A Little Bit of Willingness

It’s a lovely morning, and my Lazygirl and I are huddled together contemplating the start of a new day. I sit down to meditate and my mind marches me into the kitchen to see what there is to eat. I do that a lot lately. Pretty much since the start of the pandemic lockdown, I think.

Pre-pandemic, I had myself in proper working order; at least I thought I did. I’d conquered my unhealthy, fattening habits like, smoking, drinking too much wine, and overeating. If there is anyone out there who has ever hung out in an “anon” group, you’ll know what I’m talking about. One can abstain from smoking and drinking, but it’s mighty hard to abstain from food. 

Well, so anyway, I had it all together with my eating habits. Tiny breakfast, BIG lunch, often at a restaurant, a light graze at dinnertime, and I can still button my skinny jeans. Snatch the restaurant out from under me, add Covid, and well, it’s all over. Suddenly I can’t stay out of the kitchen and I’m wrestling with my corrective jeans. It’s humbling.

Given my extensive past experience in the “anon” world, I should be able to get over this, right? 

Oops—wait—I’m shoulding all over myself again. I should be able to get over that too, right? Cheech. It’s always something!

Anyway, I’ve tried my usual tactic of asking my Self for help, but for some reason, breakfast still seeps into my morning meditation, and the kitchen continues to beckon like a shiny gemstone in the sunshine. I have asked—why have I not received?

Slowly it begins to dawn on me that maybe I am low on willingness. Maybe I am too lazy to do what it takes to eat a healthier diet, or too unfocused, or too comfortable with my head in the fridge to be bothered with changing my ways. Or maybe I just really don’t want to make a commitment to change. 

By necessity, I’ve moved from restaurant fare to new recipes that I try on myself that are idiot proof and easy; recipes with pasta, recipes that provide easy leftovers for later. Later comes frequently these days—often in the middle of meditation, or while writing a blog. Food beckons, I forage, and eat to satisfy whatever seems to be missing, whether I’m hungry or not. Do I listen to my body? Nah.

Pre-pandemic, I did a lot of self-congratulations for having enough self-discipline to be trusted alone with a with a cheesecake. Then along came Covid and interrupted my routine. I fell off the wall, broke into bits and pieces, and now I have to put myself back together again. Pride goeth before a fall, it is said, and aren’t I just the perfect example of that? So much for the back pats. Again I say, it’s humbling.

One of the lessons that I have learned in my lofty experience of anons and such, is that the success or failure of any desired change begins with willingness. It is wholly dependent on the willingness to be totally and completely free of whatever obstacle stands in the way of happiness, whether it is a cigarette, a glass of wine, a hunk of chocolate cheesecake, or an unforgiven anger. Without willingness, I’m doomed.

Sometimes it isn’t easy to get to true willingness. There were many reasons why I wanted to quit smoking for example. It’s a disgusting habit. It’s unhealthy. It’s expensive. It burns holes in things. My clothes and hair smelled like an ashtray full of stale cigarette butts. It was becoming harder to smoke in public places. My smoker’s cough was frightening. It wasn’t good for my self-esteem

I really wanted to quit, and so I acquiesced and opted for willingness. But didn’t work. If I was willing, why wasn’t it working?

After another round of serious soul searching, I discovered the truth. The bottom line was that I was not truly, truly willing. Yes, I wanted to give up the filthy habit, but the fact was, the part of me that loved to smoke was reluctant. I was focused on what I perceived that I would be losing. I was not totally, completely, wholly, willing to quit smoking. I was my own obstacle. 

Then I received a idea from my trusty Voice. It said, “Add a willing.”

So I did. I was willing to be willing. Ah. That helped. Maybe it would be good to add another willing or two, just for good measure. So I became truly willing to be willing to be willing.

About two weeks later, I woke up one morning as a non-smoker. The habit simply let go of me of its own volition and, unlike many unsuccessful attempts in the past, the desire to have “just one” cigarette went up in a puff of smoke and vanished into the ethers, never to return.

A three-pack-a-day smoking habit simply dropped out of my life after thirty-five years. All it took was just a little bit of willingness. Or two.

So now I’ll have to get busy, put my money where my mouth is, and ask myself if I’m really, really willing to remove my head from the fridge. If not, why? What’s in it for me to continue a habit that makes me unhappy—and uncomfortable in my skinny jeans?

Hmm. Am I being ruled by my tastebuds? Am I looking for comfort somewhere outside of myself rather than finding it within? What might be keeping me tripping the light fantastic into the kitchen? I don’t know the answer to those questions right now, but I think it might behoove me to do a little digging to find out. Meanwhile, I’ll work on increasing my willingness.

Here’s a tiny hint about how willingness works—I’m beginning to realize that I don’t feel very swell after one of my unscheduled visits to the feeding trough. It’s a clue. Maybe soon I’ll wake up and realize that I’ll feel a whole lot better if I forego all of those unscheduled trips. Maybe one day soon, I’ll easily zip up my skinny jeans, and discover that I’ve returned to my pre-pandemic size and sanity. Who knows?  

Stay tuned. I’ll let you know how I do. Meanwhile, would you care to join me in a bit of willingness?

Note:  The photo above is courtesy of New Waves of Light, a website designed by anonymous individuals around the world who share the intention of bringing light and love to a world of darkness and chaos. (newwavesoflight.org or NWOL.us)

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