i’m drinking a strawberry-blueberry-banana-almond milk smoothie, and i’m thinking about choices, and responsibility.
over the past week, and more specifically the past few days, i’ve been eating a lot more junk than i like to. more than i know from experience is good for my body. this morning, i woke up and sensed that i needed some good, quality protein and fat, so i made a rib-eye and fried some free-range eggs in pastured butter. and afterward, i knew i was craving something else, so i intuitively made this smoothie.
then, suddenly this thought came to me – oh, what’s the date? is it a reasonable day to start another whole 30? i don’t really want to wait until the first of december… and then i realized that i don’t have to do a whole 30. i just have to make the choice, every day, every meal, to put things into my body that nourish me.
it’s easy to get stuck in this mentality that favors external motivation, but i know it doesn’t really work that way. life doesn’t work that way. i don’t work that way. these few days of eating junk here and there – i kept telling myself, oh i’ve blown it for today, i’ll start fresh tomorrow. that doesn’t really ever work. the only thing that does work, is doing the next right thing. the thing that is directly in front of me to do at any given moment.
it applies to all sorts of things in my life. it applied when i quit drinking. when i quit smoking. when i try to eat well. when i decide to get enough sleep. when i try to give up coffee. when need to make the choice not to give in to anger or impulses to try to control situations or people. when i decide not to indulge in compulsions that don’t serve the interest of living my highest self, of seeking to fulfill my purpose.
this idea relates to my experience with/views on relationships and the concept of marriage, too. one of my favorite passages from one of my favorite novels, written on the body by jeanette winterson, illustrates it well:
cheating is easy. there’s no swank to infidelity… when i say ‘i will be true to you’ i am drawing a quiet space beyond the reach of other desires. no-one can legislate love; it cannot be given orders or cajoled into service… love is the one thing stronger than desire and the only proper reason to resist temptation. there are those who say that temptation can be barricaded beyond the door. the ones who think that stray desires can be driven out of the heart like the moneychangers from the temple. maybe they can, if you patrol your weak points day and night, don’t look, don’t smell, don’t dream.
the most reliable securicor, church sanctioned and state approved, is marriage. swear you’ll cleave only unto him or her and magically that’s what will happen. adultery is as much about disillusionment as it is about sex. the charm didn’t work. you paid all that money, ate the cake, and it didn’t work. it’s not your fault, is it?
marriage is the flimsiest weapon against desire. you may as well take a pop-gun to a python… when i say ‘i will be true to you’ i must mean it in spite of the formalities, instead of the formalities. if i commit adultery in my heart then i have lost you a little. the bright vision of your face will blur. i may not notice this once or twice, i may pride myself on having enjoyed those fleshy excursions in the most cerebral way. yet i will have blunted that sharp flint that sparks between us, our desire for one another above all else.
the thing is this: if i try to rely on some sort of externally imposed limitation on my behavior, sooner or later it will fail, because it is an illusion. the only real change i can effect is that which comes from within me. and it only comes about when i make a decision to take full responsibility for my actions and choices.
real freedom is a hard-earned reward.