The Heart of the Matter

Being back in New York, I was presented with the opportunity to confront several patterns that I have had running since childhood. Of the two main ones, there was the anger issue referred to in the previous post. The second pattern was an addiction to sweets.

As I saw the pattern repeating itself during this trip, I finally became motivated enough to deal with what I knew was inevitable – the feeling that was driving this addiction. It seems it was written into my script that this was the time to confront this feeling; to sit in it, feel it, notice it, and not do anything about it. So, as an actor on this stage, I did as the script said – I allowed the feeling to emerge from the shadows, and I simply felt it.

It is a very difficult feeling to describe, and the best I can do is that it was a gnawing emptiness, desperate to be filled. Then I observed the mind come in, and attempt to give me any and all reasons to fill this emptiness with something sweet. I was amazed at the unending litany of opportunistic, ingenious, and seemingly logical reasons why I should partake of something sweet at any particular time at all. Truly, I was amazed.

For as long as I can remember, I was listening and acting upon at least one of those reasons, in order to push away that empty feeling. Stuffing some sweet into my mouth would put this process off for the moment, for the day, for the year, for the lifetime. For some reason, this time, I didn’t act upon the impulse, and just noticed it. The feeling would actually pass pretty quickly. The thoughts would keep popping up, and the feeling would re-emerge along with those thoughts.

The first day of observation was very intense, the next day less so. I did partake of some  dessert during the next few days, but never without the awareness of this entire process. The sweets are hardly the point – it was the mechanism of the feeling and the accompanying thoughts that are the point. When I did partake, another set of thoughts would emerge, hammering on me for eating the sweet item. You can see that there is no winning that game. Pure genius!

Now that I’m back on Kauai, at least for a while, I am experiencing an absence of that empty feeling, which makes room for another, more powerful feeling to emerge in its place. Yesterday, I was washing dishes, listening to music, just sort of doing kitchen stuff, when I became aware of another feeling that I had only read about up to that moment.

For the first time in my 64 years, I was simply enjoying the miracle of being alive.

One thought on “The Heart of the Matter

  1. Paul, glad to hear you are back on Kauai, but I thought you were stopping in Detroit on your way home (I wish, I wish). I love that while you were doing “kitchen stuff” you enjoyed the miracle of being alive. Ray and I try to focus on it every day. When cancer is your life, (Ray’s life/ my life) miracles seem to be what we want to focus on. You are a miracle and blessing in my life. I love you. Hope your mom is okay!

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