Daily Archives: 27 January, 2009

Radical Acceptance

embracing your life with the heart of a buddha.
embracing your life with the heart of a buddha.

Today, I’m thinking about the general public’s inability….

to SIT WITH THEMSELVES.

I highly encourage everyone reading this to pick up Radical Acceptance, by Tara Brach, Ph.D. It’s an excellent Buddhist take on the “trances” (direct term she uses) that people use to distract themselves from their inner spiritual life. I think these trances tend to be related more towards those who have had any type of trauma in their life (as a way to numb it). And it doesn’t have to be stereotypical-run-of-the-mill-beat-your-wife-trauma. It can your parent’s divorce that you never dealt with, or bullying you experienced in high school. And before I get beyond myself, let me elaborate on how these trances can manifest themselves:

1. eating (doesn’t have to be eating disorder diagnosable, being obsessive and judgmental is enough – an “I’m going to hell because I ate this” counts)
2. shopping/spending
3. abusing alcohol drugs
4. working
5. gambling
6. OCD behaviors
7. using a sense of humor constantly as a defense mechanism

etc, etc. I just find it SO INTERESTING that so few people in this world can’t just sit with their emotions, and their body, with all the imperfections and fat hanging off of it, and have compassion for it. We must always be going to the gym, working, we cannot stop for illness, rest is for the dead, blah blah blah.

and most of you know I am not immune to this – was a big victim of it in the past, but I think I have it under control now. Am I saying you’re in a trance if you are overweight and want to lose weight to feel healthy? Of course not. However, I do think all diets are trances, because no diet has ever worked. It’s just a way of exerting control of something. Let me ask you – every time you try to exert control over something surfacy (weight, appearance, etc), do you ever check in with yourself about places in your life where you have no control? Have you sat with the emotions that place brings?

It’s so funny – I get so frustrated with human society because they don’t operate on this level, and then someone will inevitably tap me on the shoulder and say, “Amanda, don’t you remember no one self-reflects as obsessively as you do?” I am aware that I am perhaps, too reflective at times – but hell, I love this stuff, it’s my field, and I honestly think more people should just sit in a friggin room with no music, no crutches and just tune into what they’re feeling, how they’re feeling about themselves. Why do I work so much? Why can’t you say no to others? Why do I feel the need to go to the gym every day?

into the light.

Pissed about the way women are treated by the media?  Pissed off by your friend who is diet-obsessed?  Pissed by the amount of women dying slowly from eating disorders everyday?  Well, here’s where you can get angry.  As a woman who’s been on the other side of food obsession, I consider it my duty to share my story, and to advocate for a society which promotes healthy body image.  No calories, weight numbers, or body-checking allowed here.

Who am I?  Just another city-dwelling, late twenty-something professional who found the courage to be normal.  For eating disorders bring us to the extremes – they render us emaciated and silent, or out-of-control and belligerent.  I used to swing between both extremes, but now I hover somewhere near the middle.  I am lucky.  I have supportive friends, a great therapist, and a laugh that cannot be contained. 

Spread the word.  The madness has got to stop.  And I hope you can find a little hope and inspiration here.