Home > Food and Weight > Trigger Happy . . .

Trigger Happy . . .

I’m discovering that my parents are fantastic for my spiritual growth, whenever I’m around them I just want to eat and eat and eat . . . and, good news, my mom often brings plenty of high calorie, sugar-filled food with her when she visits (she likes to feed people until they’re uncomfortably full and if they’re overweight, she likes to point that out and suggest they do something about it – she often appears confused and hurt when that person gives her the finger).  So, I get to fill my pie hole and my emotional holes all at once. It’s very efficient.  Ram Dass has been quoted as saying “if you think you are so enlightened, go and  spend a week with your parents”.  Well, I have a good stretch to travel before I reach enlightenment, but I’m so down with that comment.

My parents came over to visit two days in a row, which I am happy they can do – my girls are crazy about them.  However, I do find myself behaving in ways that defy logic and what I consider developmentally appropriate for my age.  Yesterday, for example, I was showing my dad a video of me on the aerial hoop.  My dad was talking about some distant relative’s kids (whom he’s never met) while on the video I’m hanging upside down and contorting myself on a ring suspended from a ceiling.  His only comment to me was “did that hurt your feet?” Now, to his face, I was all nonchalant and cool.  Inside I was like, “hey, Dad, look at me!  What do you think of what I just did right there? hey – watch better!  Daddy!”  A few moments later, I’m fully engaged in a feeding frenzy involving  a tortilla chips and a tub of hummus. Coincidence? I think not.  I was really pissed, too.  Up until that point, I had managed to scale back my calories, be totally present and aware while I did it, faced down other triggers when they came up, but the moment my parents are on the scene I’m like the cookie monster devouring everything from cookies to the letter of the day.  This is consistent. My parents are the mother (and father) of all emotional/thought triggers.
I see only two options in dealing with this situation: I can  (a) sequester myself from my  parents forever or (b) uncover, question and annihilate the negative thoughts that come up when I’m around my parents.  Since I’m  fairly certain that those same thoughts will resurface whether I share space with my parents or not, I’m really only left with option (b).
So, clearly, I have some thought dissolving work to do there.  And I’ve started.  The first thought I’m questioning is “my dad should be interested in my passions.” I figured out that was the thought underlying my pissed-off, sad feelings. Of course, he should not be interested.  That’s why it’s my passion, not his.  I’m not really interested in his passion for deep sea fishing, which is also fine. Neither one of us enjoy our hobbies to please anyone but ourselves – if I were playing on a hoop, pole, trapeze – whatever – to please Daddy (or anyone for that matter) it would stop being fun, soul nourishment and start becoming a chore, a drag, toxic.  So my original thought (which I probably have been thinking in some form or other since I was a child) was very damaging and completely useless, not to mention totally untrue. I felt much better after clearing that up with myself.  The Work is an essential tool I use to catch and unwind any renegade negative thoughts that occasionally (and less frequently now, thank God!) attempt to hijack my mind.
When my folks came by today, I actually got excited about how they might push my buttons and make me want to intravenously inject rocky road ice cream into my body.   Before they stepped foot into the house, I prepped by taking several deep breaths and telling myself to be very aware and alert to my feelings and, more importantly, to my thoughts as I  engaged with my parents.  Wouldn’t you know? they failed to trigger my need to feed. Nothing.  I enjoyed a sensible meal (frenzy-free) with them and the rest of my family, and even when my mom tried to sneak a jar of cookies into my pantry before she left, I was able to give them back to her without creating a scene (on my part, anyway).  It was probably one of the most relaxing visits I’ve had with them in a long time.  Oh yeah, and my dad asked me how to call up my hoop video on youtube, it turns out he was searching youtube for my videos last night to show my mom. So much for all the mental gymnastics my mind performed about whether Dad is interested in my hobbies or not. Still, it’s irrelevant whether he is interested or not, because it’s the story that I told myself about what his lack of interest meant to me that caused me so much suffering.
I do realize that the level of presence I choose to have with my parents (or any person or situation) is a choice I have to make over and over again.  I’m sure I’ll forget to choose that level of mindfulness at times, it’s just nice to know it’s always available to me and my waistline.
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