Day 24: Medicine For Mondays
Posted by Grady Miller on Feb 21, 2014 - 4:33:09 PM
UNITED STATES—On Monday mornings especially, I snap back to myself from slumberland and sometimes, for a brief window after dreams have taken me far beyond my current zip code, I don’t know what city I’m in or who I am. What I do know to be true is a gleaming fullness, a ripeness of being and guiltlessness.
This is a moment of grace when you lie there in bed, the blank-slate moment given by restful, restorative sleep. It is a moment of sheer innocence—when the choice is wide open to embrace this lavish gift of pure being dangled before the frustrated dieter. Thanks to the magic of sleep, you now have the opportunity to choose what thoughts to fill your head with. It is both an awesome opportunity and a responsibility.
Listening to your heart first will help your weight loss success.
I have taken this moment, this precious moment, and too often thrown it in the garbage; that is, soon as it clicks in who I am, my brain will relentlessly track down what went wrong in my diet yesterday. Instead of dwelling in and prolonging the blessed state of forgetting, my brain is conditioned to fetch items from memory and spoil my fresh new outlook with reasons why I shouldn’t have woken up feeling so good. Blame the amygdala, brain science does. The amygdala is an almond-shaped cluster of neurons deep in the temporal lobe, closely linked to survival instincts honed in the stone-age and also responsible for memory storage. It makes the brain “velcro for the bad, and Teflon for the good,” in the phrase of author and neuroscientist Dr. Rick Hansen.
With the amygdala speaking, there’s a swarm of negative affirmations, “I am bad.” “I shouldn’t have eaten that.” “I disapprove of myself,” and the like. Drastic measures are taken, even before getting out of bed, and in a flash, one goes from newborn to candidate for rehab. No wonder some people wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
The gift of the first wakening is absolution and unabashed wellness—this is a natural self-acceptance zone that can constantly renew our 30-day plan. You and I need to cultivate and dwell on that all-forgiving moment as it is given and refrain from the knee-jerk, what did I eat yesterday that I wasn’t supposed to? Dwell on and expand that pristine moment as the new day unfolds and learn to respect what sleep has wisely blotted from memory.
Instead of seeing the lowered level in the milk bottle and reacting with, “Oh no! I had a shot of milk last night,” and devising new tortures and punishments for deviating from the plan, we ought to revel in the brain-body’s ability to scatter memories during the sleep hours; and grant this state of baby innocence. Try planting your feet on the ground first thing and say “I love my life.” Smile at yourself in the bathroom mirror. Our morning stretches and breathing are surefire mood boosters. And there’s always laughter; it can be about the dumbest thing, but laughter is an express ticket back to the morning innocence.
It’s really awesome and beautiful how nature, through sleep, provides this medicine for Mondays and every day. The Greeks called it Lethe, the
Forgetting; so many seek it vainly in their waking lives and yet it flows anew every dawn. And we have a habit of rejecting it; only dipping our toe in it instead of our whole body. . .
On the plan to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, you are being asked to do two seemingly incompatible things: 1) 100 percent adherence to daily exercise and strict dietary practices and 2) drenching yourself in that moment between waking and sleep when—memory loss—our being is ripe and innocent as a daisy—when all our transgressions are forgiven and forgotten. This is a consummate act of loving ourselves, and more desirable than a flat tummy, there is this jewel within waiting to be acknowledged and celebrated.
Humorist Grady Miller is the author of “Lighten Up Now: The Grady Diet,” now on Amazon Kindle.He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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