Friday, June 18, 2010

The Awareness Jar

I am 64, have an MBA and ran my own business for several years.  I've published 5 books, been happily married and maintained deep, long-term friendships.  On paper I'm a normal, reasonably intelligent, sane person.

But, yesterday I was bested by a bag of cookies.  Before you get the wrong idea, this wasn't Pepperidge Farm's Milanos, Girl Scouts' Thin Mints or even something from the local deli.  This was a bag of Yogurt Stars I had bought for my granddaughters because I knew I wouldn't eat them ... but then forgot to give them to them when they were here.  These are about a 1.5 out of 10 on the cookie-goodness scale.  But I ate them anyway ... all of them ... in about three rounds ... and it wasn't a mini-bag.  Once or twice I had enough awareness to ask "why?" but not enough to stop. 

Toward the end, it was the same-old refrain of "might as well eat the rest so I can go back to being perfect." For ten or fifteen minutes ... maybe.  But this particular dive into the mediocre prompted a deeper look (why does it always come after the damage is done?).  I've got a new housemate and she has different eating habits than I do and likes to have some things around that I don't resist well ... or at all.  So, I've heard myself asking her to hide them.  I didn't like what I was hearing.  I sound like a baby with no control.  Actually, it's more like a baby with no awareness ... or like a teenager refusing awareness.

Anyway, I've decided that it's time to focus on awareness ... awareness of what I'm trying to block or avoid feeling ... awareness of why I'm stuffing myself with really awful sugar when if I wanted a truly lovely dessert, I could just have it.

So, today I went to Costco and bought 23,254 calories worth of candy ... colorfully wrapped Lindt balls, Almond Roca and minis (you know ... Snickers, Baby Ruths, etc.) ... and a large glass jar to hold it all.  I'm calling it my Awareness Jar (see attached picture).  I wanted it to be as beautiful and appealing as possible ... and everything in it is way better than Yogurt Stars.

When I want sweetness, my Awareness Jar is there but my promise to myself is that I will delve into my emotional and spiritual awareness to find out why I'm wanting it ... BEFORE indulging myself.  After all, there's nothing in that jar that I need for physical sustenance and I know there's nothing in there that is even good for me.  If I have a cookie moment and eat the whole thing, it will make me very sick ... and add a minimum of 7 pounds (at 3500 calories per pound) to my body ... to say nothing of what it would do to my blood sugar.

It's an experiment and I'll let you know how it goes.  If I eat the whole thing, I'll post a picture of my chipmunk face.


  1. Ok, so you made me smile in recognition this morning... except I say, I may as well finish eating the whole thing so I won't be tempted later!

    I'm looking forward to finding out more about your experiment and how it goes.

    My downfall isn't chocolate -- though when I want to stuff my self-awareness, anything will do -- mine is bread and cheese.

    Bread makes me bloated.

    cheese makes me bloated.

    And yet, I'll eat and eat and eat.

    Love the candy jar!

    I'm pulling for you and your self-awareness.

    I can't remember who created this exercise but it goes something like:

    when you want to do something self-defeating, ask yourself, "What's my inner child saying?"

    Listen for the answer and then,

    "What do I need to tell my inner child that will help her feel safe (or calm, or happy -- whatever is your word)?"

    And then, say whatever it is out loud while gently rubbing the place where your heart lies behind your breast bone.

    I've forgotten to do that before devouring a chunk of creamy Cambozola. Thanks for stirring my memory!

    Happy awarenessing!

  2. Let us know how we can support you in this. (And I mean that, because we'll all learn with you.)


  3. Thanks for the support ... just knowing you're here helps.