Loosing and Binding
June 19, 2014
I was scanning my Facebook News Feed on New Year’s Day when I saw this conversation.
“ Any resolutions, people?”
“ I want to loose weight!” (italics mine)
Interesting, I thought. Loosing weight is exactly right. Because weight, as well as most other things that weigh us down, are a matter of energy. We don’t lose and find weight. We loose and bind weight.
And money, worry, bad attitudes, greediness, unforgiveness. You get the idea.
Loosing anything involves a willingness to release control of the outcomes. It is ultimately a faith issue. Faith, as in faith in ourselves and faith in something greater than we are. If I don’t eat exactly what I want, can I deal with the feelings that might arise? Instead of stuffing the feelings down with the food, can I allow myself to feel the sadness, boredom, loneliness, shame, guilt, selfishness, or anger that might arise, and then loose them? If I don’t buy all those things that are calling to me, can I be happy? If I don’t control every move my children make, will they really turn out okay? What would I do with myself if I wasn’t doing that? If I don’t manipulate my spouse, friend, boss, or community, will I feel valuable, worthwhile?
It is very difficult to loose something without having at least an idea of what you might want to bind in its place. We humans don’t like vacuous spaces very much, so if we let go of something and there is a gaping hole, then we quite naturally want to fill it with something else. This is a very important part of the equation. When we let go of something, release it, loose it, and have absolutely no idea of what might fill that space, we might not be able to tolerate the space. And so we fill it again, either with the same thing or something else that works just as badly.
The million dollar question is this: With what are you going to fill the space once you loose something? Busyness? Another addiction? Depression? Compulsions?
Think about what you could bind to yourself that would fill the space organically and really transform your life. Let me make some suggestions.
- An attitude of gratitude: Gratitude is an immediate antidote to anxiety and greediness. Being grateful for what is present, right now, in this moment, is immediately healing. Okay, so you are loosing eating those french fries and ice cream. How about binding all of the amazing selection of foods we have at our disposal in this country. Look around! We have just about any kind of food at our fingertips. Be grateful. Biting into a beautiful piece of fresh fruit is a luxury to most people in the world. And while you’re at it, bind gratitude for enough food! Most of you reading this have more than enough. What is enough for you? Find out and bind that attitude to you. Stop when you’ve had enough. Imagine taking your meal and sharing it with an entire family.
- Love for family and friends: Starting at home, be conscious of how you are loving people. Are you truly wanting what is best for others close to you in life? Are you offering support, encouragement, and help? Can you see others for who they are and not what you want them to be? Can you think of ways to be sacrificial in your love for them, not to your detriment but to their betterment? Bind a loving attitude.
- Care for those who have less than you: Bind to yourself this year the commitment to serve the needy in some way. This could be as simple as cleaning out your closet and giving your lightly used clothes and furniture to people who really need them. It could involve more like giving time each week or month to a volunteer effort, like tutoring a child, visiting the sick, or working at a food kitchen. Getting outside of ourselves and serving others is a great way to loose some things!
- Give money away: Every time you are tempted to eat or buy that “something” you know you want to loose, take the amount of money that thing would cost and put it in a jar. Then give that money away. I know a woman who stopped buying sodas at fast food chains and gave away $50 a month by doing that. Really. Food banks can probably feed a family of four with $50 a week. Do you really need that pair of shoes, jeans, technology or sports equipment? Take the money you would have spent and give it away. Try it just once.
- Care for the earth: In whatever ways you can, begin to appreciate the physical earth where you live. If you are in a city, you can appreciate the green spaces, the architecture, the potted plants, the art work, the way the sun filters or the way the sky looks. Increase your recycling efforts, eat at restaurants that use local and sustainable food, and buy local groceries. Try a small garden of your own. In the suburbs or country? Use less water. Carpool. Start a compost pile. Use rain barrels.
- Increase your quiet time and become still: In all faith traditions, healing always involves intentionally seeking a Higher Power. When we are willing to be still and to allow ourselves to listen more deeply, many times the answers are waiting there for us. The answers may not be what we wished or initially wanted, but they very well may be for our highest good.
- Play more: When was the last time you played at something? When children play, they lose themselves in their play. They lose time. Their whole bodies are invested. There is no destination. It’s all journey and process. Try dancing, singing, playing a game or an instrument, doing yoga, playing in the garden or in the shop. Try playing with paints or fabric. Remember what it feels like to play. Don’t just settle for being entertained! Get involved in playing!
What do you want to loose this year? And what will you bind in its place? Good luck!
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