I’ve missed my blog. I first started a blog in 2011 because I was drawn to the storytelling of it all AND I was really into Julie & Julia :) But so quickly life starts to become about numbers, data, and efficiency and the lovely stuff gets left off the to-do list. I have yet again realized how shitty life gets when we let the lovely things go. For me lovely things that I tend to let go of are: yoga classes, hammock hangs, writing, cooking, all things that make my life so much more enjoyable in the day to day. So, below you will find writing inspired by a recent journaling session.
As I flip through a cookbook this afternoon I see a recipe that requires the use of dry white wine. My first instinct was to flip the page, insinuating that I’d just never cook with wine again. But then I thought about how much flavor wine adds to food (however, on reflection this is a false belief I uncovered around alcohol. There are many other ways to add flavor to cooking.) Then I thought of how gross “cooking” wine is, which led me to imagining there was a bottle of white wine in my fridge. Yikes. *I quit drinking two years ago.
That gut punching emotion instantly came over me but this time I did something new. The moment I felt that yuck in my gut, I noticed how intense it came on and how strong it showed up in my body and instead of running away, I took about three or four steps and then paused. This pause wasn’t new. I’ve been noticing my ability to pause and walk myself through crappy self-talk. What was new, was that after I paused, I decided to go back and sit in that emotion. What?? Why would I willingly let that emotion wash over me? I have done this sort of work while being guided by a coach or therapist but not so quickly or ever with any motivation to go back.
I put down the Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook and paused The Great British Baking Show (I’m searching for a cake to make myself for my birthday). I closed my eyes and imagined that a good bottle of white wine (my old nemesis) was sitting in my fridge, and there it came. The heavy meets queasy feeling in my belly that to me feels like fear. Fear of what my answer would be, fear of whether I’d turn down the opportunity to numb out. Yet, it was a mixed batch of fear. I decided to sit in this particular brand of fear and I decided to get to know it, to see if I could put a better name on it. I ultimately landed on FOMO. Yep, that stinkin fear-of-missing-out. Watching so many people drink, not just in my life but in so many areas of our culture, I am constantly being told that I am missing out on something, something that all those other people do. I know that I am missing out on that chance to numb from the stressors of life. If I can’t, it must mean I am abnormal, something must be wrong with me.
Thank goodness, I now see things differently. I now see alcohol as any other drug. Because of all the images of alcohol being injected into my life, plus a bloodline with lots of drinking practice, I never saw it as a drug. However, this socially encouraged drug is “a leading risk factor for disease burden worldwide”.
In a flash I redirected my thoughts from fear (as I’ve been practicing) and reminded myself that nothing outside myself will ever make me happy, therefore it’s okay that wine isn’t in my life. It would have never been able to make me happy. That heavy and queasy feeling started to lighten. By getting to know that emotion and witnessing my thoughts I walked myself to a lighter place.
I now aim for bliss. I hope I don’t lose you here, but I now spend so much time and effort on making myself self feel good - mind, body, and emotions, that when I string together activities that make me feel good, I begin to feel a sense of release, a sense of calm. When this bliss is added to successive days of meditation there is no need to numb. This experience created a new mantra for me to use, bliss or bust.