Tag Archives: illness

Fear of Dying by Diet

When I think of dying, I am not afraid.  After a very low spot (physical) several years ago, I lost that fear. Or I thought I had.

Once again I must honor the presence of my convoluted thinking.

Weight has always been an issue for me.  As a chubby child, I took a lot of ribbing.  There’s no doubt that I carried that child within me for years and failed to appreciate my perfectly acceptable body through my younger years.

In my parenting years I’m not sure that I could blame my increased weight on child-bearing, although it definitely had an effect.  My subjugation of self for the benefit of others probably had more to do with it.  I ate my way through exhaustion, anger, grief, overwhelm, and you-name-it! Then, as I gained more of a sense of myself, I began to shed the worst of my pudgy pounds.

Although I have never been (what I would call) obese, I carried some extra weight with me for a long time – both psychically and physically.  Then several years ago I decided that my looks were not at issue – it was my health that was at issue.  I changed my diet and my lifestyle in order to age as a lean machine.

It just didn’t work.

I have lost enough to feel better but those last pounds won’t go away. Although I eat an exemplary diet, I continue to hover around the same weight.  I exercise more.  I eat less.  I lose.  I gain.  The result is healthy but static and more than I’d like  to carry into my coming years.

Recently, I began having a few health issues. Nothing serious (I hope), just a mystery fever that comes and goes at will. While the doctors are puzzling, my sisters and I talk and question and scare ourselves looking up symptoms on the internet. Yesterday I admitted to her that I am losing weight.

“I hope I’m not dying”, I said.

My sister began snorting with laughter. She couldn’t catch her breath. Mystified, I chuckled along with her, waiting for an explanation. “OMG,” she said, “that’s just what I would think!”

When she caught her breath we talked aobut it. It became a serious conversation. We have watched friends and even our own parents stop eating and decline. Our dear sister who died of cancere become emaciated and resembled a holocaust survivor when she died. Our true feelings around being thin have some grim memories attached.

It does seem a bit silly to think that I cling to those last 15 pounds so that I can feel robust when I look in the mirror. Ultimately, I can laugh with her. We acknowledge our unconscious fear of weight loss as an unexplored aspect of our fear of dying.

Who knew?

The Student

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Filed under Self-examination, You Become What You Believe

Control is an Illusion

“Since death is certain, but the time of death is uncertain, what is the most important thing? Pema Chodron

I am always out of control. Yet I cling to the illusion of a life that I can delineate. I set intentions. I make plans. And then life happens.

My younger daughter was seriously ill in the hospital after a few critical days of pneumonia and septic shock. She’s better now, and I can breathe.

And I have a reminder that I do not maintain order in my life although I am the beneficiary of it at times. I can plan, I can organize, I can get involved in daily routines that feel vitally important. I can consider myself indispensable and worry about everything from keeping appointments to putting healthy meals on the table.

Poof…it all disappears as I sit for hours in a hospital chair, mindless of what was compelling a few hours ago.

I no longer care if the leftover chicken rots and the clothes heap up in the laundry room. I skip my morning routines to make sure my daughter has a healthy smoothie when she wakes in the morning. My hair begins to stand on end and I look down to discover a spot on my jacket that a week before would have embarrassed me. Now I idly examine it, wondering what and when without much interest. Mirrors are not a reality for the moment.

It is another reminder to seek what is important in my life. Another reason to drop form and look for substance. A recognition that uncertainty is a way to practice acceptance. And that acceptance is letting go of control.

The Student

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Filed under Pema Chodron, Quotations

Once more, Gratitude

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘Thank You’, that would suffice.” Tolle

My daughter has been deathly ill in the last few days since she returned from an extended trip in India. 

I am grateful…

That her husband (with my strong support) demanded that she visit the doctor.

That she made it home before she collapsed. (She did, however, faint on the return flight.) But, had she been critical in India, I might not have been able to reach my virtual friends there in time to find the path to the best care possible. And we, her family, would not have been with her in this crucial time to help with decisions and offer encouragement.

That she has personal friends who are physicians and that they somehow (I don’t yet know how) heard of her collapse and appeared in emergency room to help manage the care that may well have saved her life.

That her brother, who was with her in India  and was also becoming ill on his return, is suffering only with a normal flu and is doing fine.

That she has stepped away from the precipice and will soon be out of the woods on her slow road to recovery.

How could I not be grateful that we are able to reach out and hold her in our arms and whisper words in her ears.

Thank you

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Filed under Eckhart Tolle, Quotations, World Religions