Excerpt from Chapter 9 AN INVITATION TO OPENNESS page 210

Published December 3, 2017

I could see I had somewhat overwhelmed her, but much of what
I said registered as she nodded attentively. “Wow, that’s heavy,” she
said. “Deep stuff. I’ve been on diets most of my life. I go down; and
then, I put all the weight back on, and more.”

Her shoulders slumped, as she reexperienced her frustrations.
The pressure from her past visibly bore down on her. Her spirit
gripped her there, so I spoke before the moment was lost. “The most
important thing you can learn to do is find the patience to be still.
Then, you’ll notice that your emotions start upsetting and frustrating
you. It’s a cruel game we play in our minds without knowing it. We
sabotage ourselves. We judge ourselves. Something in our minds
whispers that we’re not worthy of God’s love, so we secretly agree to
punish ourselves. It’s scary what’s going on inside you, but Miriam,
it’s wonderful, too. If you can recognize these mind games, it means
you’re alive. You’re waking up to a reality that will save you! Be
honest with yourself about the forces and thoughts that are keeping
you emotional, and sometimes,” I paused for effect, “you’ll be able to
watch them dissolve, because you didn’t get involved with them.”

I was amazed that I was learning how these things fit together
even as I listened to myself. This was the truth! And this truth was
what I was living in my daily life since I began meditating. I never
articulated it before. I spoke with passion, driven by sincerity.

“You sound like a psychiatrist or something,” she said, laughing
nervously.

“No, no, no,” I said quickly, as I noticed Michael eavesdropping.
All truth, real truth, must be self-evident. You must discover it for
yourself, otherwise, how do you know it’s really the truth? I’m only
sharing what I’ve gleaned from experience and observation. Another
thing to remember is that when we ask God for wisdom, we get problems
to aid us in reasoning our way through. If we pray for courage,
he sends danger and challenges to overcome! Do you see how beautiful
that is? What our Creator does to promote the character we need
to change ourselves?” I asked joyfully.

She was getting it! Miriam could see where I was coming from,
so I went on a bit longer.“My weight problem is simply the evidence
of the problem I have with food. I eat when I’m happy; I eat when
I’m sad. I eat, and overeat, because food is my first savior. I learned
to have faith in food to relieve my pain—from when I was angry for
not having enough to eat as a kid to my fears and frustrations today.
Now, with prayer and meditation, I’m unlearning those behaviors.
What that means is that I may get my weight down to where it’s supposed
to be, but I would still have a problem with food. Unless I deal
with the root anger and resentment that binds me to food, I will struggle
with my weight. And that’s the way it should be. I need to go
back the way I came to identify the source of my problem.”

I walked over to my shelf of cookbooks and took a brochure from
the Foundation of Human Understanding I kept tucked among them.
I offered it to Miriam. “This is a helpful pamphlet: What You Should
Know about Being Upset. You’re welcome to read it. See if it makes
sense to you. You may garner some insights.” Miriam took the
brochure and flipped its few pages.

 

“Thank you,” she said politely, and tucked it away as she nervously
smiled at me. Miriam had a lovely smile that highlighted her
pretty face, but as she tucked away the brochure, I noticed her hands.
Her nails were short and irregular like she chewed them.

I felt drained and exhilarated. I touched this girl’s mind and
hopefully, her heart. Something in her spirit called to me to help her
find hope.