and make a
difference. DO SOMETHING.
January 29th 2004. After some thought, I believe I'll tell you
about the time I almost committed murder, And why I
decided not to. I'm serious -- I was on my way to kill
another human being. Only a tiny sliver of reason
prevented me from following through.
I'll tell you
about it tomorrow.
January 30th 2004. In 1993 or so, I got a call from my son.
He was thirteen and living with my ex-wife and her then
husband, a certified psychopath. My son was
calling from a neighbor's house, where he fled after being
threatened by said psychopath. Threatened with a gun,
it turned out.
the intent to murder comes in. I decided that I'd had
enough of this sick bastard's existence on the planet.
I'm driving to pick up my son, but first I have a bit of
business to take care of. He hurt me in a place
that was deep and painful; I wanted to cause him as much
pain as possible in return. In the back seat of my car was a
golf club, with which I planned to beat the miscreant to
death. I don't do guns; I prefer blades and blunt
instruments. I knew HE had a shotgun, but I was
prepared for that.
I had a plan,
you see. I was going to throw a brick through the
front window, run to the door and wait. As soon as he
discharged both barrels of the gun through the window (being
the drunken redneck that he was) I would rush in the door
and administer a surgically-precise beating that would
reduce him to something resembling a bag full of broken
I was going
to kill him; of this I was certain.
Do you see
the scary thing here? I had a plan. This
wasn't a crime of passion; it was cold-blooded,
So why is he
still alive and I'm not in prison (though I'm pretty sure
that under the circumstances I wouldn't have done much
time)? It's hard to put into words, but there was this
little voice of sanity in me that talked me out of it.
It told me to just pick up my son and go home. The
voice told me that it wasn't worth it. The voice told
me that I could administer a severe beating at a future
date, if I still wanted to, after the killing rage subsided.
So that night
I didn't kill. But damn, it was close.
I'm a Buddhist. I don't have the rage anymore, and
I've foresworn the violent path. But if I see
him again, well ...
February 1st 2004. I went to my hairdresser's for a
consultation. My hair's at an awkward length, almost
ponytail but not quite, hard to control because it's so
curly. Turns out my old hairdresser was there for a visit.
Both of them were in my hair, arguing about what product was
best to control it, pushing it back, wetting it, cracking me
up. The owner comes in, says. "What is this? Queer Eye for
the Psychic Guy?"
Yeah, I lost it.
February 4th 2004. One thing that really interests me is how
people spend their time. I think that how a person
spends his or her time defines the focus of the person's
So what does it
say when we measure out our lives in the pursuit of trivial
matters like television, petty arguments about nothing,
useless information, mean-spirited anger, anything LESS than
splendid and uplifting beauty?
says in the I Ching that "The emperor rules
on his throne while the people complain." Things
haven't changed much. No matter who's in office, the
world's in pretty rough shape and nobody wants to do
anything about it but blame "the Emperor." Most people
seem to feel that they can't do anything about the world's
suffering, but this feeling of hopelessness is false.
Nearly everyone is suited to contribute to the advancement
Still at 254 (no
more, no less) and planning to go out of town this weekend
to a mountain cabin with the wife for three days and nights
to do nothing more strenuous than laying around in a hot
tub. We do this every year around Valentine's Day.
We're doing it early this year for some reason that I can't
remember. I plan to do some serious t'inkin' about
philosophical stuff while floating around in that hot tub
like Shamu and I'll share these insights when I get back.
February 5th 2004. A sleepless night.
oft-repeated quote from Nietzsche is "Beware looking long
into the Abyss, for the Abyss also looks into you." I
think that the reason this phrase is so compelling is that
the Abyss represents so many things: Mystery. Night.
The unknown. The soul.
Once when I
was about three of four, I stepped on a jagged piece of
broken bottle. It went completely through my foot. My
grandfather, a tough old mountain man, bandaged my foot
while I wailed. He asked me, in a rough/gentle way, "What
are you carrying on about?"
"It hurts!" I remember yelling.
"So?" He said. "Pain is a small thing. Life is a big thing.
You ain't dead yet. Remember that."
Time is an Abyss too; a bottomless one. It swallows
your life. Your experiences, your youth, Your hopes
and dreams, your loved ones drop into it and are whisked
from sight like withered leaves. Twenty-two years
after my grandfather bandaged my foot (shortly thereafter he
dropped into his own Abyss of cancer and painkillers), with
a shattered marriage, homeless, nothing but a bottle of
Mescal and four grams of coke to my name, I was camped out
on the edge of the Abyss, and my campfire had long gone to
ashes. My heart racing so fast that I knew that one more
drink, and one more line and I would tumble over the edge
and never stop falling, the memory of those words kept me
from taking the dive.
Grandfather, though born and bred a Baptist, had the insight
of a Buddhist when he intuited the mystery of life down to a
simple paradigm. "You're going to hurt, but Life is bigger
the wind the leafless trees dance a Pagan dance to their
Goddess Moon. It is a cold winter. Yesterday, a
friend of mine stood on the lip of the Abyss and almost dove
headlong into It. Suicide is a dark, dark Abyss.
When you look into that particular Abyss, the face you see
looking back is your own, and it takes rare courage to face
the truth that you see there. He stood on the lip, but
he turned and walked away. I bow my head to his
Those of you
who believe in such things, think well of him.
Life is an
Abyss too, and not every Abyss is a dark one.
February 9th 2004. There are some concepts in Buddhism I really
find useful. Let's not even consider the ideas of
compassion and empathy toward all living creatures.
Hell, we KNOW what we need to do to be good. We don't
need to be told how to be good, decent human beings.
Nobody reading these sentences need The Ten Commandments, or
The Golden Rule, or the Eightfold Path, or ANYBODY's
teachings to know that it isn't right to steal, lie, cheat,
kill, hurt. We know this. We don't have to cite
authority. All we have to do is observe that when we
do it, there are consequences, and these consequences are
never, never good ones.
And that is
the idea I find so useful in Buddhism -- Observation.
Constantly, we're reminded to be mindful. Observe, go
into it. Look at it. Don't judge, do not
evaluate. Just look at it and see for yourself.
And so it is
with the conditions that we see as problems, such as weight
issues. We see that we're overweight. These
extra pounds are a burden, we see through observation that
they damage our health; they distance us from our goals; as
we get older we feel our body deteriorate. But then
emotions get involved. We panic. When we look in
the mirror our eyes look out with an expression of
desperation, as though the person trapped within is begging
us to do something. Is it any wonder that so many
overweight people are willing to pay anything, are willing
to try anything (no matter how absurd) to be free of the
horror of obesity?
But what if
you stepped back and saw those surplus pounds, not as a
problem, not as a prison, but for what they really are --
surplus pounds? Examine them, go into them. No
judgments allowed. How did they get there? Well,
of course, through simple physics -- you took in more
calories than you burned. This is easily reversed; the
physics behind it is explained in one-syllable terms in Lean and Mean.
there are those pesky emotions. We have to observe
those too. Go into your feelings, learn from them.
I'll give you a clue: Hunger issues are almost always tied
up with shame and guilt. Loneliness can be seen hiding
under the sofa, but if you can look at yourself with honesty
and courage, and see that you really have nothing of which
to be ashamed -- or if you do, make amends and have done
with it -- this is a big first step.
And when you
eat, be aware WHY you eat. Are you really hungry -- do
you have a rumbly tummy, light headedness, a need for
physical nourishment -- or are you feeding something else?
Again, don't judge this observation, just observe it.
It's a funny
thing about observation. I've found that over time, as
you understand why you do the things that you do, you begin
to adjust yourself to a healthier way. You want to be
healthy. Your mind and body will cooperate if you let
mindful. That is essential!
February 11th 2004.
When I was five years old or
so, I remember watching the great Mystery Entertainers
on television -- magicians, mindreaders, psychics, wizards,
People Who Did Extraordinary Things -- MAGICKAL people.
I was, in a word, enthralled.
I knew that I
had found my path. I wanted to make others feel what I
was feeling: delight, wonderment, awe. A feeling that
the world was a magical, miraculous place.
I've been a
mystery entertainer for most of my life. I've
practiced, struggled to perfect my skills, learned to do
things with my hands, my mind, my body, my bodily FUNCTIONS
even, that are almost miraculous. I've shared these
abilities with the world, professionally, since around 1978
I'm going to be
44 this year. If I could travel back in time, and talk
to that wee lad sitting in front of that television,
watching The Magical Land of Alakazam, watching
Dunninger and Kreskin read the minds of incredulous
audiences, that little boy already planning to set the
world on fire with his own magic, What would I tell him?
Would I say to
him, "Look kid -- by the time you grow up the world won't
need magicians. They'll abandon magic for reason, for
prepackaged answers to life's riddles and dry, bottom-line
rationality. You won't inspire wonder. You won't
change lives. You'll be a momentary diversion at a
"And the problem
is, you're sensitive; you CARE about what people think.
You're not arrogant or self-centered enough to say 'screw 'em.'
People will say mean things, snide things; they'll blow you
off, they will treat your magic, your wonderful magic that
took you years to perfect, like a mildly-amusing joke.
Oh, you'll make money; your peers will recognize you, but
you will fail utterly at your primary goal. And this
failure will haunt you."
Would I go on to
say to that child, who dreams of inspiring the world to
believe in magic, "Go on and follow through with your
Plan B. Get your PhD, get a job teaching at a college.
You'll have a career, respect, a saucy co-ed now and again
to play with, and you can even have your beloved magic as a
hobby when you retire. That's the safe way.
Believe me, kid, it will hurt a whole lot less if you do
If I could
travel back in time, in a miraculous machine or even in
spirit, would I whisper all this to that child, that young
boy sitting in rapt attention, eyes aglow as he dreams of
following in the footsteps of the Great Mystery
February 12th 2004.
has always been a difficult month, emotionally speaking, for
me and my family. We all have a condition known as
Seasonal Disaffective Disorder, which means when there's
little sunlight, we curl up into a depressive state, become
gloomy and have little energy. I don't think it was a
coincidence that my father ended his life near the end of
the month of January. Realizing that this is a mood
condition that always passes, I don't give in to the
unrealistically negative thinking that arises, and I tend to
use the period of low energy to introspect and re-evaluate
an 11th Century Christian mystic, who was darned near being
a Buddhist (I wrote a little about him in Karmic Palmistry), said, "Not all suffering is
rewarded; only what is cheerfully consented to. A man hanged
on the gallows, suffering unwillingly, were better pleased
that it had been another. There is no reward for that. Other
sufferings the same. It is not the suffering that counts, it
is the virtue. I say, to him who suffers not for love
to suffer is suffering and is hard to bear. But one who
suffers for love suffers not and his suffering is fruitful
in God's sight."
That sounds a
whole lot like karma, to me. If you suffer, and
complain and gripe about it, sorry -- no merit for you.
But if you bear your suffering amiably, the karmic balance
amazed me how the principles of Buddhism resurface now and
again, in different paradigms, in different cultures.
The writings of David Hume, for example (the God of the
Secular Humanist movement, shudder, writhe) contains quite a
few Buddhist-like concepts, if you can wade through the
morass of intellectual pompousness that was de rigueur with the philosophers of his time. I've found that as
far as Hume is concerned, it's far better to get the
condensed version from a textbook. This latter
assertion brings sneers of contempt aimed in my direction
from people with Master's degrees in philosophy, usually
while they're serving me my French fries and Big Mac.
I know that the
last few entries have little to do with weight reduction,
but this is where my head is right now. Plus, I
gained three pounds while on vacation! Arrgh!
But it will soon be gone, as I suspect it's just the
sodium-laden seafood dishes in which I indulged.
February 13th 2004.
I don't know if you ever
thought about this, but exercise takes practice. It
takes a lot of patience to get the breathing right, for one
thing. At first, it feels like you're going to
suffocate. You can't quite get the inhale/exhale
patterns to coordinate with the movements. And some of
the forms of exercise, working with free weights or yoga, to
name a couple, take poise to do correctly. I practice
Burmese Kung-fu (also called Bando, which causes those of
little wit to say "I use that to fix mah car.") and it takes
a lot of practice to get the moves right, because like all
kung-fu, it requires mastery of the elusive inner force
known as c'hi. C'hi means "breath,' by the way, which
also translates as "spirit." So we know that breathing
is important, at any rate, and not just because if we don't
breathe, we die.
If we don't
breathe correctly, we don't feel well. Improper
breathing can affect our health.
Most of us
only breathe into the top part of our lungs. In order
to use the full potential of the lung's capacity, we have to
draw the breath deeply into the bottom of the lung.
This is accomplished through diaphragmatic breathing.
You do this by using the muscles of your belly, instead of
your chest, to pull the air into your lungs. It's
amazing how much more you can stretch your lungs this way.
If you've never done this before, it's a little
uncomfortable at first. You may even become
if you really want to impress yourself, draw that breath in,
hold it for a second, then let it out as you say "Hah!"
If you have a punching bag handy, deliver a punch THROUGH
the bag, letting your breath "drive" the punch. This
is very close to using c'hi to power a punch. But be careful
-- it's easy to injure yourself with a heavy bag.
If you do
this a lot, at some point you discover something very
powerful behind your breath, something that some schools
call the Dragon, that can make you a formidable warrior.
It really doesn't depend on size. The worse asswhuppin'
I ever got in a kung-fu class was from an 80 pound Chinese
can punch through a one-inch oak board using this technique.
The arch-skeptic James "Amazing" Randi says this is a trick,
that the "karate boards" are cut against the grain and baked
in an oven to make them brittle. Well, Amazing,
-- if that really is your name -- I invite you to supply
your own board, hold it yourself in your own hands about six
inches in front of your own hard head, and let me try to
punch through it.
It's all in
the technique, in how you breathe.
February 14th 2004.
day, and lovers are locked in passionate embrace, lonely
people curse their fate, unhappily married people scheme
where to hide the bodies ... I hope all my readers
(both of you) have someone (or at least something)
warm and cozy to cuddle up with. If not, there's
always Maizy down at Hazel's Hospitality House on Magnolia
Ave. She runs a special on Valentine's Day, I hear.
another huge weight reduction on the part of your humble
scribe. The three pounds I gained during my vacation
has gone away (sodium, as I suspected) and my inspiration
has returned after a period where I suppose I've been
reflecting on issues of mortality and loss. But I've
been increasing the intensity of my workouts on the Iron
Horse (my Airbike) and learning new Kung-fu forms,
stretching my limits, and increasing my stamina. So,
I'm either planning on becoming a mercenary or preparing to
drop more poundage.
Here's a poem I
wrote about February:
February is the
Gray and stubbly
It lies around
in a tattered white t-shirt
to even finish out a full calendar month.
I'm going to go
out in my woods to put seed in the bird feeders. Maybe
my doe will visit me with a message. Maybe an owl will
crap on me. Either way, it's karma, and it's all good.
breathing, so it's still good.
February 16th 2004.
website has a new look, to commemorate my impending
acceleration in reduction. I've been creeping along,
and now I'm going to really increase the burn. My Iron
Horse is screaming for mercy.
is not as dark and gloomy, and I suppose neither am I.
February 19th 2004.
I sit here sipping a cup of hot tea, I'm reminded how
comforting hot liquid is. What is it about it?
Does it remind us of cold nights inside of caves while the
wind howls outside? Perhaps childhood memories of
mother's milk? The warmth of the womb? I don't
know, but I take great pleasure from cradling a warm cup
between my palms and just inhaling the vapors, thinking
nothing, savoring the timelessness of the moment. Hot
tea (or milk, or coffee, or cocoa) isn't for thinking --
it's for stopping time for an ever-present NOW while you
catch your breath and remember what it was like before time
was a concern. Such power you hold in the palm in your
hand, and you never knew it ... The power to stop time
itself and reconnect with the primal force that gives
Hot liquids are a great appetite suppressant too.
Thought I'd let you know.
March 1st 2004.
very busy, on the road for weeks at a time, so my postings
may be far between. But let me remind everyone
(including myself) of Buddha's last words to his disciples,
and to the world:
Sabbe sankhara anicca, Appamadena sampadetha: "All the
constituents of existence are impermanent. By earnestness
work out your liberation."
can set you free if you let them. Buddha felt these
ideas so important they were his last.
March 13th 2004.
four years ago, my son came into the world. I sat in
the waiting room for six hours before the nurses remembered
to tell me that I was a father. I was there when he
was born, but had to leave immediately. There were
complications during the birth (nothing life threatening, my
wife had some problems with blood pressure) and they sent me
away as soon as the delivery was finished. The shift had
changed, it seemed, and no-one told the oncoming shift that
I was waiting to see my new son. Eventually someone
noticed me and asked me what I was waiting for. I told
them, and they let me in.
I held him
for the first time. I could hold him in one hand, he
was so small. And oh my God, how I loved him.
I loved him
before he was born. I'd feel him kicking me in the
back at night and hope that he was all right in there.
I was nineteen years old when he was born, just a baby
myself in many ways, but I knew I would take care of him.
He was perfect, strong and healthy.
I gave him
his first bottle, changed his first diaper.
I took him
with me everywhere I went. It was funny. When I
went out with my friends, I had a diaper bag and my son.
He was one of the boys.
pages turn. His mother and I parted ways; it didn't
matter -- as long as I could be with my son it was okay.
Flip, flip, flip go the pages, I age, he grows. Hockey and
girlfriends. High School. Rebellion.
Emotional highs and lows. I do the best that I can do
for him. Is it enough? I don't know, I hope so.
Where do the years go? I ask, along with everyone who
has ever lived.
remember much about my first marriage. I think I
buried a lot of it. But I remember every single moment
I've spent with my son. I remember going to the
playgrounds, and the unique way I taught him to walk.
He portrayed Ronald Reagan in his first grade's class Parade
of Presidents, to my Mom's horror. I remember helping
him learn to draw, and taking him to the toy store on one of
his birthdays and letting him buy anything he wanted
(cunning me -- I knew he'd go for the bigger, cheaper items
at that age!). And the moment I die, it won't be my
life that passes before my eyes but his, because his life
means far more to me than my own.
birthday, my boy, your dad loves you.
March 18th 2004.
upon a time I had a cat named Checkers. I've had cats
before and since, but Checkers was a special cat.
If you're an animal person, you know what I mean. Some
pets you especially bond with. There's a emotional
connection that goes to the soul. If you don't know
what I mean, I both pity you and envy you. I
pity you because this is the closest you will ever get to
pure love on this planet. I envy you because ... well,
in 1998, Checkers contracted a condition called Chronic
Renal Failure (CRF), which is always fatal. This
usually happens to very old cats. He was seven years
old, which is very young. Our vet, who was very good,
started him on a regiment of subcutaneous fluids. I'll
spare you the details, but basically you give the cat fluids
through a big IV needle under the skin at the back of the
neck. Since the kidneys don't work, the fluids flush
accumulated toxins from the blood. Most cats don't appear to
mind this, as their tolerance to pain is much higher than
ours. Checkers didn't mind it at all, except he hated
sitting still for it. He got fluids twice a day.
This only buys time, death is still inevitable. Not a
pleasant death either.
So I watched
Checkers closely, dreading the day when his condition would
get to the point when we couldn't do any more for him.
His story is on a tribute I wrote for him on the CRF website
here, if you want to read
it. I won't repeat it here. It's also in the
last chapter of my book Karmic Palmistry.
All I'll say
is that the seven months of Checker's illness almost
finished me. I blamed myself for letting him get sick;
I imagined all kinds of scenarios where I left chemicals out
and he got into them -- although this probably never
happened -- I tried to think of miraculous cures, I spent
every moment possible with him and developed near-telepathic
empathy with him. I was desperate to save him.
could do; the disease progressed.
happened in the final minutes of Checker's life: he had
gotten to the point where he was in pain, and death by
seizures was imminent. We rushed him to the vet for
euthanasia. There was nothing else to do for him.
I never told anybody this, but at that point I had literally
lost my mind. Checkers was my child, and I was
about to murder him. I was crying, this was a
given, but I swore that I was going to be brave.
I held him
when they gave him the shot that ended his life. The
vet and assistants cried, they loved him too. He had
been brave and cheerful through seven months of an illness
that usually kills a cat within weeks. I watched his
eyes go dead and I felt his life end. I forgot all
about being brave. Something in me ripped apart and I
screamed. I realized that I had sent something away
forever that I'd yearned for all my life and never received
from anyone, not my parents, my friends, lovers or any
human being: simple and unconditional love. I sent it
away, forever beyond my reach, had felt it -- HIM -- die in
my hands. By my hands.
Why do I tell
you this today? The day Checkers died, I stepped on
the scale and I weighed 250 pounds. At the time of his
death, I was working on weight reduction and had dropped
twenty pounds. After Checkers died and up to July 2003
(when I began this weight loss experiment), I gained
forty-eight pounds. But ladies and gentlemen of the
jury, can you find it your hearts to understand why it took
a forty-eight pound bandage to cover such a wound while it
recovered? Can you understand why it took almost five
years to heal?
I stepped on the scale and I weighed 250 pounds for the
first time since the day my best friend died five and a half
years ago. It all came back to me in a lightning flash
of memory, as sharp as stepping on a piece of broken coke
bottle. Weight loss is like traveling back in time; as
you peel the layers away the emotional issues you sought to
bury WILL surface. I've said it since the beginning of
this journal: weight loss isn't about food; it's about
emotions. When you see an overweight person -- or if
you are an over weight person -- before you formulate a
judgment or critical remark, ask yourself, "What wound is
buried under there?'
it's never about food. Can you not understand
I think I now
understand why the 250 pound milestone has been so tough to
break. I've been edging around it for months, always
approaching it but never quite reaching it. You'll
forgive me if I don't celebrate this milestone today.
I'll make a big deal out of the next one though, I promise.
Little Prince, I know you came back as someone magnificent.
Look me up sometime and let me know how you're doing.
I think of you every day.
I had a vision
that G-d wanted me to shave off my beard, so I did it.
the weight loss I wanted to see if I had a chin. It
was startling -- I look exactly like my dad did the last
time I saw him.
Took a poll
among my friends to see if they liked the old hairy me or
the new hairless me, and so far it's running about 50/50.
What will I decide to do? The poll won't decide one
way or another, my inner feelings will. I sorta like
it, except my chin feels cold all the time. I suppose
In other news,
I've had to punch two new notches in my "weight reduction"
belt lately. Amazing! I started the belt on the
very last notch and took it in, step by step, to the last
one. Then I punched a new slot because it was still a
perfectly good belt and I was too cheap to buy a new one.
Today I punched a new slot. I'll post a pic of this
Catch you later;
I'm going to put a bandana on my chin, it's freezing!
one point in Buddha's life he was asked by a chap, "If you'll tell me whether or
not the earth is eternal, or if we do or do not have a soul that survives death,
I'll follow your teachings."
In that inimitable way that the Buddha had, he replied, "You're like the man,
who, shot with a poisoned arrow, refused to have it extracted until he was told
who shot him, where the archer was from, what caste, what was the color of his
eyes, what color was his skin, etc. That man died. So will you before you find
answers to those questions. Nor will they liberate you from suffering."
Questioner: Fixed in
their pet beliefs
these different wranglers brawl
"Hold this, the truth is yours!"
"Reject this, you're lost!"
Thus they contend, and dub
opponents "dolts" and "fools,"
Which of the lot is right
When all as experts pose?
Lord Buddha: Well, if dissent denotes a "fool," or stupid "dolt,"
Then all are fools and dolts --
Since each has his own view.
wasted his time on questions that couldn't be answered, such
as if there is or isn't an Almighty God, or when did the
Universe come into creation. He was a practical man
who wanted practical answers to the basic problem of life:
Why do we suffer? Life is characterized with
suffering: birth, disease, aging, separation from the loved,
desire for the unattainable, longings, cravings, and
eventually death -- all these things make us suffer.
Due to these facts of existence, sometimes we feel despair,
anxiety and anguish, but most of the time we feel that life
is ultimately dissatisfying, that true, deep satisfaction is
always just beyond our reach. Buddha based his entire
teaching on human suffering, its cause and its solution.
The answer, he
found out -- and you can't really argue with this -- is that
we're selfish and greedy. We WANT things, and we want
the things that please us to last forever. We cling to
things, we depend on them for happiness. Not just
things, but sensations, thoughts, pleasures, all of which we
know are doomed to end. Even when we love another --
if we do so for selfish reasons and not spiritual -- we do
so to satisfy longings. But eventually, inevitably, the
longings return. No state of satisfaction is
permanent. Hence the suffering.
If it ended
here, Buddhism would be a pessimistic point of view.
But it doesn't. There's a way out. There is a
state of permanent happiness, but it isn't found through
clinging to impermanent states
Suffering can cease by eliminating selfish desires and
clinging. By freeing ourselves from selfish desires,
lusts, cravings and wants, we liberate ourselves from the
cycle of death and rebirth. The way we do this is by
following a system of living called the Eightfold Path,
which is the subject of another day's discussion.
According to the Buddha (and other Enlightened beings who
followed in his footsteps) by following the Eightfold Path
-- sometimes called the Middle Path because it avoids
extremes -- we enter Nirvana, a state of supreme, egoless
bliss where we no longer suffer rebirth into the human form.
All this can be
summated in what has become known as the four Noble Truths:
is characterized by suffering.
suffering is caused by selfish greed (desire) and clinging
to impermanent things.
can end by ending selfish greed (desire).
- The way to
end desire is by following the Eightfold Path, and by
doing so, we enter Nirvana.
And that, my
chilluns is Uncle John's Buddhism 101, because YOU
asked for it. Next, we'll look at the Eightfold Path.
March 24th 2004.
Go here, it says it all
25th 2004 Buddhism 101, Part II: The Noble Eightfold Path consists of the following precepts:
Understanding is knowledge that the Four Noble
Truths (discussed earlier) lead to the overcoming of
the pain of existence. It does not imply a total
understanding of these Truths but a confidence that, by
following the Path, the result will be attained.
Thought is to be constantly aware of one's thoughts
and actions and thereby avoid harm to any living
Speech is awareness of one's speech so that,
what one says, is beneficial to the hearer.
Action is to be aware of one's actions so that
one does not cause harm to oneself or any other living
creature. This includes avoiding stealing,
refraining from sexual misconduct, refraining from false
or idle speech, indulging in intoxicating substances.
Livelihood is to earn one's living in a way that
does not cause harm or suffering. Such occupations as
the selling of intoxicants, firearms or animals for
slaughter would be considered inappropriate for Buddhists.
Effort is the avoiding of evil which has not
already arisen, rejecting evil which has already
arisen, the acquiring of wholesome things which
have not yet been acquired and the stabilizing of those
wholesome characteristics that have already been
Right Mindfulness is constant awareness of the effects of one's actions, whether of
body, speech or mind, and thus avoiding harmful actions.
Concentration is cultivating the mind through concentration and meditation so that one
attains intuitive insight.
that runs through each of these precepts is Awareness.
I've always thought that the Eightfold Path is really the
Onefold Path: Just pay attention to what you're doing and
make sure that your actions, words and thoughts cause no
harm to yourself or others. Cultivate Noble and good
Why is this
so hard? Because we're driven by our passions, by
anger, by longings, and in our suffering we can't see that
the world suffers too. There are three "defilements"
that keep us from living correctly: Greed (desire for
possessions power, recognition), Aversion (negativity, hate, anger, jealousy), and Delusion,
which is a dark cloud of insensitivity that prevents clear
understanding. All of these delusions arise from one
cause: Ignorance. In a Buddhist sense,
Ignorance isn't just lack of knowledge about the world, but
incorrect knowledge. Correct knowledge is Wisdom,
the cure for Ignorance. Wisdom is gained by following
the Eightfold Path.
that if we get out of ourselves and cultivate boundless
loving-kindness (metta) for all living things, our personal
suffering ends. We're filled with zest for living,
joy, our minds are free to practice the Eightfold Path which
leads toward liberation from Suffering and -- if we're
diligent -- we can achieve the highest Bliss: Nirvana.
The Buddha describes "Boundless Loving-kindness" as that
unconditional, selfless love that a mother has for her only
picture on the left, showing new jeans (2 sizes smaller)
and the old belt with the newest holes punched. My
weight here is exactly 250 pounds, the lowest I've been in
And no -- I'm not growing the beard back. I want to
show my true face to the world.
March 27th 2004.
think what I'd like to do today is get back on track with
the weight reduction stuff and talk about fad diets and how
much I dislike them. Not so much because they don't
work, and are usually the product of greedy creeps whose
only interest in weight reduction is is how much leaner they
can make your wallet or pocketbook -- and how much fatter
they can make their bank account -- but in the psychological
effect these fad diets have on the people who try them.
Who try them, and usually fail.
It's not like
there's a lack of science behind weight loss. There's
actually a great deal of good, scientific research in the
mechanics of how we gain and lose weight. Today we'll
discuss the physical aspect of weight and tomorrow the
I make you
two propositions: Assuming you're a healthy individual who
can move around, you can drop weight. If you're
willing to do some psychological work, you can keep it off.
Let's look at two important factors in weight reduction, the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and the Active Metabolic
- The Basal Metabolic Rate is how many calories your body
burns while at rest. In essence, this is what it
takes to pump blood, breathe, live, etc.
Conventional wisdom says that to calculate your BMR you
multiply your weight by approximately 11 calories a day.
Now, if you think about this, your BMR changes as your
weight changes. Obviously, the BMR of a 300 pound
person is going to be different from that of a 200 pound
person. So as you lose weight, you have to
recalculate your BMR. We'll come back to this later.
- Your Active Metabolic Rate is how many calories you burn as
you exercise, and this varies. As you drop weight,
BOTH your BMR and AMR will drop. This means that the
more weight you drop, the harder it becomes to drop it.
No big deal, we can live with that. Dieters call
those last few pounds "Hard Lard." Again, we'll come
back to this.
overweight people make this very bad mistake: Most of us
commit to a weight reduction plan out of panic.
Something made us realize that we have to DO SOMETHING NOW.
Maybe we saw a picture of ourselves, or somebody said
something horrible to us. Maybe we realized that if we
didn't do something soon, we were going to die. But we
entered a panic mode. Panic mode is not conducive
to making good decisions.
So, we starve
ourselves, or run to a fad diet that does essentially the
same thing. Here is the problem. If we reduce
our caloric intake below the minimum required by our Basal
Metabolic Rate, our body reacts by reducing metabolic
functions. If you eat too far below your BMR you will
lose weight, but that's called starvation -- and
you'll get sick and could die.
lose weight in a healthy fashion -- and this is a scientific
fact -- we should reduce our caloric intake by no more than
500 calories below our ACTIVE Metabolic Rate -- NEVER our
Basal Metabolic Rate!
starts to come off, we have to remember to recalculate both
our BMR and AMR. Calculators can be found HERE
that after the first two or three weeks a healthy rate of
weight reduction is 2-3 pounds a week. Not fast
enough for you? Get over it. It took a long time
to put it on -- it won't come off over night Two
pounds a week is ONE HUNDRED POUNDS in one year!
I know many
of you are thinking "Yeah, but you weigh 250 pounds, and
that's still a lot," to which I say, "Very true. But
when I started this, I weighed 297 pounds. That's a
HELL of a lot." There's no doubt in my mind that I'll
reach my goal of 200 pounds. When? When I get
there. I have a renewed sense of purpose now that I've
broken through the 250 pound wall.
discuss keeping it off. I've done it for almost
a year now. I've kept my "losing streak" going through
personal loss, stress, and things that I haven't discussed
out of respect for other family members. I think I'm
an expert and qualified to speak on the matter. Don't
worry -- it can be done.
March 28th 2004.
psychological impact of fad dieting is more damaging than
the physical, in my opinion. True, you lose weight at
first -- and people respond to positive results -- but what
happens when you put the dropped pounds back on?
Studies have shown that the vast majority of people who go
on these fad diets DO put the weight back on. This
reinforces the idea that "I'm a failure; there's
something wrong with me. It's in my genes -- I CAN'T
drop weight." If you keep adding to a long series
of failures, eventually your mind becomes programmed to
accept failure as a FACT.
started this blog, I've heard from a lot of people who've
told me that they've tried everything. Well, usually when
they tell me what they've tried, it isn't everything,
it's everything wrong.
reduction isn't about food. It isn't about dieting.
It isn't even about exercising. It's about changing
what's inside of you; about finding out what's going on
inside yourself, searching for the hunger within.
you feeding? Whatever it is, there are other ways
to feed it than food.
For me, the
two key issues in my life have been personal loss and being
loved. Whenever I've lost a loved one -- and for some
reason, it's been my karma in this life to almost always
lose them violently -- it's triggered a period of weight
gain. Coming to grips with loss took work. I had
to learn healthy ways to deal with grief. This
required work with a psychotherapist and a lot of spiritual
investigation on my part. When my mom died a few
months ago, I was well along on this program I've begun.
I didn't turn to food to deal with my grief; I dealt
with my loss in other ways.
issue is trickier. My personal relationships have
always been tangled and confused, full of issues, leaving me
in doubt whether I'm truly loved or just an object of
convenience. I've realized that this attitude
originated from within me, and needed serious investigation.
Guess what? The more I've learn to love myself, the
more I realize that others really DO love me. I don't
turn to food for that comfort, either.
arrived at these points is fully detailed in this blog.
I haven't held anything back here. All my secrets are
there a secret? If so, here it is: Weight reduction
isn't about weight. It's about TOTAL HEALING OF
MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT. Each must be fed its own
particular type of nourishment. Chocolate cake won't
cut it for all three!
What was I
feeding? Grief. The need to be loved for myself, not
some projection of me. The problem is, the more I fed
these needs with food, the hungrier they became.
You'll find that this is the same with your emotional
issues; the spawn of the heart grow into big, hungry
So what IS
food for? Nourishment of the body. One of the
big problems we face is that our society has made almost a
cult out of food. We're presented with food as a means
of socializing, comfort, having fun with friends, etc.
And it IS tantalizing, like all sensual pleasures.
There's nothing wrong with enjoying delicious food.
Not at all. I'm not an acetic. I believe in the
occasional treat now and then, just in moderation.
It's when we
use food as a substitute for emotional gratification that we
run into serious trouble. It doesn't work. We crave
more and more of it, and pretty soon we're as big as a
Okay, back to
fad diets. They prey upon that Panic Mode I spoke of
earlier. "Get it Off of Me Now!" Fad diets
encourage an obsessive-compulsive relationship with food,
which is what got us into this shape in the first place.
Common sense would tell us that the cure for an unhealthy
mental set is NOT another unhealthy mental set.
- If you
find yourself in that Panic Mode, step back, take a few
breaths, calm down. Look at your situation
objectively. You're not going to totally reprogram
your thinking overnight, I don't care who you are. A
change of consciousness occurs gradually, in steps.
If you want the changes to stick, take your time. Set a
realistic goal at the outset. Don't try to drop a
hundred pounds. Start out with ten. You can do
that. Then ten more. It's a cinch.
Revise your goal and your program as you go along.
expect minor setbacks. This is to be expected as the
habits of a lifetime are not easily changed. But if
you're mindful and stick with it, you WILL be successful.
Ask yourself: Can I do this? Am I worth this?
Am I brave and honest enough to go inside myself and dig
deep enough to face my inner monsters? DO I reject the
quick answer and go for a TOTAL healing of body, mind and
And don't do
it by going on a fad diet. Check out the Diabetic
Exchange Diet that Weight Watchers uses, and FIRST AND
FOREMOST, start by working on your emotional and spiritual
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