>Creating Space


What would happen if I didn’t…..

Here’s a question for you to ask yourself to create a small space between a behavior, thought or feeling you might be struggling with.
An example:
For most of my life, I was seriously addicted to sweets (and I say “was” loosely and with respect for the struggle), anything chocolate, like brownies in particular. I struggled and struggled with this intense pull to anything delicious.
A few months ago, I was lying on the couch obsessing about brownies.
“Alyssa,” I said to my daughter. “I really want some brownies, and not just brownies, but brownies with ice cream and chocolate chips and chocolate sauce.” I could not get my mind off of this thought. I kept telling her over and over again, I was going to the store to get all of the ingredients and I was going to eat it. But I didn’t get off the couch. Instead I just kept talking about it.
And then…
I had this thought, which was really a question:
What would happen if I didn’t go get brownies right now?
And further:
What opportunities could present themselves in the space where getting brownies and eating brownies used to be?

These questions created a space for another possibility other than my normal routine of:
  • think brownies
  • feel brownies in my mouth while I think of brownies
  • allow the “taste” of brownies to pull me to the store,
  • finally eat brownies to only feel satisfied for a millisecond
  • and then want more.
I didn’t go get brownies that day, or the day after or the day after. In fact I didn’t eat any sweets for over a month. This led me to seeing a nutritionist who talked to me about gluten and dairy and how it may be affecting my mind and body. Because of this space I created with that one simple question I was ready to create even more space by being gluten and dairy-free.
Last night, I had gluten-free brownies. The difference is I didn’t go through my regular routine. And why? Because of S P A C E. I simply made them, ate some and let them be just brownies, and not everything they were supposed to be for me.
I have taken this question and applied it to other issues, and truly it is amazing how it is working to create space and freeing me from behaviors I have struggled with for a long, long time.
So, how does this happen?
In our minds we create grooves, or neural-pathways. They work like this:
In our present reality, we may experience something that makes us act “irrationally.”
For instance, sometimes my husband gives me a certain look. I don’t really know what this look means, but inside it makes me feel inadequate, and instantly I respond by feeling inadequate. However, in order not to show my inadequacy I get mad, and isolate from him so he can’t “hurt’ me.
This look was sometimes given by my father (sorry dad). I shared in another blog, where I always felt like a disappointment to him, and to me this is what his look meant. In my youth I did not respond to my dad the way I respond to my husband. Instead I ingested this look by my father, and all that I thought it to mean, and created a groove of “reality” where I was unimportant, and a big disappointment. This created feelings, which were suppressed and overtime this suppressed energy created the behaviors I did, and sometimes still do, with my husband.
I hope that makes sense. These mind grooves can be dug really deep, and can dicatate our behavior for a long, long time. Until…. that is we offer space.
Questions can create space. They allow those neural-pathways to be interrupted, to question what to do since we didn’t do what we normally do, which is usually react unconsciously without being inquisitive.
Think of the old “church.” Or parents that did not want to be questioned. It is what it is. Do not question authority. If you do, you lack faith. Or whatever the fear tactic might be. However, we must question if we want to expand ourselves, and everyday we have numerous opportunities to open the space and ask:
What would happen if I didn’t….. you fill in the blank?
Oh, and I wanted to share what has opened up for me in the new space I have found:
  • Drawing
  • Writing
  • Exercising
  • Eating well
  • And I intend to begin my meditation practice again, which will create even more space.
Give up, and give in to what confines you- which all mental, unbalanced grooves will, by being an investigator into your own actions, thoughts and feelings. Be curious and alert. It’s important. And then notice the space, and all that it provides.
The Soul Reporter

>Be Alive in Two-Thousand and Nine

>I have been watching Oprah’s new shows about Living your Best Life. Her trainer Bob Greene was on, and for homework had us ask what we are really hungry for- obviously as it pertains to emotional eating.  I asked myself this question and the immediate answer I got: to be alive.  I am hungry to feel alive.

When I eat a piece of chocolate, as I was when Bob was asking this question, the smoothness and silkiness of the chocolate gives me a feeling of being alive.  When I was having a sugar low from not eating any the other day, when a basket of M&M cookies appeared, I ate one and instantly woke up.
I am trying to get my husband to make me feel alive by giving me attention and talking to me.  I used to go shopping to feel alive.  A spiritual teacher on Oprah said, “Give me drama so I feel alive.”  Could it be everything we do is so we can feel alive?  
We are alive, aren’t we? But why don’t we feel it?  
So here is my intention for 2009- to ask myself this question and begin living the answers:
What behaviors can I begin NOW to make me feel more alive?  (Just so you know, writing this blog was one of those behaviors- instead of the chocolate, which I still may have.)
What’s crucial here is what behaviors can I begin because it isn’t up to someone else to make me feel alive.  Or some substance or addictive behavior.  It is up to me bring out what is within me, which I know will make me feel more alive.  It is false to believe an M&M cookie can really make me feel alive, at least in the long term. In the long term my sugar consumption will cause me diabetes, cancer and who knows what else.  Am I alive then?  
What behaviors can you begin in 2009 to make you feel more alive?  Further, what behaviors are you doing presently that you think are making you feel alive?  Are they really making you feel more alive, or are they zapping vital energy from you; such as the cookies, the shopping, the co-dependent relationships.  
What does being truly alive mean to you? What would it feel like?  What would it look like? What patterns and behaviors are obstructing your true Self; a self which is alive, vibrant and full of energy?
Let’s make 2009 be the year we let go of what is false and dampens us, and realize what truly fuels and feed us- the awakening energy of our souls.

>Bye-Bye Sweets

>It is safe to say I have always had a problem with sugar, especially chocolate.  I quit once, but it didn’t last. I have done two squares of chocolate a day- that only worked for awhile- until I ate more.  Recently I have watched myself eat sugar at least three times a day- after breakfast, after lunch, and after dinner.  When there wasn’t any obvious chocolate or sweets in the house I went into the pantry, opened up a mason jar full of chocolate chips and popped them into my mouth like aspirin.  

The fascinating realization about this behavior is I did not judge it. I was interested in it, but not shamed by it.  I just watched myself eat and eat and eat, sometimes wondering what was going on with me to make me want to eat so many sweets.  A month or so ago I was watching Dr. Oz on Oprah. He was speaking to smokers, telling them to pick a quit date.  I decided I wasn’t any different than the smokers, and picked one for myself. The first date that came to me was March 10.  I had no idea if this was a Monday or a Friday, but March 10 it was, and once I committed to that date in my own mind I realized it was 6 days before my 36th birthday. Seemed strange, and a bit crazy to pick  a date right before the usual birthday cake and ice cream.  
Reframe- I decided this would be a wonderful birthday present to myself.  March 10 approached and I noticed a natural decrease in my usage.  By March 9, I was passing up dessert. I got through March 10th and 11th just fine.  Reading the book A New Earth, I have chosen to go through this experience, much like I did while eating sweets- from the observer’s perspective.  The observer is not addicted, therefore it is the best space for me to hang out. But today was tough.  Mid-afternoon I started to get foggy in my head and low in my energy. My body and mind wanted something sweet.  The day before when I had this craving I automatically went for the mason jar of chocolate chips before I caught myself and closed the pantry door.  
Going through the intense craving today, and not giving in- I knew how much I had identified with my sweet intake. I have had a rough couple of months and I was literally looking for something sweet- some sort of satisfaction to make myself feel better- and here I thought I was not one of those emotional eaters.  I also see how I have the opportunity to dig even deeper within myself to find something sweet and satisfying inside of me and pull it out. I trust once this begins to happen the cravings will cease to exist inside my body and mind. 
For today, I missed sugar. I thought about the chocolate melting in my mouth and easing the stress in my soul, much like the inhale by the smoker.  Today I feared how I would cope if I never had the satisfaction of chocolate melting in my mouth again.   I can only take it three days at a time. It is almost 10pm and it is safe for me to say I did make it three days.  I will observe how the next three will be.