Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Seventh Day

Some wonder at the blogging phenomenon. Why would anyone think that the world wants to read about his or her boring life? That’s the wrong question. I’ll just speak for myself. I have journalled most of my adult life. I have stacks of journals sitting on a shelf in my office. I have no illusion that the world will ever read anything I’ve written therein, other than a few lines that I have actually extracted from the heap and, yes, had the audacity to publish. So the real question is, if not for mass communication, why journal at all? I journal for myself, to reflect on my life (“The life which is unexamined is not worth living.”) The really nice thing about blogging is that if not the world, at least the two or three people who for whatever reason take interest in my ramblings indeed have the opportunity to look over my shoulder and occasionally comment.

I’m not sure whether I look back on past blog entries with any more interest or regularity than past hard copy journals. Its certainly is easier to find a particular entry on-line than up in that shelf. I got into this whole line of thought looking back at a recent blog wherein I mused about the notion of worshipping food. Then I scrolled up to a photo of eight pieces of a chocolate food replacement bar meticulously arrayed like Stonehenge and had to laugh!

Birds are noisily chirping, darkness is slowly being lifted from the silhouette of my neighbor’s house, the cat stirred when I awoke minutes ago. I let her out praying the night-prowling skunk isn't lurking behind the redwoods. I had awoken from an explicit food dream. It was a joyous family gathering. I had arrived a bit late and started noshing on a few items from the dinner table even as I was still filling my plate. Mid-bite it suddenly flashed through my mind that oh no, I  had just eaten real food instead of my food replacements! Only six days through this strict regimen and I had such a mental lapse. I knew the program leaders would be very forgiving and supportive, but I was just flabbergasted that I could have made such a slip. Pretty explicit. Probably the third explicit food dream this week.

In reality I have indeed completed six days of the regimen and it hasn’t been too bad. One day I actually had a surprising insight recognizing a new experience of eating to live versus living to eat. I’m not convinced one is better than the other—no judgment, just different. This new mode brings a sense of liberation at times. If I am not hungry, just bored, I haven’t had to wage a battle between what I want to do and what I ought to do. It is now a given that I don’t look for entertainment in the refrigerator. One day I would like to explore more deeply the meaning and causes of boredom per se. It would be worth understanding a bit more one of the root causes of my historic overeating. What is this ill ease, this dissatisfaction with what life is presenting at a certain moment that cries for a food fix antidote? Put that in a file next to anger, joy, sadness and an assortment of other food stuffing stimuli. No doubt we’ll talk about this in the program.

This week has been fine. Not so hard to get through—even enjoyable at times.  Debbie and I have spent more time walking together than dining. That’s nice in its own way. Whether food abstinence will get easier or more challenging only time will tell. I know it certainly is working as they said it would—especially in the first weeks where we shed water as much as fat. I have lost a few pounds no doubt. I look forward to the weigh-in tonight and the reunion with my program comrades. I’m curious to see if there will be more rejoicing over the weight loss or grousing over the process that caused it. I will report back.
Weigh-in was joyous. The meeting pleasant enough—no great shakes (pardon the pun). More significant was a stop I made en route. I felt the need to share what I am doing with the rabbi, especially in light of the whole food-as-idolatry/sh’mirat ha-guf thing (viz. Farewell, Farewell Tour blog entry 4/23/12). We had a great chat. The rabbi helped me get over the hurdle of having trouble seeing food replacements in a spiritual light. It was an easy one for him, although I can’t match his eloquence, to see each bite as a blessing and a gift of sustenance. He showed me the proper prayers to say before and after such a “meal,” and he pointed out how the traditional morning blessings fit right into increased consciousness about one’s wellbeing. He agreed that this physical, intellectual, and emotional journey Kaiser Permanente is leading me on will dovetail nicely with the spiritual journey I am beginning in July in Shefa Gold’s Kol Zimra: Chant Leader's Professional Development program. Both are eighteen months in duration. Both are energy work in many ways. I’m stoked!

Oh, and if you’re scoring at home, in the first two weeks of the program I’m down ten pounds. (Disclaimer: before you get too excited, that’s offset more than a tad by the weight I gained on the “Farewell Tour.”)


  1. Yesh, if you should ever have the time and inclination, I would be happy for you to address one of my questions: why food pellets instead of smaller portions and cutting out certain foods.

    Curious minds want to know!

    1. Call me when you are in the country some time.