author of the oarsman
Habits Dissolve
March 16, 2017

I was busy with work and so only took a very quick walk this morning at the VRP (Ventura River Preserve). I haven’t been there in almost a year, so it was nice to walk the dusty, familiar trails. A few people out on horses  nodded as they passed. The horses seemed to nod too, but perhaps they were just trying to get rid of pestering flies.

I walked by a tree with peeling bark and thanked it for its uniqueness, and by the time I got to the uphill part of the path, began thanking my heart for picking up its beat. The river was full of water — the fullest I have seen it in two years, so I stood for a while to hear the laughing of its motion. I found the boulders to walk across, but couldn’t leave just yet, so I stopped and thanked the water for its aliveness.

As I stood, I felt a free and open space inside. That space was a mix of openness, appreciation, self-recognition, and happiness, all due to seeing and feeling — over the past few weeks — that my stubborn habits had dissolved forever.

Even though I lost a hundred pounds fifteen years ago, my peace with overeating was always tenuous. Some years I’d be active and eat healthy, other years I’d go through patches of binging, of once again running from life and pain to food.

The last year I went through a challenging dark-night, where the habit of escaping seemed to come back as strong as when they were first born. I binged and binged, had some clear weeks where I breathed easy, but then the whole thing repeated. It felt like dark hands tightening around my neck and life.

Every time the urge to run to food arose, I tried to look at the sadness underneath it, for I had seen in the past that that sadness was only a rumbling of love. But even so, my thought patterns were too overpowering in their bargaining. They would win out and I would give in.

Over the past month, I began looking at other energies, at boredom, at happiness, at shapes and forms like trees and chairs, and began getting more entrenched in seeing all these energies as me. Armed with this ‘spiritual breathing room’, when sadness returned, I dove more fully into it, and saw it so clearly. The intensity of the emotion translated to an intensity of Loving self-recognition when not run from.

The trickling of the water took me out of the inner free space and to the freedom of the outer. The water was no different than me, as were the trees, rocks, and flitting lizards. The energy of habits painted the sky and two stubborn clouds still lingering, for that energy was no different than the plain elusiveness of me as everything-ness.