Saturday, March 9, 2013

The whole hole.

Hi everyone and welcome!

The whole hole.
It's there, inside of each and everyone of us.
It's ancient, with us since we have been here.
Humans are "doughnut shaped" we are born with a hole in the middle.
An emptiness that quietly haunts us or claws at us begging to be filled.
The hole asks questions late at night and early in the morning.
Sometimes simple questions. "Why does he hate me?"
Sometimes vast questions. "What am I here for?"
It speaks to us in a voice that calls us "you."
Who in my head would call me "you?" The hole.

We perceive we are in pain, it hurts whenever loss, or the winds of time, or unfulfilled needs, or old age sweep through the hole.
Perhaps the need to fill the hole drives our addictions, and hatred, and wars. 
Humans are problem solvers. Fixers. We want the hole to be filled. Make it go away. 

I have the answer. Here is what we need to do.


We need the hole.

The only problem with the hole is we think we aren't supposed to have a hole.

You see. No one bothered to tell us that it's a natural part of us. Everyone was too busy trying to make it go away. The hole is as natural as the wind, sky, moon, stars, and sun. The hole, the feelings it generates, drives us to create.

We create art, and vast architecture, and space flight, roller coasters, ice cream, chocolate, music and movies, jokes, humor, have sex, cry, sing the blues, and sit in the middle of serene deserts, contemplate and meditate, sing, mime and sign, wonder, think, and blink, and howl at the moon, we persevere, and do the impossible.

See, what would we be?
Who and what would we be, without our hole.

Maybe, the next time that wave of sad that comes and goes appears. Smile at it. Smile with it. Know that it is a part of you that makes you, YOU. Embrace the hole. Stop struggling and fighting against it. You are fighting you! You will only be at peace by accepting the hole and riding the wave. It will create it's own energy and propel you to the places you need to be.

You are it. I love you for that.
Love, Bryan

Next: Perfection 

Friday, March 8, 2013

     Do you ever wonder why an addiction can be so "buried" in your life that it seems impossible for you to stop the addictive behaviors?
     Do you find it challenging to continue to remain in remission once you do stop the addiction?

     I am bulimic. I am currently in remission and am working hard to stay that way. I have been challenged by several addictions in my life and would like to share some of the insights I have learned on the journey. 

     Addictions do not act in isolation there will always be support behaviors attached: Addictions come with lots of co-behaviors, emotional reactions, and intellectual baggage. Being bulimic means that I binge, that means eating enormous amounts of food, and then purge via vomiting or using laxatives and diuretics. When I first started to address the bulimia I thought that I could, A, stop the binging and purging and B, that would solve the problem.

Well that didn't work.

My bulimia was embedded in almost every aspect of my life.

     Example: Watching television. This was a perfect example of a "support behavior" I had become so used to eating mindlessly in front of a movie that in order to stop the bulimia I made the choice to stop watching movies for a while. ( I love movies, it was a painful choice!)
Some other support behaviors that we need to avoid for a while or quit entirely.
Eating out.
Eating with others.
Avoiding eating for any extended period of time.
Having anyone else buy food.
Using caffeine.
     I am sure that you are aware of your own "supporting behaviors." I would encourage you to make these behaviors real to you. I have seen people write a list, compose a song, and paint or draw all of their support behaviors. Once you make them real they will be easier to let go of.
     People ask for how long? I simply don't know. I suspect as long as it takes for the behavior to diminish in association with the bulimia. In my case it's going to be a while before I can eat in front of a television or read and eat. Perhaps never. 

     Addictions are dimensional: My bulimia has two distinct part to it. One, the binge. The binge is can be triggered by anxiety, depression, loss of my center that is triggered by what other people say, visuals of food, and feeling that black hole in the middle of me. If you are bulimic then I am sure you have your own binge triggers. Two, the purge. I came to enjoy the purge. That's right. I came to like vomiting. The act itself. Even in a public restroom there was a feeling of some how getting away with something and a feeling of accomplishment. And. The bliss of numbness that would come over me as my insulin levels bottomed out and I would "float.' Now notice that if we can work through the first part of this we do not have to experience the second part. We cannot stop or avoid emotions. They are just going to happen. The emotion is triggered or just occurs, the emotion gains the center of our focus, and we react. The emotion may drift as our center of attention changes in a new direction or if we choose to focus our attention on the emotion it will continue to reoccur in our field of thought. So where is our greatest strength? REACTION!!!!!!!!!!! No matter what anyone tells you to the contrary, you control your reaction. We do not have to react at all. To anything. Or we can choose what our next behavior will be. This will take time and practice. I encourage you to start seeing how you respond to daily events and start to practice delaying the reaction. Key: Practice not getting mad when stuck in traffic or a grocery line. I learned a lot about me by practicing this when stuck.
Example: I used to have emotionally upsetting events occur at work, I would, instead of letting the emotion play out, choose to focus on the event and Pre-Plan my binge and purge. I would pretend that I had not control over my behavior even hours after the event!! Remember, Emotions are not things, they have a short life unless we insist on making them a focus.
Addictions have stages: We do not become addicted overnight, we usually slowly work our way into a position where we finally realize and recognize the problem. We will do the same thing on our way to remission. We will, slowly, and with much effort, work our way into a remission status.
I did not jump into binging and purging ten to fifteen times a day overnight. It came in stages, from once every couple of days to every day to several times a day to sometimes twice an hour.
We need to remember this. "In our remission we will back out the same way we walked in, step by step." Every single second we are free from bulimic behaviors will be another link in the chain of  the food slavery broken.
Addictions work: And that can be a big issue. If we are using the addiction as a solution then simply removing the addiction will not work. Example: I use bulimia as a way to reduce anxiety. As I phased the bulimic behavior out I slowly replaced it with three areas that all reduced anxiety.
One. I increased my meditation time. I have been a practitioner of Zen for decades. Meditation is a tool that works for me. Two. After my meditation I started spending fifteen minutes a day reading material that supported my recovery. Even if it was contemplating a single phrase that was positive. There are some great apps for phones and some great books that have given me a better perspective on my place in the universe. If you contact me I would love to share them with you. Three. I started getting back in to nature. I love hiking and walking and now spend part of every weekend outdoors. It works. I am a lot less anxious now.

I have related all of the above to bulimia but much of it can be applied to any addiction.
Feel free to contact me with questions or comments at my email address above.

Remember: "You are the only one of you in the entire universe. By default that makes you priceless. A one time occurring event. Take care of you."

Next blog will be about that hole in the middle. And what to not do about it.

Love, Bryan