Tearing Down the Wall?

It has taken me forever to get through the first lesson of A Course in Weightloss.  This first lesson is called Tearing Down the Wall and at the end of the chapter, the author, Marianne Williamson sets forth 25 emotions and asks you to write down what those emotions mean to you.  For example, the fist emotion is Shame. You are to finish the sentence, I am ashamed because……Once you fill in your feelings, you to hand over the feeling to God (Because of my confused religious beliefs I chose instead to hand over my feelings to the Universe).

I wrote, “I am ashamed because of how fat I have let myself become, that I lost a baby, that my businesses have failed and that I have done a piss pour job managing money.  Dear Universe, I surrender my shame to you.  Please take it from me.  Amen.”

I did not write paragraphs for each emotion.  I was fairly short, simple and to the point.  Yet, it took me almost 2 weeks to barrel through this exercise.  I am not sure why I was so resistant to it.  I must admit there are quite a few things I recorded that do not illicit pride but I don’t think that’s why it took me so long.  Frankly, it seemed like a tedious exercise that was unlikely to help me lose weight.  I forced myself to work through it but it took forever.  Now that I am done I recognize that this exercise was worthwhile as I did learn a few very interesting things.

Certain emotions  resonated very strongly with me: shame, unforgiveness, excess responsibility, burden, injustice, jealousy, dishonesty and embarrassment.  These feelings are hot buttons for me .  Clearly,  there is quite I bit that I have to let go.  I am not sure I believe I can just hand these feelings over to the Universe but it was very helpful to recognize my hot, dare I say burning,  buttons and acknowledge that it is time to let those feelings go.

There is a great deal in my history that honestly should no longer be a hot button.  Heck, it shouldn’t even be luke warm.  I found that I am holding on to feelings that were aroused decades ago.  These feelings no longer serve me.  If I made bad choices in the past, I can not change them.  Ruing over them offers no benefit.  I need to let go of my shame/unforgiveness about them.  If someone hurt me 20 years ago by cheating or not supporting me or worse trying to impede me, I need to let go of those feelings of injustice/jealousy/dishonesty/embarrassment.  Hanging on to those feelings provides nothing of any value in my life and in fact only serves to hurt me.  Yet, hang on… I do.   Just like I hoard all of my trinkets and tokens from years past, apparently I hoard my emotions too.

I am going to spend some time each day trying to let those feelings go….the poor Universe has no idea how many negative emotions are coming its way….

This first lesson also brooches the idea that being overweight creates a wall to intentionally keep people out.  I have a hard time with this concept because I am (for the most part) happily married. I have wonderful friends and 4 happy calves that fill my life.  I am close with my mother, even though she can drive me nuts and I have strong ties to my extended family (who my mother has trained well to also make me nuts).  I have a good job with folks I adore.  I believe my relationships to be authentic.  So, I am just not sure who I am trying to keep out.  Do you know?  I have thought a lot about this and am a bit stumped.  Perhaps that will be explained in the next chapter.

Anymoo, I do feel like I learned a great deal about myself in Lesson 1 and am looking forward to seeing what Lesson 2 reveals….Thin me is about to meet not so thin me…should I bring cookies to the meeting?

Viva la Bovine!

9 Comments on “Tearing Down the Wall?”

  1. The Doer says:

    I love this post! I’d love to read this book, there’s so much baggage we all carry around and it’d be nice to sit and examine all of it – which is always excruciating, but probably the first step… What you’re doing sounds so much healthier and more like a life-change than all the diets we constantly make ourselves go on. I’m proud of you! 🙂

    • Thanks…we’ll see I have yet to re-open the book to get to Lesson 2, it is on my list for the week-end. You can read the book and I’d love a partner in crime if you want to start some sort of cyber reading group. You can get the book at amazon used for under $6. Here’s the link.
      I don’t know yet if it will change my life or not but I have found that this is the first “diet” I have ever been on where I am not a complete pyscho. (still a nut case just not a complete nut case) I am just drinking more water, trying to be a bit more active and eating mostly fruits, proteins, & veggies. My goal is simply to lose a pound a week Instead of trying to lose 10 pds in a week, starving myself for days and then binging like a maniac and gaining everything i’ve lost and some back. So that by itself is a healthy change.
      Thanks for your nice words.

  2. Teresa says:

    We go through this step in celebrate recovery too and sometimes for me who I am trying to keep out is successful me. I also use food to protect myself from people that have what I want. I use my weight as an excuse not to reach for those goals. Sounds like you are doing good.

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Trying to keep out successful me is a very interesting idea and one I have never really thought of. You would think that I would want nothing more than successful me to emerge but obviously where weight is concerned I have yet to meet successful me. Clearly, I am keeping her out. I just can’t put my finger on why I would want to do that. This is a topic for a blog post for sure. Thanks for the very insightful comment.

  3. Shanny says:

    I love this post. I’ve read it a few times now, it’s so honest and truthful!

    As a person who went through this self-discovery in the quasi-recent past (6 years ago), I can say for sure that figuring out your emotions and what drives or hinders you is critical to getting to a place where life is a bit easier to navigate. That exercise you did sounds like it turned a couple of lights on for you so that’s awesome. It’s so hard to change set thought patterns…until you really look at it and realize that some of the things that guide your actions are completely irrelevant! Totally a brain workout sometimes!

    I would also like to say something else to you…..which……since I am a complete stranger and don’t know you from a hole in the ground, you can completely disregard or tell me to shove it up my woohoo.

    Would you consider for a moment the fact that, if you are having strong emotions which are tied to shame, unforgiveness, , jealousy, dishonesty and embarrassment, that referring to yourself as a “cow” repeatedly is just your subconscious’s way of keeping you down? Think about it, the way that we use the term; “Fat cow!”, “Stupid cow!”. In no way, ever, do people use the term “cow” and mean loveable, worthy, respectable, smart or healthy. So in my outside view, the relationship that you may be creating a wall to keep away from? Is the one you have with yourself. It sounds to me like you’ve had some huge blows in your life; a miscarriage, a business loss, money strain. Is it possible that you use derogatory terms and hateful thoughts towards yourself to build a wall around yourself to avoid ever having to deal with the real stuff? As long as you can always spend your energy being loathful of your size/shape/appearance and the shame that may come with that, your mind will never have to go to the scary stuff?

    Forgive me, please, if I am out of line. But know that as far apart and strangers as we are in the world, we can all relate to each other. This is all of us! This is everyone who has ever eaten a cookie that they weren’t hungry for. It’s everyone who tries to deflect pain or fear and then eventually has it snowball.

    I wish you all the very best, I really do. (please don’t be mad if I’ve totally overshot what is acceptable)

    • Shanny – I am not mad. In fact I have been wondering when/if someone would bring up this very topic. I have to say though that I like my cow motif. It makes me smile and it forces me to be a bit more creative as I write. One reader once thought I actually kept calves in my basement…Actual farm animals! It wasn’t until she re-read the post did she realize I was referring to my kids. I laughed for quite a few minutes and am smiling right now as I think about it.

      I do see what you mean though. Referring to myself as a cow is not putting myself in the most positive light. On the other hoof (sorry, couldn’t help it), it is a way for me to label the part of me that I don’t like. While I don’t write about it here because that is not the point of this blog, there are quite a few things about myself that I do like – I am a great mom, have a wonderful sense of humor, am a loyal and caring friend, a supportive wife, am pretty smart and am an all around fun gal….and to top it off I have amazing hair. (See, I don’t hate everything about me, just the jiggly parts).

      That being said, I think there is much truth to your statement that “As long as you can always spend your energy being loathful of your size/shape/appearance and the shame that may come with that, your mind will never have to go to the scary stuff?” Not coincidentally, I find I also keep myself frenetically busy with work, projects around the house, kids etc. I rarely sit down and just think and I am sure that is not a coincidence.

      I do have a lot of emotions to work through and honestly I dread it. It feels like I will be opening a Pandora’s box and I am afraid. I am hopeful that this book will help me through and I appreciate the support I get from the online community. On top of that, we have good insurance so if I need to, I can always check myself in somewhere 😉

      Thanks so much for you comment.

      • Shanny says:

        Your listing the things that you love about yourself totally resonated with me! So often, I tend to forget to make that same sort of list about myself and I get completely focused on health and fitness…..which, while important and interesting to me, is not the be all and end all….and so for that I thank you!

        I’m so interested in following the journey you are on, I always find it so odd that we can sometimes connect with complete strangers that we don’t even know the real names of!

        Best wishes!

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