We abandon ourselves when life gets hard

Day 128.

“Never underestimate the inclination to bolt”
Pema Chodron

Oh wow. Just finished Geneen Roth‘s remarkable book “Women Food and God – An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything”.

A top takeaway for me. All compulsions are us trying to bolt – or leave ourselves when life gets hard.

I’ve inserted alcohol into these quotes from the book to show you what I mean:

“If compulsive eating drinking is anything, it’s a way we leave ourselves when life gets hard. When we don’t want to notice what is going on. Compulsive eating drinking is a way we distance ourselves from the way things are when they are not how we want them to be. Ending the obsession with food drink is all about the capacity to stay in the present moment. To not leave yourself.”

Not bolting

“Not bolting – being awake without being drugged by food, alcohol, work, sex, money, drugs, fame or in denial (about the crisis we are actually in) is asking a lot.”

How to not bolt

“Staying requires awareness of the desire to bolt. Of the stories you are telling yourself about the need to bolt. Staying means recognizing that when you want to bolt you are living in the past. You are taking yourself to be someone who no longer exists. Staying requires being curious about who you actually are when you don’t take yourself to be a collection of memories. When you don’t infer your existence from replaying what happened to you, when you don’t take yourself to be the child your mother/father/brother/teacher/lover didn’t see or adore. When you sense yourself directly, immediately, right now, without preconception, who are you?”

“When you stay, you question what you’ve never questioned: the you you take yourself to be. The you who is not your past, not your habits, not your compulsions. Anything becomes possible. Even living through extraordinary pain.”

Not easy, but gave me lots to think about in both the context of food, of alcohol – and of reasons I use it to escape, or bolt from myself.


P.S. I also loved her conversation with Oprah on Super Soul Conversations series.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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