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Giving Up on Me…

By Melanie Balint Gray.  

I heard a statement in my thought stream the other day: “Give up on me…” Immediately there was agreement. “Yes!!!!!” Give up on me, on that ‘little me’ that I believe myself to be.

Give up on all the aspiring, correcting, developing, revising, accomplishing, should-ing, shouldn’t-ing, fixing, scheming, resolving, the building up, and the breaking down. Give up on all those attempts to improve or heal or remediate me and my life; meddle in or manipulate the lives of others. Give up on trying to: win affection, get a nod of agreement or approval, receive a pat on the back, or hear kudos.

Give up on triceps exercise reps, daily journaling, regular meditation, three-mile walks, handwritten thank you cards, handmade holiday cards, made-from-scratch Indian curry dinners, handmade gifts for everyone, eight glasses of water daily, only eating pure, whole food and managing finances to the penny.

Give up on vision boards, heart-centered marketing, feminine power, dream analysis, tapping, and heart-focused breathing. Even give up on seeing through belief constructs, transforming, or transmuting this into that.

Give up on convincing, cajoling, coaxing, brute-forcing, pushing, pulling, and arguing with all those fragments that seem to make up me. And give up on the same strategies toward the outside world.

Give up, give up, give up…

This felt triumphant. For a bit…

And then I heard another phrase, delivered in a soft whisper.

Give in.

Goosebumps, a frequent measure of resonance in my body these days, arose. Head to toe.

Everything got quiet. I sat motionless for a time. The words seemed to hold a silence that flowed into and through me.

Give in.

Nothing felt in need of correction or of healing. Nothing felt at risk of being kicked out, evicted or abandoned. Nothing felt denied or disapproved of or defective.

It made sense. The directive to “give up on me” was just that—another “must do”, another commandment; simply better disguised by a sly, tempting promise of relief and release. After all, it would feel great to stop trying, to stop fixing and figuring and analyzing. But, the instruction had the cleverly-camouflaged feel of “Cut it out!” or “Just quit it!” The hidden trap was that the veiled intent of the give-up-on-me agenda was to dismiss, to demolish, or to get rid of.

Wasn’t that more fixing? It began to feel like it to me.

With the swapping of one word—the word up swapped with the word in—the feel of life changed; went from feeling like a chronic, festering need for something to be different, better or altered, to no need at all. Life went from feeling like a subtle, cunning plot to fix the fixing, which cleverly perpetuated the whole shebang, to an authentic halt. This held no promise of a glorious future moment. No offer of relief or release and yet, by setting down all the effort, my body breathed out in a long, deep, full exhale. Muscles relaxed; standing down from their habitual bracing mode.

What was left as all the old strategies and mechanisms ground to a halt? The simple answer is, whatever was showing up in the moment.

There was a stillness for quite a while. Lovely. Some tears.

Then I noticed a movement toward converting give in… from a softly-whispered, undemanding invitation into yet another demanding rule. But, I smiled, more tears welled up, and I felt the demanding energy come and go and come and go. Give in to that, too.

At times energy of “Give up” manages to affix itself to give in… and then I can be off to the rat race of self-improvement. There remains this echo of give in…. however.

I so appreciate hearing that echo. It points me inward, not upward or outward, but inward.

Give in. Give my attention to whatever’s in here, in me.

To read more about Melanie Balint Gray, click here.

Deprivation

By Melanie Balint Gray.  I’ve been exploring deprivation as I walk through the twists and turns of my convoluted path from unconscious overeating to… to simple, joyful eating:  eating that is easy, enjoyable, and restorative.

A sense of deprivation has been a core experience throughout this journey.  It was what I told myself sometimes—since you can’t have such and such go eat because you can always have food.

But, an attitude of deprivation also informed my approach to food.  Deprive yourself of sugar so that you don’t get fat from all those empty calories.  You can substitute zero-calorie, artificial sweeteners instead.  Deprive yourself of this fat, but allow yourself that kind of fat. Stop eating sugar and flour.  And on and on and on.

I hoped that cleaning up what I ate would leave me feeling satiated after every meal.  It did begin to physically satiate me.

But, this pesky deprivation kept creeping back in.  I can’t have this.  I can’t have that.  I can’t do this.  I can’t do that.

I sat with this gnawing deprivation awhile and memories floated upward into plain view; memories not of when I’d been deprived by my parents or by some circumstance, but memories of when I had deprived myself.  Of what?  Of allowing deprivation the room to fully express itself.  Of squashing deprivation, making it wrong, alienating it.

I learned quite early that displays of emotions other than happiness were not welcome.  I grew up with training from that song “Put on a Happy Face.”  Even as a young child, no matter what feelings lurked beneath my façade, I was to smile, say I was fine and be cheery.

So, early on I received advanced training in keeping a cheery veneer.  It’s as if there was a lockdown underway inside, disallowing any other feelings. If they did venture out, some feistiness or some sadness, a scolding resulted so I put them on lockdown again.  I cheated myself of feeling them.

Deprivation keeps knocking on that thick, metal prison door these days.  And now, I’m beginning to attend to it.  It wants release and it wants to bring all of its prison mates along.  A total breakout!  The list of prisoners is long, too—spanning the spectrum of feelings from ecstasy to despair. You see, happy, is only one, small sliver of the spectrum of emotions.  So many emotions were cut off then and are blunted these days out of habit when they do escape for a bit.

There is one night in my childhood that deprivation still inhabits and it has taken me back there few times lately.  I’m beginning to feel into the depth of the aloneness I felt that night when there was no one to turn to for help, only myself.  There is fuller understanding of how everyone involved was crippled by this “Put on a Happy Face” command, so that no one could begin to untangle how they felt, revise how they behaved or have any shred of a healing conversation about it.  Deprived.  We were all totally deprived of the capacity of allowing genuine feelings to emerge.  Feelings that could open hearts and heal wounds.  That was just how it was.  It could not have been any other way.

So, this feeling of deprivation has kindly led me to compassion; compassion for all of us.

It seems that deprivation still has some life within me.  I’m more ready to sink into it now.  What else will it show me?  What’s the next gift it holds?