Monday, March 22, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes - a quotable quote

I heard something great at an AA meeting this morning. The topic was spirituality, but so often the discussion distills down to people just talking about how hard it is sometimes to continually do the next right thing. Not just about drinking, either. There are all sorts of behaviors, tendencies and instincts that are deeply installed into our hard wiring, and just because we clean up the big trainwreck aspect of our lives(drinking in this case), we are not automatically rendered white as snow. We are not "washed clean", even when we sense that divine intervention played a role in our awakening and getting better.

It's funny about that too. You hear it so often at meetings. Here's an example: someone puts up their hand and confesses to having gotten a speeding ticket or other traffic violation. And while sitting there as the cop gets his/her license and registration and runs the data through his dashboard computerized crook-finder, the tendency rises to say, "But officer, I'm sober!" Like that pardons the fact that one was driving like a bat out of hell, or just being distracted and reckless in some way. Not to mention that YOU'RE NEVER SUPPOSED TO DRIVE AFTER DRINKING!! No special treatment for doing what you're supposed to do in the first place!

Human kind is imbued with capacity for great love, great evil, and everything in-between. One of my good AA buddies always says, "I'm an heartbeat away from my finest act and from my worst act at any given moment." Regardless of your perspective - religious, spiritual, existential or humanistic - it's hard to deny that most humans, even li'l ole me, have some baser instincts that just don't succumb to a full on assault of our will. It's wrong to make 50 copies of a personal document at work; but it's also easier, cheaper and more convenient than stopping at Staples on the way home from work. In effect, it's stealing from my employer to use their copier, their ink, toner and paper. BUT.

In AA, we start to look at all this stuff in our own behaviors...areas where we are still so easily led down the garden path to "little naughtys" that aren't huge infractions, but still not "the next right thing". Sometimes the infraction is against an institution or an employer. Often it is mainly hurtful to ourselves.

Obviously I'm connecting this to my food and eating issues. Every cell in my body deeply desires to be whole and well - and much leaner. Healthy and fit. I yearn for the righteous feeling I get when I successfully resist an eating temptation. That the next day I feel so great about. For the feeling of my ribs and hip bones prominent under lean flesh. So why can't I just resist all the time no matter what under any and all circumstances? At least I'm sober now!

That lame excuse doesn't pardon the speeding ticket, and it doesn't pardon my choice to overeat or binge when the spirit moves me to. And note spirit is not capitalized, because it's my own free will - bestowed upon my undeserving self, by whom I believe to be my Creator. True Spirit.

I'm not always a good steward of gifts I'm given. I lost a book a dear friend gave me for Christmas. She was surprised and a little hurt, I think. How much greater is the insult of using my free will in a self destructive manner? Yeah, I'm human. People will never be perfect. But I believe we are supposed to shoot for as close to perfect as we can.

We will always have temptations - they're everywhere. They are different for each person. It's not hard for me to abstain from gambling because it doesn't tempt me in any way. But for a guy that lost his children's home, their savings, and all his other assets - resisting a casino is a pretty big deal. When I am able to stand strong against a tray of sticky buns, or even one lousy bite, it's also a big deal. I need to claim that as a victory.

So - on to the brilliant quote that set off this whole train of thought for me this morning. A good friend was sharing about her 5 y/o grandson who is famous for finding trouble to get into. He was just emerging from his most recent "Time Out" this weekend. He went to his grandma and said, "I wannna be good, but sometimes it's like clouds fighting sunshine." Oh Nicholas, you said a mouthful, no pun intended. It really is like that sometimes. The eternal battle between good and evil. Clouds and sun. Cake and celery.

That said, I had a pretty good food weekend, and even a decent exercise weekend for where I am in healing right now. I did give in to temptation a couple of times, but no bingeing at all. We ate out with friends last night and I had dessert, and a roll with butter. I ate all my mashed potatoes, but it was a small portion. I'm not going to work myself into a lather over that. And I did a walk each day with a friend - about 1/3 mile the Saturday, and about 1/2 Sunday. That was the most I've done, and my knee felt okay. I'm totally committed to resuming exercise slowly to increase my chances of the fullest recovery possible.

Hubby is leaving for Texas until late Friday, so I only have to cook for moi! That means mashed cauliflower for dinner tonight - he'd puke at the thought of it! You all know how I love being able to cook for numero uno only. It really helps with sane eating.

May we all have a day where the sunshine beats out the clouds!


  1. Oh, that IS a wondeerful quote! And kind of where my mind has been since reading the "doll" post on Chris's blog. (If you haven't read that, the link is on my last post--it is a powerful piece.)

    I've been thinking about how deceptive overeating and unhealthy eating, in geneeral, is. We think it is comforting us--but we are deceived. That unhealthy eating is clouds not sunshine; the warmtn is only a lie.

    Anyway, I guess we're both in a contemplative mood about food this morning! Haha, I'm a poet...


  2. You've really hit the nail on the head here - because truly if we are "grey" in one area, there tend to be many other grey areas. Somehow all connected. We know what's right, yet we don't do it. I think that's why Nike's ad campaign that said, "Just Do It" was such a hit. Because really that's what it takes and it doesn't matter if we're talking about eating, or finances, or driving etiquette. Enjoy your cooking for one this week!

  3. That is beautiful. I hope to be better and know I will be worse. You are comforting and help me be hopeful.

  4. Great post. It's so easy to rationalize our bad behavior away because it's better than our worst behavior. Yep...I'm guilty of that.

    Super quote from the little one. Kids can be so wise.

    Lucky you Mrs. Cooking for One!!

  5. Wonderful post. You really have a way with words. Super Quote's too.

  6. Kids are so wise. And you are too. This post really has so much truth in it, and relating food issues to AA is wonderful.

  7. Sage words from a small child. We can really learn a lot from that quote.

  8. Very thought-provoking and many truths to absorb. Then, happy dance for getting to cook for you, yourself, and you; all alone and by yourself!

  9. Your writing is lovely, Leslie. A great quote, one that everyone can use.

  10. You mean people actually use that "But I'm sober" excuse? WTF? If I was a cop that would be an automatic ticket-getting phrase.