Don’t stop, Just GO!
After a decade of trying to force myself into a box, trying to push and make things the way I thought they should be, and working and fighting to make everything “right” I finally realized … that things were just not working, so to speak.
I was miserable, angry, sad, depressed. I was using just about anything and everything I could find to make myself numb to myself from my existence.
So there I was, in my forties, broke, homeless, and pretty much alone. I had alienated friends, family, sanity, health, and just about everything else.
I wallowed there for a while, a year or so; feeling sorry for myself, blaming the world, God, karma, and everyone else, including myself. See, I also was soaking a giant tub of guilt and shame.
I still remember very clearly the first decision that started my journey out of the pity pit. One day, feeling miserable, locked away from the world, and I thought …
“I just don’t want to damage myself anyone.”
That was it. The first decision was to stop making choices that damaged me, my body, my soul, or my mind, I just wanted not damage me.
To quote from Epidemics, Book I, of the Hippocratic school: “Practice two things in your dealings with disease: either help or do not harm the patient.”
Or as I thought about it, “First do no harm.”
Such a simple concept, it seems so natural. Of course do no harm to yourself! But looking at my life and choices up to that point, it seemed every choice was about damaging myself in one way or another. I still do not know if I was trying to punish myself, numb myself, or just was not aware enough to recognize what I needed. But whatever the reason I wasn’t getting for myself.
Interestingly, after I made that first decision, I immediately began to obsess over the question of why I did take care of my better. So I decided to do no more harm to myself… then began to harm myself as I agonized over what I didn’t recognize I needed to stop harming myself sooner. It makes me shudder just to think about my thinking.
The second decision that helped continue my journey was, “It doesn’t matter why I didn’t do it before … I just needed to start doing it now.”
Setting down the big giant bundle of “what the hell was I thinking” and “How could I have been such a numb nuts”, did not go how I thought it would. (Nothing does for me. Apparently I learn the hardest way possible.) As I continued to focus my attentions on the things I wanted to stop those things continued to dominate my life.
Slowly I stopped focusing on “Stop doing x, y, or z”, and started thinking things like “I am going to feed myself better”, and focused on adding things to my life. Rather than trying to REMOVE fast food, sugar or whatever I continued to ADD to my diet. Slowly over time the adds squeezed out the things that were not healthy.
The second major decision was very simple and similar to the first.
“I want to stop damaging other people.”
This time I was a little more aware and rather than focusing on the negative aspects, I tried to stay focused on what I wanted to do rather than what I wanted to stop.
Paradigm shattered! I look back and my belief system had been changed … Focus on doing the things I want, not on stopping the things I don’t.