Thursday, February 07, 2013

Day 7

Most people are no doubt familiar with the phenomenon of the motivational poster -- a compelling image with a pithy quote intended to uplift and encourage.  One of my favorite spots (by far) on the internet is the website of Despair, Inc., makes of de-motivational products. I have whiled away many an hour perusing their posters, chortling much of the time.

I mention this because today is Day 7 of this month-long juice fast.  The end of the first week.  And this has seemed to me to be one very long week.  And to be honest and transparent, it has not gone exceedingly well, at least if by "well" I mean that I stuck to the plan day in and day out and could be used as a poster-boy for vegetable and juice fast consistency.  Nope.  I messed up.  More than a couple of times.

So I look to the beginning of Week 2 with a bit of trepidation.  Not to put too fine a point on it, I'm scared.  Well, maybe "a little nervous."  I've chosen to put my juicing journey in quite a prominent light -- these blog posts are only one way that I'm out in front on this, offering my face as the public face (in this community at least) of both the problems associated with unhealthful eating and an attempt to make deep and lasting changes.

There is a danger in this, of course.  Whenever anyone lets her or himself become identified with something like this there is the risk of over-identification.  It's easy to see that individual as somehow special or unique -- particularly courageous, for instance, or strong.  Maybe she's more profoundly spiritual, and that's why she could do something like this.  Maybe he's more grounded.  And when some leader becomes the personification of the ideal, it's easy to distance ourselves.  "Oh, I could never do that," we exclaim.  "I'm not that <whatever it is we think that person is more of than we are>."

That's one of the reasons I've chosen to be as open about my own struggles as I have been.  I'm hoping that my discouragements might end up being encouraging to others.  "Shoot!  If he can do it, anyone can!" is kind of what I'm going for.

But that leads to the other danger in this . . . the one that's got me "a little bit nervous."  What if I can't do it?  What if sometime during the rest of February I give up?  What if I decide that it's all too much for me?  Or what if it's not even a decision and I just fall flat on my face?

Well here's the secret that I realized while tossing and turning last night:  one can only fail at the end.

I'm not sure that that's the most eloquent encapsulation of my thought, but it will have to suffice.  (As Steve Martin once famously observed, "Some people have a way with words and other people . . . not . . . have . . . way.")  What I mean, to use a sporting analogy, is that one team can only be declared the loser at the end of the game.  As long as the game is still in play, it's conceivable to come back from even tremendously far behind.  And this applies here because the game is going to remain in play as long as I'm alive.

Even if I totally fall apart during this month-long juice fast . . . well . . . this month is just part of this, my 50th year breathing air, during which I've dedicated myself to getting healthy.  So there can be no declaration of failure until this whole year is over, no matter what I do or do not do during this month.  And even if I regress to my worst eating and non-exercise habits during this year, I'm committed to seeing that the entire decade of my 50s is invested in increasing wellness in body, mind, and spirit.  That mean's even a bum year won't spell failure.

All the more, of course, if we go in the other direction.  If this is true about my "blowing" a month or a year, all the more so if any particular week of this month goes awry.  Or any one day.  Or a particular meal-time.

This lesson -- that we can only fail at the end, when all's said and done -- goes hand in had with my recent post about how this moment is the beginning of the rest of our lives.  And as long as that is true, "failure" is not really possible.

I'm starting to look forward to next week!

In Gassho,


PS -- last night, while I was worrying about all of this, I remembered this demotivational notion from Despair, Inc. and smiled:

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Anonymous said...

You hang in there, Erik.


Anonymous said...

Oh have not only decided to do a month long juice fast (a potentially difficult thing to do) but have chosen to do it at one of the most difficult times of year when there is great instinctual force going against your intention. A question arises for me, in conjunction with your fascination with super heroes, that I can relate to in my own way. Why must I/we expect myself, demand of myself, to leap tall buildings with a single bound??? Why don't I just take the stairs and rest along the way when I need it and not judge myself a failure when I get to the top?