“I’ll start over on Monday” and other ways we miss the NOW

Sitting down to practice this morning, I opened one of my favorite dharma books, Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron, to this page on Nowness:


Chodron tells the story of a proud woman in search of enlightenment. She goes to great lengths to attain it but is then surprised to learn what enlightenment requires: waking up to the present moment, in all of it’s banal, uncomfortable, inglorious reality. Chrodron goes on to write:

Now—that’s the key. Mindfulness trains us to be awake and alive, fully curious, about now. The out-breath is now, the in-breath is now, waking up from our fantasies is now, and even the fantasies are now. The more you can be completely now, the more you realize that you’re always standing in the middle of a sacred circle. It’s no small affair, whether you’re brushing your teeth or cooling your food or wiping your bottom. Whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it now.

I’d go so far as to say that every aspect of eating and how we relate to our bodies is also now. When we say things like “I’ll start over on Monday,” “I’ll be so much happier when I lose the weight,” or eat something that we think we shouldn’t and then do what I affectionately call “screw-it snacking,” we are tripping ourselves up and missing the opportunity to be happy and kind to ourselves right now, in the present moment.

What if, instead of seeing eating as a black and white issue, we softened toward the grayness, the imperfection, and the slight messiness of the moment?

When I practice doing this, I am more able to notice what my body is telling me, whether it wants to eat or needs something else entirely. I become more connected to what is actually unfolding in the moment, without being distracted by an impenetrable narrative about being out of control, not knowing what I need, or viewing my weight as an indicator of my value.

What do you notice when you welcome in the now?

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