The other day, someone asked my advice on how to lose some weight. She readily admitted that she ate too much ice cream and drank too much beer. It was the very first thing she ‘confessed’ as a possible culprit to her weight concerns. I asked if she thought that cutting back on ice cream and beer might be a good place to start. After a long pause, she said, “Should I try intermittent fasting?” I chuckled to myself and offered up my brief thoughts about intermittent fasting.
What has happened here? My friend knows that tempering the ice cream and beer habit was the right course - the beginnings anyway - and, yet, she ignored her own intuition and sought another way.
Don’t we all do this, though? When our intuition leads us in one direction, we seek to dodge such revelation knowing that it will invariably present an unpleasant reality, require hard sacrifices, hurt someone’s feelings, or require that we admit wrongdoing. If we know that a relationship is over, to act on that will cause emotional pain. If we have to leave a miserable job, the transition may cause hardship and stress. And, yet, when we duck addressing the real problem, clearly the problem persists. Perhaps, my friend’s weight would go down with some intermittent fasting, but it would likely creep back not having confronted the real issues with her eating behavior.
The blessing is that when we do decide to act upon our intuition, there is a bittersweet relief and the promise of salvation that reassures us that we are on the right path. Imagine the alcoholic who succumbs to the safety of a detox center? Pain, shame, grief, relief. No? We all know that relief when we no longer hold onto a lie, when we surrender to a truth and follow it’s lead. Interesting to note that “revelation” comes from the Latin word “revelare” which means ‘to lay bare’ and related to the word “reveal.” When we live in this honesty - come out from hiding behind pretense - we are living righteously, nakedly, as we are. There is a rightness and an ease to this living…not easy living…but ease, fluidity.
Similarly, we must acknowledge that truth and revelation are forces more powerful than our own will. We don’t contrive them. They just exist. They live in us and we can only discover them. We must be humble to the magnanimity of these forces and surrender to their wisdom. We must be humble to the fallibility of our bodies; bodies that can sometimes suffer from too much ice cream and beer.
All too often, the dialogue around “dieting” is reduced to clunky concepts like willpower and food restriction. Exerting our will suggests that we are in control. In fact, it was the result of willful (ness) power that led my friend to decide that intermittent fasting was her path. She used her will to avoid the magnetism of the rightful path. However, I suggest that what we really can be doing is respond humbly - devotedly - to the force of honesty presenting itself in a time of our questioning. We become followers of that force as our guide towards light and resolution.
This notion of following is the essence of the effortless ease. Being in a state of grace. We take away decision making, exerting effort, making things happen, making weight loss happen. Weight loss will happen on its own if only we get out of our body’s way. And I trust we all know - as my friend so readily did by her immediate admission - in what way we stand in our body’s way.