Hitting the Wall, A Wild Ride
At the end of the two-hour orientation class to the weight-loss program for which we had signed up a week or so ago, I looked at Pat and could tell that something was amiss. She had a shocked look in her eyes, and I knew something of consequence was up for her. The other persons in the class and the instructor had left the classroom, and I stayed back with Pat. I was somewhat frightened by her seeming disorientation. What was up?
All I could think to do was slow down. We had to slow down. While it was Pat who was in overwhelm at this moment, both of us had been in a crazy overload this past week, especially the last three days. AND we were not aware of the degree of overwhelm until we sat there looking at each other in the classroom, staring into each other’s eyes.
As we left the classroom we took time to talk to the instructor – maybe even a half an hour or longer following the class. The instructor was patient, wanting to know what had thrown Pat off during the orientation, what seemed to concern her about this program. Pat was not entirely clear, but I pointed out that both of us had been in a state of non-stop activity, and the intensity of the material thrown at us in the orientation class simply pushed Pat over the top. We just had to regroup and get grounded.
It was 4:30 when we left, and we decided to go directly to our favorite restaurant (Texas Roadhouse) just to eat an early supper and see what wanted to happen next. After supper and arriving home we said little. I held Pat for a while as we listened to quiet music. Neither of us was sure exactly what to do to come out of this overwhelm. Around 7:30 Pat adjourned to bed and slept the night away. I stayed up until 11:00 and got my head a bit into the material we had received about the diet. Once I could pace myself in going through the material I was not quite so much in overwhelm.
Pat: My mind says, “So Pat, what do you have to say for yourself?!” It was a voice from childhood she suspected. After simply taking this in she shared that she really did not realize the stress of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday leading into the orientation. “I just don’t believe I have stress – refuse to see it if is there. Others have stress, but I do not. Do you have stress?”
Gary: I do not do a good job of being aware of the stress – I just keep going and going and going. I read aloud an email I had sent to my daughter Sherri last night after Pat went to bed – it was about what I have been into. Pat: Upon listening to me read this, “Sherri will recognize where she gets it from.” Gary: What is the “it”? Pat: What do you think it is? Gary: The go, go, go? Pat: YES – in our AIP spiritual practice we would call this an imbalance. How can we have deep “being experiences” in our lives when we are so caught up in the doing? Pat went on to reflect back to me that even when she is getting ready so we can go out, say to the grocery, I keep on “doing” up the point when we walk out the door.
I confessed to such a time yesterday – I was irritated when Pat was not ready to go to our orientation class. To fill the “precious” three minutes I had to wait for her I began reading one of the Pathwork lectures I was getting ready to record. Pat: How would it feel to drop into spaciousness or emptiness – letting yourself relax into emptiness for those three minutes? Gary: I see this as a mutual situation – just look at your past three days of your own doing, doing, doing. Pat: I agree that this is a mutual issue. It is easier to see in the other what we are blind to in ourselves. She went on, We did not realize the emotional toll the diet would be. In the diet we shall be working to drop food as an emotional crutch – thus changing our relationship with food!
Gary: Maybe the diet threatens to catch us in our pattern of busyness. We have to stop to be very careful in what we are eating. Do we believe giving this much attention to what we eat has value? Perhaps we resist getting caught in just how out of control we are in our busyness – no time for conscious meals. Take another area of our lives: get-aways or vacations. Even to get away for a weekend once a quarter is simply not possible, or, rather, we won’t make getting away a priority. I know much busier couples who, at the same time, find time to go on exotic vacations, sometimes even twice a year. I, we, would be very challenged to do that with any regularity. Give us a workshop any day, and we are there. But a vacation? Not high on the list.
I observed that I was in an enabling role in this pattern. When Pat gets tied up in all kinds of things, taking her away from our USness, I say to myself, “Great! I can work on another Lecture Recording, or spreadsheet, or whatever.” AND, I notice, I really want to do these doings! In the process I kiss our relationship goodbye. I don’t like this about myself, but I do not do anything about it either. All unconscious pattern.
Pat: Food, fat – these armor us against the pains of life. Gary: Yes, this too. Because the instructor said that this diet program will take food off the table as an emotional coping mechanism. I’m not sure I like that! Yet I see the truth in it. Pat: Yes, I really want a right relationship with food! Gary: Yes, but the kid in me says, “Hell no! I care nothing about a healthy relationship with food – I just want to eat!” This is especially true for me who always used food to feel good and cover pain growing up. This intensely structured diet we are embarking upon takes dieting from an unconscious “To Do” – something my strong self-discipline can do with some pride – just watch me follow such and such a food regimen in my good old German way – to a conscious “To Be” state – staying aware of and following my body’s signals and needs as it relates to food. My inner kid fights this – does not want to grow up and be self-responsible in eating.
And I could immediately make the connection to other areas of my life. My little kid does not want to be self-responsible for my own happiness. Rather, “Tell me what I ought to do to be happy, and I’ll do it! But don’t make me have to look for and discover my own road to happiness, don’t make me have to be responsible for my life!” I can smile at this now, and see that this is part, perhaps the central part, of what my spiritual journey is all about – growing up!
Pat: I notice how quick your mind is – seeing so quickly the next step. I find I am having to hurry to keep up. And I’m feeling the same way about the couple’s intensive with Sage and Anthony – the work we are considering doing over a 12-month period beginning in July with a 3-day intensive with them. It’s hard to keep up with you! I am still sitting in the reverberations of where we were yesterday in the classroom. I’m just trying to remember when I was last in such a tizzy.
Gary: Pat, I find I really want to meet you here and not race ahead in my mind! My mind so easily leaves my feelings, my heart behind. Part of my pattern. I am coming to see that our possible work with Sage and Anthony will help us to hook up and be more in synch and connected at deeper levels – especially emotional and spiritual levels. I sense it will change our lives as we have come to know them in our relationship. Our entrenched patterns that form the basis of how we connect with each other will likely be shattered and we shall drop to a deeper level of connection. I am longing to hook up with you at a deeper level, and I don’t know how on my end, and all this scares the hell out of my little kid who wants to stay absolutely in control. I sense we need help in this, and I’m looking forward to working with Sage and Anthony for help in these areas.
My little kid has figured out all the ways of being in relationship with you without getting hurt. I can see how I’ve tried to manipulate you to get what I think I want in our relationship – and coming to see that I do not even know what I want in our relationship! There is a predisposition to codependence in me – and perhaps we are mutual in this, and very unconscious at some pretty deep and important levels. Pat: And there is something called “LOVE” and “CONNECTING” – this is where the real longing is.
Gary: I sense I can be satisfied only by dropping my defenses and patterns in our relationship. To do this, fear comes in big time, though often I am unconscious of this fear driving me. Dare I let go of these patterns that have served and protected me and given me at least some modicum of happiness – all be it pseudo-happiness? Pat: There you have it! Dare I let go?
And with that we adjourned our coffee time and entered meditation time. Still a busy Sunday, but this coffee time is oh so worthwhile for us as we ponder the dimensions of life and attempt to wake up and plot our course with increasing consciousness — together!
With love, Gary