The other day when I was focusing away my depression (click here for previous post) I hit upon an idea which I started immediately using. I spent moments throughout the day centering my attention inward, as is done in focusing to discover emotional layers, but instead of asking how I am feeling, I quiet myself and center my awareness deep inside my core and touch the place where I feel peace, relaxation, and love for myself; I then ask myself, “”What do I want to do right now?” This sets me up for working on something I really want to do, plus I am always much more productive when I am doing what I most want to do. Surprisingly, the answer to what I most want to do is often to organize something, or do the dishes, or help one of my children with their homework, or some other chore. My answer is not always to make art! That doesn’t matter though, because I am doing something I really want to do at that point in time, that fits in my overall life plan; something that is calling for my attention, and gives me pleasure to accomplish.
I am realizing that this first focusing question, “What do I want to do right now?” does not remove any of the myriad of chores that were overwhelming me when I wrote about focusing away depression in my last blog. Instead, this process allows me to temporarily place all those things in a holding pattern, patiently waiting in line, as I accomplish the one chore that will bring me the most satisfaction at this time. Then I can ask again for what is the next thing I really want to do. This first question takes care of reducing stress, allowing me to enjoy the process of accomplishing things, and have more joy in my journey. I am finding that in my core, I do want to accomplish all the things necessary for success in my goals. In other words, I am not wanting to play all the time, but asking what to do first allows me to let go of the rest until they pop up as what I want to do next.
For the weight loss part, I focus again to that deep centered place within my core, where I am calm and relaxed. I remind myself that I am me, one person, centered on myself and my needs right now; knowing I have to take care of myself (no one else is going to do this for me) to be healthy and balanced; reminding myself that I answer only to myself and no one else for my health and well being and happiness; reminding myself I do not have to let anyone stress me out or make me feel less than I am; creating a protective shield of seperation around myself that allows me to rest when I want to, eat when I want to, and focus on a chore or fun activity when I want to. Once I am centered and balanced and ready to take care of myself, I ask myself, “What do I want to eat that will make me feel good and help me be my best self?” My answers have been the healthy foods I know are good for me and make me feel good and will help me lose my excess weight. When I then proceed to eat the healthy food, I do feel good. When I have not centered myself and focused on what I want to eat that will help me be healthy and my best self, I find myself reaching for chocolate, or ice cream, or bread and butter, or cereal, etc.
The key is focusing away from external stimulation that cause me to want to eat fattening sugary foods. Resting when I am tired. Pausing when I feel stressed, evaluating that stress, and focusing for what I want to do next. Eating sugary starchy food, which makes me feel sleepy, is a way I have been self medicating and dulling my senses so I don’t have to feel stress. Or, I reach for the giant (and I do mean giant!) bar of chocolate to rev me up and give me a big push, which gives me a high I enjoy, but does not benefit my health in the long run, nor does eating chocolate help me put my finger on what I really want to do.
I understand that this method is not easy when there are so many demands made upon us by external sources (and to be honest, most of the stresses and demands in my life are self induced). Regardless, I have to do something to get my happiness and health back, so I now give myself permission to experiment with focusing for happiness and weight loss. Once the simple meditation is accomplished a few times, it really takes very little time to recenter and ask those two questions again: “What do I want to do right now?” and “What do I want to eat that will help me be healthy and happy and be my best self?”
Focusing for happiness and weight loss worked so well for me yesterday (I know . . . only one day) that I wanted to share the process. I will let you, dear readers, know how it goes as I continue with this experiment. Also, if anyone wants to try this, I would love to hear how it goes for you in the comments section! Love and happiness and health to you all.