>There’s a story that I remember hearing years ago:
The first day, you are walking down the street and fall into a hole. It’s deep
and you are shocked and pissed. “Who put this here?!!” “It’s all their fault I’m
in here.” You thrash around and throw dirt. Eventually you see a way out and
climb out of the hole.
The second day, you are walking down the street and fall into the hole again. “Well” you say, “I’ve been here before and know how to get out.”
The third day, you walk down the street and see the
hole, yet fall in anyway. “What here again? I tried not fall in.”
The fourth day, you walk down the street and very carefully walk around the hole.
You congratulate yourself for not falling in.
The fifth day, you walk down a different street.
Breaking old habits, creating new patterns is such work. Yesterday, it rained all day and so by the time I was leaving for work, with a small window of opportunity, I began the drive home. As I drew nearer, the lightening began and the storm started whipping up. I knew I had to go to the grocery store to pick up some dog food, so I decided to do that first and hoped that by the time I was done, the storm would have passed and I would have a clear sky to walk under.
But as I drove home from the store, the rain began to fall heavily and I resigned myself to having to figure out another way to exercise.
I walked in the door and unloaded all the stuff I regularly mule to and from work (computer, purse, lunch box) and the groceries. I opened a can of soup and put it on a low flame and then went over to my laptop and opened it.
Old pattern. It was raining, I wasn’t going to get to go for my walk. I could feel the guilt starting. But surfing helped me to push that feeling down. If I’d had a bottle of wine in the house, I probably would have opened it and poured out a glass.
My partner walked in the door shortly after I had just about talked myself into abandoning the idea of using the elliptical in the basement. As we sat and caught each other up on our day, I saw the rain stop and the sky begin to lighten…and something, somewhere deep within said, “Time to build the ladder…”
I said, “Honey, I’m going to go for a walk while the rain has stopped.” I jumped up and went to change into my walking clothes. Got the dog leashed and headed out.
It was beautiful. The air was clean and crisp. We walked fast and took the big loop. As we were on the home stretch, the sun ripped through the dark clouds and lit the way…it was a sign, right?
I felt exhilarated. We did it…10 days straight.
On the walk, I was thinking about how easily it is for me to fall back into that hole. A small setback and I give in. It’s not like we don’t have other ways to exercise…we have the elliptical and a Wii Fit for crying out loud. But I didn’t want to do the elliptical because it would be too hard and I didn’t want to do the Wii Fit because it would be too easy…at least that’s what I was telling myself. But if I think about it, both of those scripts are wrong. The elliptical isn’t too hard. It’s a great way to cross-train! And the Wii Fit isn’t too easy…I could have done all the yoga on it. After the day I’d had, it would have been a good thing.
And who am I? Goldilocks?
I guess my shadow is. She wants things to be just right…it’s too hot outside, it’s too cold outside…it’s too dark…it’s too late…it’s too early.
I gave away that thinking the day before.
So how do I get out of this hole that I’ve fallen into? And once out, how do I avoid it? The parable of recovery above says it all, right? Walk down a different street. I’ll have to think about that. Right now I’m just trying to build the ladder.
The thing that makes it so hard for me to get out of this hole, this rut, is that I’m very, very good at making the rut into a comfy place. I fill the house with yummy things to eat, like cake and bread and cheese and wine. I surround myself with things that will entertain me…television, computers, music, books…and I forget that those things can’t replace love. They don’t nurture me. How can I ever feel full when I’m feeding myself things that, ultimately, don’t nourish me?
I was so tempted to weigh myself this morning. The tug of that old habit was strong and hard to fight. I was feeling like, “Surely I’ve lost 3 or 4 pounds since I last weighed!” But I don’t want to get on the scale because I know I put way too much stock in those numbers and I know if I don’t see what I want to see or what I expect to see, I will be disappointed. And that disappointment will derail me. I will go back down that hole…and I’m so much closer to the top now…I don’t want to go back down a few rungs.
It’s raining again today.