Clutter-Overweight-In Debt-Hate Job

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Postby Planescape » Sun Feb 15, 2004 7:43 am

Family issues - I agree with the statement that it is important to look back at one's past without staring. You cannot blame your parents your entire life, but neither can you grow without confronting painful issues that stump growth.
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Postby Quest » Sun Feb 15, 2004 8:27 am

Assumptions and stereotypes of people, based on characteristics that one sees, thinks, or thinks they know about others is dangerous territory, IMHO, bordering on prejudicial. Isn't this just another example of 'conditioning' by society? That we all need to be a certain way in order to be considered 'optimal' or even 'acceptable'? It gives us all some common terms and concepts with which we can communicate. All the while, people like Dr. Phil are making huge amounts of money capitalizing on such. The concept that Dr. Phil perpetuates (i.e., that we live the life we expect) is only a part of the picture. But people eat it up because it gives such a sense of control. It's a 'fix' we love to ingest. Meanwhile, the poor are getting poorer, the middle-class are shrinking, many go without medical treatment because they can't afford it, etc. But, hey, buy another book by another guru and 'the ultimate answers' may be contained within. And, no doubt, for some, the books are helpful for whatever reasons. I'm not convinced real, core change can happen until people have a level of self-acceptance that transcends the blatant, back-handed, or subtle judgments of others. At some point that means putting down all the self-help books and coming to a realization that can only be defined by the self. [This message has been edited by Quest (edited February 15, 2004).]
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Postby Tituba » Sun Feb 15, 2004 8:57 am

Quest - you make very good points. How does one identify and change core issues? I only see the symptoms in myself.
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Postby soni » Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:02 am

Fear, or rather an absence of love. Fear, and not hate, is the "dark side" or opposite/absense of love, the way darkness is the opposite/absense of light. Unhealthy or uncontrolled overweight or fanatic perfection both stem from fear. In the first, food is used to comfort and retreat into- a true friend that never lets you down, whereas in the latter (and sometimes the former), control over the body is grasped after to replace a loss of control elsewhere in life. Clutter is almost always fear-based - fear of not having something and needing it, fear of getting rid of something important, fear of leaving oneself open to new things whether they be actual material objects or life experiences (neither of which can come in because your life is already full, let alone having new people over), fear of being alone with oneself (clutter requires so much of our energy to deal with and work around, it can serve as a sort of mental static to keep us too busy to think about important things). Debt is another symptom of fear - people get into debt for many fear-based reasons (like needing stuff to make themselves feel better, or for fear of not keeping up with the Jones' and being socially outcast). Another part to this equation is that many people will not get rid of their access to credit (cut up cards, etc) because there is always that "what if an emergency happens and we don't have cash on hand to pay for it?" which is made moot by the fact that most of their credit cards are maxed out anyway. debt is also a symptom of the fear of doing without, even when carried to extremes. The fear of going without and the feelings of "being without" fancy clothes or expensive meals out is no less than the fear and experience of going without basic clothing and food, although the reality of going without either is different. Working at a job you hate is nothing but fear - fear of not having enough, fear of quitting and not being able to find other work (or finding it and being stuck with something even worse), fear of not being to keep up with your "stuff habit" or your debt, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of relying on yourself, fear of doing things differently or out-of-the-box (running your own business, running off to Mexico, etc), fear of letting the family down, fear of "wasting" your education, fear of what other will say, think, fear that your mom/dad/sister/evil art teacher/etc were right and so on. Fear is the basis for pretty much all human suffering, not counting natural disasters and the like. And the opposite of fear is love. Love creates an ecosphere of calm and plenty, because you know there is enough (if only just enough) and so feel no need to "get mine before someone else does", nor do you feel the need to horde (clutter) or gather in more than you can afford (debt) to assure yourself of plenty. In a world of love, all are accepted and loved for their own personal strengths and forgiven their faults, therefore negating the need for drowning in the comfort of stuff and food (debt and overweight), or worrying about what others will think if you quit your job to become a Mexican protrait painter (toxic job). And on and on. Learn to live with love, for yourself and for others, even when they don't meet your standards (even the rich and awful deserve your love, for they have their good points too - providing jobs, etc). Creating a world of love is up to each of us. We cannot wait to see if others take the first step. They are waiting for us. So march!
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Postby Tituba » Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:39 am

Wow, Soni. What a great piece of writing. Lots of useful insights!
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Postby Quest » Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:54 pm

This is an interesting thread. Clutter is there because it can be. Debt is there because it can be. Extra weight is there because it can be. And the hate of one's job is there because it can be. I agree, Tituba, these can all be symptoms. I wonder what the symptoms were in the days when people possessed only the goods and food to sustain themselves...where debt didn't exist (you either had it or you didn't)...where a job was a job. I appreciate a lot of what Soni wrote (Marianne Williamson has written much about the issue of fear and love too)...but I do think there is a continuum involved in all of this. On the one hand, yes, fear can result in obesity, clutter, debt, and job disdain. But not always. I think there are some people who are overweight, in debt, cluttered or job-disdainers (don't know if that's a word or not but it works!) who don't feel the fear to the degree we could suspect. I just don't think we can say we 'know' what really motivates another person. We can only do that for ourselves. And I think it's a misnomer to make wide sweeping assumptions or judgments about anyone. (One could say that what I just said is guilty of the same! Image!) How many of us understand love as well as we understand fear? When we are told to 'love' ...what does that 'realistically' mean in day-to-day interactions? Not too long ago, Soni, I read a post of yours where you talked about how little you had in common with the women in the community where you live. You indicated that these women got together to gossip, etc., and it didn't sound like you wanted to be part of that. Consequently, you said that this board is where you've found some kindred spirits. Now, how do you go out and realistically 'love' that group of women. Do you challenge them on the gossip? Do you remain mute about the gossip, but interact with them, having the intention of trying to model a more positive type of interaction? Do you accept them as they are and have no expectations that they change? Or do you make a choice not to interact with them? Which really is the most loving? So talk to me about love. Realistically. On ground level. I don't ask this to flame the conversation. I ask this because I read and hear how we are to love, and the topic is really as old as the major spiritual traditions, but something seems to be missing. Or, maybe there is simply too big a leap between fear and love. And striving for somewhere in between isn't a bad thing--or is it? Or maybe I just don't want to live that consciously because it seems like it hurts more than it feels good. Go figure! ;^) [This message has been edited by Quest (edited February 15, 2004).]
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Postby Tituba » Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:30 pm

This thread has certainly generated a lot of thoughtful responses. I put this out there because I was wondering if there was a common denominator. As these things tend to be my obstacles - and other posters as well - I thought perhaps stirring it up and getting perspectives would help all of us. I've certainly learned alot from these posts. Thank you all for taking the time to post!
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Postby chrisgo » Sun Feb 15, 2004 4:48 pm

I've found that debt, clutter, excess weight, wrong job - all relate to my core issues. (BTW - I believe that core issues are just that - Core - and can't be changed. We have to learn to recognize when they are being "triggered" and then respond differently.) I spend rather than save because I was taught if I saved, someone would take the money away from me. I have had a tremendous amount of clutter because I was hiding my treasures in it. If I didn't hid them, someone would take them away from me. I am overweight, to hide myself from those who used to say "you're ugly". I turned it into "you're fat". To me, fat, I can change; ugly, just IS, an integral part of me. I'd rather hear something I can change. The job is a bit trickier - parts of it are wonderful, parts are horrid. To have my dream job, I need to take the risk of going out on my own, creating my own workplace and inviting others to join me. My core issue kicks in and i "hear" -- "no one will ever want to be with you." So yes, it all does relate to core issues. I'm working, hard, to learn to respond differently.
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Postby Tituba » Sun Feb 15, 2004 4:58 pm

chrisgo - thank you so much for sharing with us. There was alot of pain in your post and I want you to know you can always run your thoughts by us. I think identification is half the battle. We all have similar struggles.
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Postby docsue » Sun Feb 15, 2004 6:06 pm

This is such a wonderful, thoughtful conversation! I believe that we hold these things - clutter, weight, debt, etc. because they somehow serve us - either by generating pity or preventing progress. It's hard to learn to love ourselves enough to accept whatever is and keep or let go of parts of the picture. There's already a lot of good advice on this thread about how to move out of this space. I just want to add that the picture under this picture is so incredibly beautiful that once you peel back just one corner of this protective coating, there is no turning back!
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Postby Jeepdream » Sun Feb 15, 2004 10:39 pm

"UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT" was the first thing in my mind that popped up to what Quest was wondering about soni's 'love overcoming fear' thoughts. I have had a few friends and a couple jobs where I felt fully supported. As in I could do no wrong and with them behind me I actually felt like I COULD do anything~! Those are the ones that I would lick boots to have again. Image I think it is a matter of also knowing that I had them in the past so I know there is the chance new "unconditional support" people will be in my life. I am happy that I have found a type of unconditional "creative endeaver" support from many on this board and I didn't have to lick any boots~! Image
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Postby engelein » Mon Feb 16, 2004 1:39 am

Tituba, thanks for clarifying that this wasn't some label you want to post on people, but some things you are looking to tackle yourself. That makes it easier to get behind your thinking, and wasn't immediately apparent to me, sorry. I have no debt, and I work in a job I can live with while I try to get more singing work. Maybe I can throw in some (more constructive) thoughts on the excess weight and clutter. I very much agree with Soni's post above. Something I have often noticed, for example, is that often the poorest people in society are those who buy "label" goods, and that middle classes who have more money often buy less expensive goods. I saw this at school where those with unemployed parents (I come from an area with mad/bad unemployment levels) would be strutting around in Nike or Adidas shoes / clothing, and those of us who's parents had more money to spare would be in no-label clothing. I saw it again at work, where the most expensive cars in the parking lot were owned by some of those who earn the least (and presumably bought on credit). The most tatty looking old runabouts belonged to the academics. The only thing that I can conclude from this is that people try to compensate for the lack of money by surrounding themselves with status symbols. Well, I guess thatwas a wander off on the subject of debt I didn't intend to have... But the theory holds true for a lot of other things. Part of the reason people can get so overweight is because they spend half their lives dieting, and the "healthy" part of their mind eventually rebels against such depreivation and eats the body a "safe" weight back on - i.e. the renowned "weight lost + 20%". Basically they gain the extra weight in an unconcious attempt to combat the next famine. So this is one mechanism which can lead to weight gain. Of course their can be more psychological reasons too - eating on a "safety blanket" against unwanted sexual advances or other attention. The challenge I throw to those of you who are overweight is: what are you waiting for? By which I mean why let your weight get in the way of doing what you want to do *now*. There's nothing stopping you from unpacking the swimsuit an getting to the beach.... Well, of course there is, I know, there's this whole great fear of being heckled and teased and "not coming up to scratch", which comes back to Soni's great piece of writing again. Anyway, I refer you to "When women stop hating their bodies" by Hirschmann and Munter for more on living your life to the fullest despite being overweight. Clutter can be similar I guess - there are those who hoarde because they fear "going without" - saving everything that they might possibly ever need again, "just in case". I've finally got myself out of that one, though I'm not sure exactly how. My bf is less of a pack rat and he finally reminded me that a lot of things can be bought again if we really need them three years down the line. Hmmm, I know its not that simple though. Another thing to think about with clutter though, is *why* we keep certain items. A lot of women have a wardrobe in four or five sizes (to get back to the overweight bit again). Why? (and this goes for me too) Because so long as we have some size 8 clothes in ourwardrobes, their is hope that one day we might get back into them. To give up and give away those size 8s and 10s means giving up on the idea that we might ever be thin again. And that is a lot of emotional work. The thing is though, that so long as those 8s and 10s are in the wardrobe, they scream at "bad girl" at us every time we open the door. Lots of emotional distress there too. And I guess something similar goes on with other stuff. e.g. stuff we may have saved from our own childhoods in the hope of passing it on to our own children - and having to face the reality that children are unlikely to come after 45, but a painful reality people don't want to face, and so the stuff is kept. Or there is a part of the child in us we need to get back in touch with, and we can't face doign this and can't let go of that child's toys until that problem has been cleared. There are bound to be lots and lots of example like that. Which is one reason I can get really mad at flylady - she gets rid of the clutter without looking at the reasons and emotional issues behind the clutter - so you can throw stuff out and really regret it later.
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Postby soni » Mon Feb 16, 2004 10:57 am

Quest - I love them wholeheartedly, because I know that they are literally my soul sisters (and brothers) under the naked-ape suits that limit their perceptions and therefore lead them behave badly due to those faulty perceptions. None of these people are anything less than manifestations of God's divine energy. How can I not love them? I do not, however, love what they do - so I keep myself apart from them so that I do not end up participating or (as is more likely, knowing my loathing of direct confrontation - an issue I struggle with constantly) sitting back and doing nothing and feeling horrible about it. If asked to join the group (whatever that may be), I might if I had a strong reason to do so or felt I might be able to do good through doing so. But I would not join in the "reindeer games" and if asked to I would clearly state that I would not care to speak ill of anyone or their motives, especially when they are not there to defend themselves (that's not exactly confrontation, so I can get squeak by my internal censors with it). However, I also know that there is a near certainty that these people are also here, being as they are and acting as they are, for the purpose of offering me a chance to behave well, set a good example and maybe change a few attitudes toward the better via osmosis (and therefore advance spiritually), so this also creates in me a feeling of love and gratitude for their allowing me the opportunity to grow. It cannot be easy for the soul "within the suit" to act that un-lovingly (even if it is for the greater good), and so I appreciate the effort taken. Love and fear (and the endless permutations thereof) are all there is. You have to pick. I choose love for very selfish reasons - it's way more fun and not nearly so universally awful, even if it is scary from time to time! Okay, so it isn't easy sometimes, and other times it seems downright impossible. But the same goes for living with, in, and through fear. If I'm going to have to make all that effort in any case, I might as well end up with love at the end of it. Image
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Postby Quest » Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:48 pm

Thank you, soni. Parts of what you write really do resonate with me. Other parts, I struggle with. But that's as it is or needs to be. Means they deserve further attention as I move along my path. Appreciate your willingness to share.
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Postby soni » Tue Feb 17, 2004 10:22 am

It ain't easy for anybody, but if it were it wouldn't mean anything when you succeeded. Since it is a struggle, whenever I do manage to live up to my own expectations of how I should behave, it feels really great, thus reinforcing further improvements. Enjoy the struggle - it makes the prize worth having.
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