Posted by: cmittermeier | March 16, 2016

Is this the life for me? Mourning a lifestyle that used to be me.

Last few weeks I wrestled, Oiy vey, what can I say? The crux was, “can you see yourself eating a variant of this five or ten years from now?”, which ironically is part of this approaches mission questions!

It’s the protein at every meal again, along with the very limited bread.  I look at these skinny folks at their office, trading ideas like cauliflower pizza crust, smoothies with protein powder… And it just doesn’t feel like me, or even a variant of me I would connect with.  Very definitely, the outsider problem reared its ugly head.  You are not one of them… Yet, as the pondering went on, I realized that embracing a new life was more complicated – it was also about saying “good-bye”.

With any major life shift, no matter how good for us, we leave something behind.  Life is really a series of trades, hopefully trading up and not down.  We start with a base set of habits that in one fashion or another satisfy some base need, in either a good or bad way.  I need nutrition mid afternoon, I can eat a snickers and energy drink or ten almonds and an apple.  I need affection, I can turn to yukky sexual habits within a dangerous abusive relationship, or that need could be satisfied by healthy relationships and continually connecting to the outpouring of Love God has for me.  Both examples are intended to illustrate the massive chasm that spans all sorts of options for satisfying base needs.  With the help of God’s grace, it is possible to trade one set of habits, one set of satisfactions for another, that would hopefully allow us to inch towards a healthier, more God cantered life.  You cannot ditch one habit unless what it satisfied gets satisfied, and as so many habits are there because we lack God’s satisfying love, why so many recovery programs focus on handing things over to that greater power.

But trading means saying good-bye, as well as saying hello.  Before I could take the next steps with this transformation, I had to say some good-byes and it was hard.  I am trading dinners, trading family movie night routines, trading… It took some time to realize this, much less do it.

We all need to mourn, few things in our life were all bad, and it is important to recognize what you are leaving behind.  I adore the Catholic grieving process, because it recognizes so fully the mixed nature of our lives.  We have purgatory, the purification of our loved ones souls.  Our memories go through purgatory as well.  Initially every cuss they spoke, every painful word haunts us, till we find a peace and reconcile.  Forgiveness with the dead is very real, sometimes more real than in life.  As that forgiveness comes, we find happier memories begin to find us, we find ourselves unconsciously replacing things till we all seem to naturally speak only of the good in the dead.  The negative has been cleansed, and only the good remains.  Along the way, we say good-byes, begin to build a new earthly routine.  Not that they are ever forgotten, our lives change to include them in our prayer times and odd personal moments, but the pain of loss slowly no longer consumes us.

No apply this to changing your food pattern. We must process the loss, we must let our food be purified.  Two aspects, so beautifully represented by purgatory: purification and mourning.  So, though I had not set out along this path, my lent was about mourning my old life, and letting go.  For my fellow weight loss friends, it’s worth doing.  Take some time journalling about all the foods and habits that are changing.  Some are not forever good-byes, just massive reductions in frequency, others will be forever good-byes.  Trust that God will purify what ever function they had in your life, and show you the glorified choice.  But never be afraid to cry over their loss.  The sooner you mourn, the sooner a new life can begin.

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