“I had an epiphany.”
We’ve all felt that inspiring moment of realization at one time or another, the powerful insight that was going to change everything. It’s a great feeling, right?
Okay, you had an epiphany. So, now what?
While reading Step 2 in the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous this morning – yes, I admit I’m an overeater – I was hit by a wave of epiphany.
As part of my work in this program I’ve committed to “no dieting”. Dieting, I’ve learned, for me is an aspect of the compulsive behavior that’s part of the problem and not the solution. Intellectually, makes a lot of sense. But, as a lifelong planner, my mind got to working: how was I going to shed these extra pounds if I don’t diet? Hmmm.
I have to figure this out. Cut portions? Cut bread? Cut chocolate? Cut sugar? Cut carbs? Cut, cut cut. What, so now I’m a cutter? All of a sudden I pictured myself as a paper doll, trying to stay on the lines as I cut out a perfect image, slicing through the parts I don’t like.
Ah, therein lies the dark side of dieting, the mysterious abyss that is full of magnets covered in maple sugar, Parmesan cheese and size 4 jeans. And, on the other side of the abyss is a life of freedom, of acceptance, of willingness.
I’ve read Step 2 several times; it’s all about surrendering to a power greater than us. Again, intellectually I buy into this. I meditate, pray and journal everyday, asking for guidance and aligning myself in gratitude for what’s working in my life. I get it. But this time I read it with that question in mind, “How can I drop these extra pounds if I don’t diet?”
That’s when the epiphany came.
That’s when I realized I hadn’t “gotten it”, not really, not at a cutter level, not where I live. The question floated into my mind and then the words on the page leapt up to meet it. “God loves us in our totality and is willing and able to help us in everything we do, that God will help us with every decision, even food choices and amounts.”
There it is. Epiphany. The bells tolled over the abyss and a faint bridge appeared, albeit a transparent one but nevertheless a bridge, to the other side of acceptance and willingness.
It got me thinking about epiphanies and how often they show up in our lives. A light turns on, we have an aha moment where a realization hits home in a way it hasn’t before. It’s enlightening and can be life changing.
But, this is where the rubber meets the road. What we do with the epiphany - the awakening - is what matters, right? The doing looks different for everyone. Sometimes the doing is not actually “doing” anything. It’s being the epiphany. Living the realization, one day, one hour, one moment, one second at a time. It’s returning to the feeling evoked when the bells of epiphany first started ringing.
The first step is to recognize it’s a new thought, a new feeling. It might bring up some fears of the unknown and fears that we won’t be able to stay in the new thought. The first tendency might be to turn the other way, to go back into hiding behind the old frame of mind where it’s familiar and seemingly safe. That’s my habit sometimes.
But, the second step is to stop. To breathe. To remember. To align our new feelings with the new thought. Ahhh. To relish in that space.
The third step might be to share it with someone. As soon as you give voice to it, the resonance deepens and starts to become part of your physical, emotional and spiritual vernacular.
A little bit today, more tomorrow and so it continues as you listen with a more familiar ear for those bells of epiphany to toll until they become part of your life’s symphony.