Friends, I just finished teaching a class on using compassion to eat less sugar, and it was so moving!
One of the themes that came up for many people was softening patterns of overdoing, and creating more spaces of rest and ease.
Without sufficient rest, nourishment, or true relaxation – vs. merely stopping, as one woman put it – our nervous systems stay on high alert. We may feel flooded or overwhelmed, and look to things – sugar, food, media consumption, shopping, work – to nourish ourselves.
We may move from one thing to another without a transition. We may have unrealistic expectations of how much we can – or should – do in a day.
The cycle feeds itself, as we overconsume to nourish ourselves, then overdo to compensate for the overconsuming!
The drive to overdo
The inner drive to ‘do more’ is often a tender one. When we look more closely at this pattern, we may find that we were expected to be the strong one in the family, and so we hid our needs and cared for others.
Or we may find that overdoing is how we cope with anxiety, separation, or loneliness.
When I touched my patterns of overdoing, I found pockets of fear and unworthiness. Overdoing was how I tried to feel safe, and how I tried to feel ‘enough.’ I felt so ashamed about my chronic depression and food struggles that I felt like I needed to ‘make up for them’ by being extra productive and helpful.
But no amount of doing – or overdoing – ever made me feel enough, or ever softened the shame of feeling broken.
Bringing in the warmth of compassion
It’s ironic, but overdoing can bring relief, because it temporarily soothes our anxiety. For a second, anyway, we feel like we’re getting closer to feeling safe, or at rest, or enough.
So it can be painful and uncomfortable to turn away from the drive to overdo, for it means being with this anxiety, and feeling the urge to do what we’ve always done.
What helps – and what we explored as a group in class – is bringing in support – especially the support of compassion. When we bring kindness towards our inner experience – all the drive to do more, to be more productive, to keep going – we feel tender towards ourselves.
The compassion meets the discomfort and anxiety and holds it. We don’t feel so afraid, or so small, or so alone.
We can ask ourselves, “What does this part need from me right now?” Perhaps this part needs to know that it doesn’t hold the world in its hands, that it’s loved and supported. Perhaps this part needs to know that its needs are okay. Perhaps this part needs to be held.
Meeting the need underneath the overdoing and caring for our vulnerability helps us soften, bit by bit by bit.
Here as we close, I have one more thing to share. If you’re thinking of joining me for a class, or you’d like to have the support of a group in a class setting, here’s a peek at my upcoming teaching schedule:
- In August of 2019, I’ll be leading another group through my course on compassionate habit change, Emerge: Create A New Habit. If you or someone you know struggles with eating too much sugar, and you want support to nourish the inner ‘womb’ that makes growth possible, this class may be a good fit for you.
- In September and October, I’ll be teaching When Food is Your Mother, where you’ll learn how to soften a bond with food and deepen the bonds you have with yourself, others and Life itself. This class opens for registration in a few weeks – you can join the waiting list here.
- In early 2020, I’ll be offering Align: Heal the Battle with Your Inner Rebel, a course to soften resistance, rebellion, and heal your relationship with limits.
- In 2020 I’m also offering The Book of Love. This class offers a hands on way to explore all the themes that run through my courses: connection, wholeness, forgiveness, self acceptance, compassion, and more.
In teaching classes for over 12 years now, I’ve learned that group classes are an affordable and helpful way to get support. Learning and sharing with a group makes the healing journey easier, more supported, and more fun. Shame, isolation, and self judgment soften in a group setting, creating a safe space for healing to unfold.
If you’ve felt a nudge to join me or another teacher for a class, but have felt nervous about signing up, I encourage you to give it a try. My free webinars are a great way to see if you connect with me and my approach, and give you a taste of what you’d find in a 6 or 8 week class.
The best way to learn about upcoming webinars is to stay tuned to the newsletter.
If there’s a course or topic that interests you but that I don’t currently offer, I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions. I may be able to point you to a resource from another teacher or it may be a topic that I’ll explore in a future class. Most of my ideas come from you!
What a beautiful approach you have. I gave up sugar some time ago and don’t miss it at all, because the health benefits are so great, and because I’d already cut back for decades. But I know what big emotional issues can surface for so many when they make this change. I will pass this on.
Thank you for your note and kind comments. I enjoyed hearing about your experience – it sounds like eating less sugar happened pretty easily for you. And I think you’re right – that for some, it brings up a lot of challenging emotions. Thank you for passing my post along!