Friday, May 19, 2006

Unthinkable thoughts

I've had two kinds of unthinkable thoughts: those on grief and those on dieting. (click on either word to skip the other).

With grief, I have been part of a number of grief groups. In theory, everyone can speak freely knowing that no one will criticize you. In reality, I spoke openly once, had people jumping down my throat, and never spoke another unguarded word again. Ever.

My unthinkable though, which I am over now, was that I wished I had spent more time on my career and less on my kids. They were dead and I felt like I had nothing to show for it, whereas if I had spent more time on my career, especially my writing ... How can I tell I'm over those thoughts? Simply, I tell Rachel new stories every night (before anyone gets excited, they are all about Ariel and her flying magic hamster and her friends Rachel and Morgan.

There is a reason I'm not writing them down, but she really loves them, and they do take creative energy). I could spend the time working on a book on mediation (I have the rough draft done) or a book on negotiation (I have the outline worked out, see ).

Instead I spend that time and energy on Rachel.

But I had the thought. Came back to me when I passed up on professional advancement/improvement that I had always planned on in order to keep Rachel's school situation stable. They love her at her school. That is well worth it to me. Not too long ago I would have seen that as giving up on my life's dream. Now I see my children as my life.

With food, the great heresy is that I don't believe that being fat is sinful and I don't believe that losing weight is a sign of virtue or the mandate of heaven. To the extent I have any weight related theology it is "Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which doesn't satisfy? listen diligently to me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." (Isaiah 55:2) not to mention "Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."

In fact, as far as I can tell, that willpower and virtue will lead to weight loss is just one more great illusion, a false idol people build up. Am I glad that the Shangri-la Diet works for me? Very much so. I'm glad it works for the people I've gotten started on it. But it isn't a sign of moral superiority that any of us are losing weight, nor a sign of moral failure that any of us gained weight. Or a sign of any sort of failure for those who have not lost weight.

To many, that is an unthinkable thought, even though it is true. It threatens them somehow.

Just thinking and remembering unthinkable thoughts.

[if you've come for Shangri-la diet notes, click here]

And remember, you can find the Shangri-la Diet at


Anonymous said...

I have a friend who also comments on this blog a lot and she tells me that I have a right to my feelings. I am sad that a group meeting would make you feel reluctant to state how you feel. I hope that I have never touched on something that was too personal in my comments. The last thing that I would want to do is add salt to your wounds.

Stephen said...

No one who has posted here has come even close to bothering me, other than making me concerned for them -- but I blog because I'm concerned for people and trying to reach those in pain like I have felt.

Barb, don't worry at all. I did get irritated at one guy about his recanting stuff on diets without having read, and then getting all stuffy about the fact that I considered him immoral and dangerous, under the legal standard of malice ...

You have a right to your feelings. God be with you.

Anonymous said...

wow, interesting and powerful comments...thanks for sharing this.

Sarebear said...

I COMPLETELY agree on all that food stuff. So many people attach morality or the lack there of, virtuousness or the lack thereof, or positive/negative meaning to weight, the gaining and loss thereof, how much or little one eats, etc.

It makes me ill to see people gleefully pronounce that overweight people are guilty of the sin of gluttony . . . I want to shout at them HEY before you proclaim the mote in someone else's eye, take the beam out of yours . . .

Either that, or it makes me want to hit them over the head with a two-foot long beam.

No one should have EVER jumped down your throat on your statements while/about grieving. It doesn't matter what you said, you were expressing what you were feeling and going through. Makes me want to Beam them, too.

And I actually understand what you meant and why you may have thought that unthinkable thought. What I mean is, from my own limited experience and perspective, of course I could NEVER understand what you have gone through. I can imagine in a very limited way, though, is all.

What I really wanted to say, is my daughter loves when I tell her made up stories, and even requests them, "Mommy, can I have a Mommy Special?"

Princess Beegork (who has removable wings, and sometimes lends them to Princess Emily!) is her favorite companion in these stories. She instantly knew who Princess Emily was in the stories . . . .

I am too embarassed by how stupid or silly or stupid I feel some of the stuff I come up with in these stories, is/are, but my daughter loves them!

annegb said...

I have had some very unthinkable thoughts, Stephen.

One is that what was I thinking I could be a mother?

That's a mild unthinkable thought.

I read somewhere that if people could see in our brains, we'd all be committed.

I mentioned to my sister that I'm having a memorable menopause, but I'm wondering if I finally got sick of a lot of crap.

Stephen, I'm glad you're here. I think we were trying to do the same thing on BCC the other day with that Snarker thing. I just hate it when my friends get mad at each other.

Do you know who Kurt is? I don't recall anybody by that name?

Stephen said...

Blogger froze up for a while and would not take comments. Should be fixed now.

Stephen said...

Do you know who Kurt is? I don't recall anybody by that name?

Kurt is one more guy. Doesn't seem to be unusual (no rumor of horns or two heads or a tail or anything).

I'm hoping we can teach people to have peace.

Anonymous said...

Stephen, thank you for your response. I tend to get a little paranoid about things. I do have an understanding of the difference between a fact and an inference and that does help. However, letting me know what you think or feel really helps.

And the fact that you said God be with you means a lot to me. You wouldn't know this unless you read it at M* as my only contact with you is right at this blog, but when I was at the MTC, we used to end our meetings with our teachers with the song, "God Be With YOU Until We Meet Again." I can be rather serious and over-dramatic at times and in my heart I would worry about the men in my district and I think my companions as to whether they would be true to the faith and I would try to sing that with such heart as if my doing so would help them to be be faithful. I thought I was so strong as I had been through so much and stayed true to the faith. My home environment before my mission was very violent emotinally although I do not think there was phycsical violence right then. There was a lot of screaming at the top of the lungs by my dad that scared me a lot. He seemed out of his mind much of the time. He is a lot better than that now thankfully. I tell that as to give a little background that I had felt such a relief to be in a safe place. And my parents were both against my going on a mission although they both were supportive when I would not back down. And I think it is amazing that my dad did not scream at me in my face when he told me not to go on a mission but rather said not to go in a quiet way when I told him. Before my mission, he did say that he would pay for my mission. He had a huge spending problem and went through thousands of dollar in a short time and the money was not there. Then, he offered to sell the car that he bought and I think he meant it. I did not feel right about asking him to do that. I know this is a lot of background and I will try to get back to the subject. I do want to add that my mom wrote me every week on my mission very positive and uplifting notes and my dad wrote me once a nice letter. I may have mentioned that I am the only member. So given all this drama and my belief that if I overcame all that that I was a shoe in for making it all the way through life regardless of what was thrown my way, I focused on helping my dear district have such fervor. I was worried about one, for instance, that he seemed ot build his testimony on those little facts that seminary teachers like to through out about the Book of Mormon and having more original names than any book or soemething like that. I worried that he did not know deep down the Church is true. Hey I hope you do not mind that other than work and talking on phone and family that commenting on blogs and forums is my social life. But I promise that I will not monopolize like this in the future. So what I am saying is that I would sing "God Be With You" with such gusto. Little did I know.... I have already mentioned how I have trouble going to Church and will not elaborate further. I still love that phrase though and sometimes end my emails to people I write with that very phrase.

Until We Meet Again.... At Jesus feet.

How I hope to meet all of you there!