Mental Health Monday: Oh Crap, She’s Up!

backsliding-580x400Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for today, “Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Backward,” was just what I needed to read this morning. Although his writings are more of a spiritual than mental health nature, I don’t think we should separate these two important elements of our selves. In fact, I believe our mental, spiritual and physical health are tightly intertwined. So today I’m writing about two steps backward in my ongoing weight-loss journey.

After losing 17 ½ pounds over a period of five and a half months (and wanting to lose at least 15 more) I’ve come to see my “diet” as a new lifestyle. As my metabolism slows (and sometimes seems to come to a halt!) I need to learn ways to care for my aging body so that it will serve me in what I hope will be a couple more active decades.

This morning the scales showed that for the first time since I began this journey, I had gained weight. Two pounds. This didn’t surprise me—I’ve slipped back into old habits of mindless eating for the past few days. But thankfully I’m not letting it plummet me into depression and despair, as I once would have done. Instead I’m trying to learn from these “two steps backward.” Why/how did I let this happen? And how does Rohr’s lesson—which is really about how Holy Scriptures help us in our spiritual journey—apply to my backsliding experience?

Rohr says that three steps forward are like “moving forward toward the mercy, humility, and inclusivity of Jesus” whereas our steps backward are like “regressing into arrogance, exclusion, and legalism.” I can see God’s mercy in the weight-loss success I’ve had so far, especially given my history of sexual abuse and eating disorders. And I’m learning humility as I struggle to submit myself to a calorie budget on a long-term basis. And yes, when I slide backwards into mindless eating, I can feel the legalism clipping at my heels. The voices saying “bad girl, you broke the rules” or “see, you can’t really do this.”

crap shes upAnd so I begin again today, my spirits lifted by the reminder that it’s all grace, and that God wants me to succeed in this endeavor. To take care of the temple which is my physical body. And in the process—or maybe an important part of the process—to care for my mental and spiritual health. I’m actually looking forward to eating less and exercising more today. I feel better already. (This quote is taped to the lamp by my computer.)

 

4 comments


  • Aubrey Leigh

    I love that Rohr quote!

    February 22, 2016
    • You can subscribe to Rohr’s Dailiy Meditations by email. I read them almost every day. Good stuff. Thanks for reading Aubrey Leigh.

      February 22, 2016
  • Thank you for sharing your steps with us. I am also in the process of re-vamping my food and exercise plans and appreciate your telling it like it is. I’ve been recovering from an illness and am reminding myself to be gentle in getting back to my routine.

    I also read Richard Rohr’s daily emails. He is definitely a unitive, non-dualistic teacher. I’m sure he would appreciate not separating our selves into body, mind, and soul.

    February 23, 2016
    • Always great to hear from you, Joanne.

      February 24, 2016

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