Running Away

May 26, 2010 by

Running Away

As I read Women Food and God so many ideas are bubbling to the surface that we need to explore. The author, Geneen Roth says the following:

“Compulsive eating is an attempt to avoid the absence (of love, comfort, knowing what to do) when we find ourselves in the desert of a particular moment, feeling, situation.”

And … “if compulsive eating is anything, it’s a way we leave ourselves when life gets hard”

and finally … “The way we are able to accomplish all of this is by the simple act of bolting–of leaving ourselves–hundreds of times a day.”

If you’re anything like most of us, it’s the running away part that is the most consistent.  Although Geneen Roth in Women Food and God uses food as a drug of choice, the running away, the not willing to face the moment is what rings true.  And running away comes in so many forms

* anesthetic: food, alcohol, drugs … anything the deadens the feelings
* distraction: TV, parties, superficial relationships … anything that distracts us from the feelings
* disconnection: travel, work, overly committed organizations … anything that requires your attention away from your feelings

When things got tough for me, I used to say “I want to go home” even when I was in my house.  You know it, it’s the “a house is not a home” concept.  I defined home as a place where I was safe.  A place where I was unconditionally accepted.  A place where I could be vulnerable and experience my feelings without the need to protect myself all the time.

I believe a vulnerable place to experience feelings is at the crux of the matter.  Not a place where your feelings are discounted, but a place where you can feel what you feel.  It drives me crazy when someone is crying and they are told “it will be alright”.  Being alright is not the point.  Being able to cry is the point, being able to feel is the point.

So here’s my question: “Where can you go to be vulnerable to experience the feelings?”  Maybe it’s a physical place, maybe it’s an emotional space, maybe it’s someone’s arms.  But it’s a place you can call home.  A place you don’t have to run away from.  A place you can run to.  So when you’re about to run away, to apply some anesthetic drug, distract yourself from the truth, or disconnect by getting on a plane/train/or automobile, ask yourself … where’s home.

See you on the wire

— Steven Cardinale

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