I have just finished a 30-day elimination of alcohol and processed sugar. If you have ever thought that you didn’t have any unhealthy attachments, try eliminating something from your routine for a month! The challenge came not so much from missing the actual alcohol or sugar but rather from noticing the attachment I have had over the years with these things. I consider myself to have a healthy relationship with both things, enjoying each in moderation with the occasional overindulgence. So, I was very surprised to see how difficult it was to remove these things from my life for an entire month. I found myself feeling restricted and unfairly limited. All strange, considering this was something I was voluntarily doing to myself.
It’s always interesting to examine our suffering, which I consider to be anything in the present moment that differs from our expectations. My expectation was that I should be able to have whatever my little heart desired, which on some evenings was a glass of wine and some chocolate. When my present moment reality wasn’t providing me with those things that I felt so entitled to indulge in, it caused discontent, which is a form of suffering. My default of dealing with suffering is to not deal with it at all! We typically have 4 default modes we resort to when faced with various forms of suffering: avoidance, manipulation, victimizing ourselves, or acceptance. When this suffering came up for me, I really focused on letting my initial reaction to resist the suffering (in this case resistance would look like going out to the grocery to buy that bottle of wine or that bar of chocolate rather than sitting with the discomfort). The opposite of resistance is acceptance. Once I could sit with the discomfort without running away, I was able to accept my present reality and focus on the health benefits of what I was trying to do.
On my never-ending journey to personal growth and inner peace, I have become very interested in getting to know myself better. I want to understand all the things that make me who I am, and this means sometimes getting brutally honest with myself. These things I was choosing to give up had been a part of my life for many years and what may look like a healthy relationship on the outside, could really be an unhealthy attachment on the inside. We all have that little voice inside our head that makes suggestions from time to time, “I should really stop eating fast food” or “I should really stop drinking on the weekends”, but then we brush that voice off and move onto our next distraction. Eventually, we stop listening to that voice altogether, becoming a very limited version of ourselves.
I am writing all of this to say, if you have a little voice in your head that is making suggestions from time to time, telling you to give up certain things you’ve become too attached to or distracted by, maybe you should try listening to it. Chances are, it’s your intuition telling you this thing you are attached to is standing in your way of becoming the best version of yourself.
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International Yoga Trainer,