Monday, August 25, 2008

Putting Mindful Keening to Work

So more about this psychic pain and mindful keening. The thing is that I'm really bad about talking negatively to myself (see?). I had this doctor once who called it "down the drain thinking"--circling around and around in an ever downward spiral.

When I started losing the 60 pounds that I lost back in 1999, I realized that I was a terrible person to take a walk with. If "I" was the person walking next to me, I wouldn't want to go with me. I said terrible, mean things to myself, "You're huffing already?" "I can't believe you're legs are tired already." "You are moving so slowly." "You'll never be able to get home from here."

At my first Weight Watchers meeting (well the first one for the big weight loss event), I was lucky that Bob was there. I'm pretty sure that was his name (I'm not good with names so it's significant that I remember). Bob had lost 88 lbs. He referred to himself as a "Big Loser"--this was long before the TV program, and I giggled and turned to my husband and said, "I want to be a big loser too!"

Bob's secret was that he talked positively to himself every day. He gave himself a pep talk; he had a written out speech. He said it looking in the mirror. The concept spoke to me. I still have the laminated little card he made and passed out after I requested copies.

______ meet _________ a thin healthy person. You think thin ___and you think healthy, so think thin and and think healthy about everything. . . and do what a thin person does. You've got plenty of ability and intelligence to make it happen, so make it happen. You've got drive ____, lots of it. Put that drive to work and nobody can stop you. ____ you did a great job yesterday and you're gonna do just sensational today. Now go get 'em.

I wrote my own speech. It was more personal than Bob's. I used it as a mantra. It was my "stop" when negative thoughts came in. I repeated it, or phrases of it, when I walked. It played over the negative thoughts.

My old speech doesn't quite work for me anymore. I've tried writing others, but you know how it is, when it happens, when you get "it" you wonder why you didn't start sooner, why you waited so long. What seemed so hard? Suddenly, it feels like, you are just committed to eating right--you truly don't want to eat something that will get you off track. You want to move more because it makes you feel good about yourself. It feels like whatever turned it on was magic. But it can't be magic, because then it's out of my control. (And I can't hate myself for not being able to prompt magic, can I?)Magic is simply knowing the steps and making them invisible to others.

So, I'm thinking about this new concept of mine--this mindful keening--the concept that I've morphed based on this wailing of grief that I heard a group of women from some country do on TV once. From the scene in Michener's Hawaii when the husband bashes his own teeth with a rock to cope with the pain of his wife dying. I think maybe I need this expression of grief in my life. Silent so I don't reveal too publicly just how incredibly--unjustifiably--I feel sorry for myself. My self pity is my bane. But maybe my bane is really not allowing myself to feel self pity--it's possible. Maybe, I'm thinking, I need to keen my self pity away. (Isn't that kind of what Gospel music is? The Blues?)

Maybe I need to feel the grief of not being able to eat whatever I want whenever I want; feel the grief of losing the level of fitness I did have; feel the grief of growing too big for more than one wardrobe; feel the grief of feeling left out from things; feel the grief of being alone; feel the grief of being annoyed with people instead of embracing them; feel the grief that some doors are now closed for me. Maybe instead of shoving these feelings aside, or responding to them with hunger or fatigue, I need to let a loud mental wail. And let it repeat and repeat and repeat like a meditation. As I keep moving forward through the pain.


I remembered the lunch I packed, and I ate the lunch I packed.


  1. I like the idea of feeling the grief. Grief is a process, a way of growing, moving beyond a loss and becoming stronger because of it.

  2. I like "What I did today to feel proud." Can I use it, too?

  3. "Silent so I don't reveal too publicly just how incredibly--unjustifiably--I feel sorry for myself." Took the words right outta my mouth. How do you do that? It's me...just backstalking on your blog. Love your blog.


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