Last week, I happened to attend a speech on Marty’s behalf. He wasn’t able to attend the talk himself because he had a cycling race that night. (This was a tad ironic, because the talk was all about thriving in competitive athletics on a vegan diet.) Anyway. Being the considerate person and loving wife that I am, I signed up for the talk for Marty’s sake and rode my bike there, notebook and pen in hand. I didn’t expect that this talk would have any personal relevance for me, given that I am not at all a competitive athlete and that I am practically a vegan anyway (I haven’t even eaten eggs in a few weeks because the time needed to prepare them– 10 solid minutes– has escaped me!) So I was blown away when the talk started out something like this:
“Are you here to learn about the foods that can help you succeed as a vegan athlete? (yes) Are you here to lose weight? (why, yes!) Are you here to learn the secrets of raw veganism? (sure, why not?) Then you might as well leave right now and get your money back, because you already know the answers to these questions.” (um, pardon me?)
To my pleasant shock and surprise, instead of being a (probably boring) speech about vitamin B12, plant enzymes, probiotics, and protein, this gentleman spoke for over 2 hours about the psychology of eating and emotional eating. I was enraptured. Totally consumed by every word. Convinced that this person had been sent to Victoria by God himself to give this talk specifically to me. It was amazing. I actually felt a little choked up listening to it! And it took every bit of will power and focus I had not to blabber on like a Creepy Super Fan when the time came to thank the speaker in person afterward.
OMG! You are my super hero! I loved every single word you spoke tonight! Can I have your autograph???
This talk was all about the things we do as people that inadvertently/subconsciously sabotage our efforts to “get healthy” or “go vegan” or “[insert grand ambition here]”. He talked about how we declare to ourselves that we will “Go Vegan!” or “Go Raw!” or “Lose 25 Pounds!” or “Run A Marathon!“, but we rarely start out from the real starting line on our journeys– i.e. from a place of accepting ourselves as we are already. When we stand tall and boldly declare that we will Fit Into A Size Six!!, we are secretly saying to ourselves is that we are not okay at any other size, which means that we are probably not okay with ourselves as we are, right now. The way the speaker put it was that we are trying to start at the finish line of our race. The marathon of life (or weight loss, or veganism, or whatever) is starting miles and miles away from us, but there we are at the finish line, looking into the pretend mirror and saying stupid affirmations to ourselves like “I am a winner! I succeed at running! I can run a marathon and be a beautiful, fit person!”… all the while not actually running or actually doing anything to move forward.
Suffice it to say, after 2+ hours of listening to this pure genius talk about all of the issues that were eating at my very soul, I left feeling full of thankfulness and gratitude. I don’t want to beat myself up or hate myself over trivial things and circumstances that are beyond my control. I want to be gentle and accepting of myself and to try a little tenderness! Even two weeks ago, my strategy for Life in General went something like this: Eat perfectly, work perfectly, blog perfectly. exercise perfectly, sleep perfectly, and look fabulous doing it. No mistakes or deviations from perfection allowed!! Now, it’s a little more like this: Eat the best that I can, even if it means ordering take out food or buying treats; accept that we work a lot during the summers and be thankful for our pretty awesome source of income; blog and comment on other blogs when I can, even if it means I won’t crack the 10-post mark this month; exercise when I can; sleep when I can; and look fairly decent doing it! 😉
The new strategy seems to be working alright so far, but I’ll admit that sometimes it feels like I am still liking myself out of pity and sympathy instead of actually liking myself “just because”. (To use the earlier analogy, occasionally I find myself standing at the finish line of Liking Myself instead of working through the starting issues of not always liking myself 100%. I’m working on it!) Mostly, I am just thankful to have been directed to that talk last week. I really needed to hear it. (Should we all hold hands now and sing Kumbaya?)
And how are you doing lately?
Bring me up to speed in the comments section below! (Maybe I’m more likely to succeed at reading short paragraphs about your recent goings-on instead of 5 long blog posts every week? There’s only one way to find out!)
PS: The talk was given by Tim VanOrden of Running Raw fame. Without sounding like I’m the president of his Teenage Fan Club, I thought his talk was awesome. 🙂