Some old negative thoughts have crept back into my mind the last few days because the scale is up a few pounds. For three days, I’ve weighed 130, up from my preferred 128. I know, I know, two pounds is no big deal, and if it were only for a day, maybe two, I’d agree. But this is day three and I’m ticked. Not worried. Ticked. I’m not worried because I know I’ll figure out what’s going on (and I’m pretty sure I’ll discover it’s nothing I’m doing, rather it’s biological and related to the warm, humid weather).
So if I’m not worried, why am I ticked?
Because I feel like I’ve failed. Yup, just three days of two measly pounds over my preferred weight and I’m a failure. THAT, my friends, is how my mind works. And THAT is what I’m working to improve: to stop the negative thoughts and cultivate a more peaceful, curious mind.
Aside from excess skin questions, the two questions I get asked most are “What do you eat?” and “What is your exercise regimen?” Valid questions, but the further along this weight journey I travel, it’s becoming more clear that the best question to ask might be, “How do you take care of your mind?” Without understanding our goals and committing to achieving them, and more importantly, understanding how we view ourselves as a human being, what we eat and how we move is almost moot.
In a recent Tricycle Community newsletter, Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron wrote an excellent piece on gossip called “The Truth About Gossip.” She writes:
“I’ve found that the best antidote to gossip is deliberately and consistently meditating on the kindness of others and cultivating lovingkindness toward them. Sit down sometime and reflect on everything others have done for you since you were born…It’s truly amazing how much others have done for us.
“When our minds become convinced that we’ve been the recipients of a tremendous amount of kindness in our lives, the wish to speak ill of others vanishes. Instead, we become happy to talk about others’ good qualities, virtuous activities, accomplishments, and good fortune.”
When I tell myself I’ve failed, it’s like I’m gossiping about myself: “What does she know about losing weight or maintaining weight? She just gained two pounds! She doesn’t know her ass from a hole in the ground.”
When I read Chodron’s piece, I turned the meditation towards myself. What kindnesses have I shown MYSELF since I was born and how can I cultivate lovingkindness towards me?
I’m still working my way through this meditation – probably will for many days, months and years – but it’s clear I’ve done many more good things for myself than bad. I've accomplished a lot of good things, beyond losing weight and getting fit. My hope is that soon I’ll be happy to talk to myself more about my good qualities and stop this internal gossip.