Week One: Hurry and Urgency
This week's theme is, to the best of your ability, to notice when you feel urges to hurry in and around meals.
Day 1 Assignments
Please do this exercise each and every time you eat today, as best you can.
You can begin today by consciously observing any internal sense of hurry as you eat. Notice how you feel (mentally and emotionally) as the food is in your mouth.
Be especially mindful as to whether you feel worried, anxious, in a hurry to swallow. Also be aware of any urgency with regard to putting the food on your plate or with finishing everything on you plate.
What did you experience today?
Again, today focus gentle attention on your internal experiences as you eat, being mindful of any hurry or urgency. Do you hurry as you begin and then relax as you go on? Do you hurry all the way through? Do you only hurry to finish? To swallow? To put the next mouthful in your mouth?
What did you experience today?
Today, again focus on any internal experiences of hurry during the time you eat. Please do not try to slow down if you do notice hurry. The whole point of this month is to reclaim your birthright with regard to eating consciously. Thus, all that is required is that you do your best to notice any experiences of hurry or urgency and do not judge yourself no matter what you find. You deserve nothing but love during these times. Comfort. Safely. Security. And love.
Also, notice today any hurry with regard to what and how you drink. Is there any difference between how you eat and how you drink? Take a few moments during each meal to deliberately slow down your experience so as to see the smaller details, such as hurriedly chewing or hurriedly swallowing.
And be kind to yourself, no matter what you find.
What did you notice today?
By now, you will probably be beginning to be more conscious as to how you feel as you eat.
Today, then, I would ask you to add to this process of conscious observation the time just before you eat. By this, I mean, today I would like you to also notice how you feel in the time just preceding your meals, such as the time in which you are preparing the food, buying the food, driving to the restaurant where you will eat or buy the foods and so on. Notice any underlying sense of urgency or fear, such as thoughts which tell you to hurry or there will be no food left.
Please know, these thoughts, if there, will be entirely irrational and you need have no logical reason to be experiencing them. Many people experience these thoughts.
Again, just notice them and do not judge yourself in any way.
What did you experience today?
Today is day five. Has this process been hard? Have you had any memories surface such as memories which include scenes from childhood? Dinner scenes? Other times? Please just note them and do not try to make sense of what you find. To be honest, we are all new to this, me included.
Today's focus, then, will be to now add to the observation time the period just after eating your meals, especially the five minutes which follow eating. Here again, notice, without judgment, any internal sense of hurry or urgency, and any feelings of fear, anxiety, frustration, etc.
And please hear me say in a gentle voice, thank for you courage. Thank you.
What did you discover today?
Two days to go in this, the first week. Are you doing OK? Have you learned anything about yourself?
If nothing else, I hope you are learning to be easier on yourself with regard to eating in general. And if you are struggling to even find something, please, don't give up. We all have different rates at which we feel comfortable. Be patient with yourself.
Today's assignment is to continue what you have been doing; observe your internal reactions before, during, and after you eat each meal. Include today any food you eat in between meals as well.
Do you hurry more when you eat in between meals? Do you sense any guilt or shame? Do you feel like you must hurry to finish eating before anyone sees you eating? Are you worried someone will judge you for what you are eating?
Here, especially, please be gentle with yourself. We have all been indoctrinated with many message as to our goodness or badness with regard to what we eat and how we eat and when we eat and with whom we eat.
Today, if any of this happens to you, picture that person or group who is or has told you these shaming messages and see yourself telling them to get the hell out of here and to stay away while you eat. If necessary, have someone you love eat with you and as you begin, ask them to tell you they will protect you while you eat; that they will allow no one to criticize you for how or what you eat.
And remember, your goodness comes simply from the fact that you are a child of the Universe, each perfect in your own way even if you can not yet see this perfection.
Did you hurry before, during, or after meals today? What did you notice?
The last day of the first week. How are you doing? Has this been a difficult week?
On this Tuesday, the last day of the first week, please continue to consciously observe yourself before during and after you eat, both for meals and in between meals. Yes, I know this is a lot to do but please, know that this investment will reward you with much you have yet to realize.
Has anyone remarked that they see a change in how you eat? Have you seen a change in how you eat? Are you eating slower? Are you eating less? Do you feel full before you finish what is on your plate?
No matter what you answers, please be gentle with yourself. No one here is getting judged or graded. Everyone is special and lovable. And courageous.
Now, here, at the end of the first week, please take a moment to give yourself credit for all of your efforts this week. And if your experiences are at all like those I have experienced myself, you may be a little overwhelmed. If so, rest tonight. And let no one criticize how you eat, least of all, your inner self.
So, what did you consciously witness this day?
Steven Paglierani is an author, teacher, social worker, and scientist whose writings describe the world through the lens of Asperger's. As a licensed therapist, he teaches others—including those with Asperger's—to stop imitating normal and to be themselves. He's created the first natural description of human personality, a theory wherein everything derives from a single fractal pattern. He's also built and raced Shelby Mustangs, been a singer / song writer mentioned in Rolling Stone, and designed his best friend's home as a wedding gift.