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Back to Beck Day Forty: Enrich My Life Now

Saturday, November 22, 2014

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This is a fave Beck tip for me.

Because if there's not much fun happening in my life besides eating -- then of course eating takes on a disproportionate and weighty importance. And I feel excessively deprived if I can't eat whatever I want whenever I want. Which I can't, of course. Not if I want to be healthy, slim and fit.

And of course if I DO eat too much and feel obese and unattractive, then I don't "deserve" to do anything else special to enrich my life now. No reason to buy pretty undies or perfume. Plus I'll lack confidence to engage in social activities if I feel the target of implicit criticism because of my weight. I'll lack the self-assurance to go to the beach in a bathing suit. Or turn up at the gym in spandex workout clothes . . .

Failing to enrich my life NOW contributes to that vicious circle of compensating for life's drabness by eating too much. So that I'll feel even less worth of enriching my life now. And so on . . . might as well sit on the couch with the Cheetos (perfectly named, no?)

For Beck the injunction to enrich our lives in the present is full of specific ideas. A check list. What can I do to take my mind off food? What are my new goals? There's a chart in the workbook: travel; buying stylin' clothes; taking up a hobby; signing up for a class; improving the situation at work; looking for a new job; dating; joining a club or a team or a group; going to the beach; making social plans with new friends; volunteering. I do these, most of 'em, at various times . . . and there's lots of space to add stuff.

Beck urges that once I've chosen a new goal or two I should develop a plan. What's the first step? When?

Gotta say, there's a connection between the "comfortable life" and "comfort food".

When did people start saying, "I'm just not comfortable with that" as an all-purpose excuse or justification for . . . not doing what we need to do? Including tolerating some hunger. Comfort is highly over-rated, right? Comfort goes with elastic-waisted pants. Caftans. Granny undies. Which can all comfortably accommodate mac 'n cheese in giant portions!! But don't contribute to genuine comfort within our own skins.

When I'm thinner, I'm actually less armoured. Which makes me more vulnerable, in a sense. And that vulnerability makes me more open to quiet and everyday experiences of joy. Winter sunsets behind the trees in the park. That cardinal deep in the hemlock. The smell of the hemlock. The soughing sound of the wind in its branches. Beck doesn't mention these -- she's more about "big plans".

But for me, paying attention to the ordinary and exquisite pleasures that surround me for the noticing actually matters more. Noticing is a huge source of authentic comfort.

Life itself is rich, yes it is, and that richness is not about stuffing my face with rich foods. But neither is it necessarily the result of more striving and more effort and more goal-setting and more discipline.

The richness of life surrounds me. It's the present. It's there, for the taking.
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