I Saw Geneen in Seattle over the Weedend!
Notice I’m on first name basis with my hero. That’s right, in my head anyway. There were 850 women there to see Geneen Roth, the woman who saved my life by writing about her own experience with food. Wow! Opps, I just remembered there were 848 women and 2 men. I love it that the men were there. And the women, every age, size, and shape hoping, just hoping.
So, although Geneen literally saved my life, I have never been in her presence except for the brief few minutes when I waited in line at a book reading many years ago simply to say thank you to her. Honestly, it was one of the most emotional moments of my life. Because I swear, I was at such a crazy making place with food and myself, I was going to jump off a bridge. But instead, I found her book Breaking Free From Compulsive Eating, and I white knuckled it through with that book as my bible for a year. By the end of that year, I had broken free. There were no more “battles” or “challenges” or shame. I had walked out of the darkness of the tunnel and into the light of my own being. And though it is a journey and nothing transforms over night, I now live the shimmery, glimmery sunlit life that Geneen refers to. The life that awaits you once you come home to yourself, your truth. That which is your birthright, your own radiance. And she is so, so right, your relationship with food is the doorway, it is the golden opportunity to take the path home.
Some of the opportunities along the path get down to this question, “What is my truth in this situation?” In our busy, multi-tasking lives we become over-engaged, over-booked, doing plenty of things we don’t want to be doing simply because someone; our mate, our friend, our in-laws, our colleague presents an invitation. Most of us are still relying on our early socialization regarding these situations believing that the polite thing to do is accept the invitation. We have fears about saying “No thank you.” “The voice” tells us we won’t be liked, we won’t be invited ever again, people will think I’m a snob, they’ll think I’m neurotic, they’ll think I’m selfish, and on and on. And if we do find the guts to say “no thank you,” we feel we have to lie, we have to make up an excuse.
Why, why must we feel we need to lie frequently in order to live in our culture, in our communities, in our families? Wouldn’t we all feel better, closer, more trusting of each other if we spoke the truth? Geneen gave a great example of having been invited to dinner and she didn’t want to go. After thinking of several excuses she could make, she simply emailed her acquaintance and said, “No thank you, I don’t want to.” And her acquaintance wrote back and thanked her for telling her the truth. In speaking her truth, Geneen did not have to spend hours anticipating and engaging in something she was not looking forward to. She got to do whatever she WANTED to do that evening. That was her truth, that she did not need another dinner engagement in her life at that moment, she needed something else and so she left herself free to experience whatever that was.
Often I think people need some down time, just time to hang out at home, in their own living rooms, or in their own backyard but they’re afraid of saying this to someone who extends an invitation to do otherwise. Whaa? I’m gonna tell someone I can’t come to their party because I’d rather stay home and read a book? Yes, why not? If you speak your truth your friends and family will come to realize that when you are in their company, you’re there because you want to be, not because you should be, and therefore can be fully present. This is not being selfish, it is honestly simply taking care of yourself. It is giving yourself time to regroup, rejuvenate, refresh so that when you’re sharing moments with others you aren’t fatigued, grumpy and resentful.
If you really tune into the truth about taking care of yourself, it opens the door to that bright, shimmery, glimmery sunlit life. And what does living that life mean? In my life, it means that not a day goes by in which I don’t witness and experience beauty in people, in nature, in our precious animal companions, in art. Amazing, delightful, surprising, inspiring, touching beauty.
How magnificent is that?
Thank you Geneen!
And a postscript:
You know, on my way to Seattle I had a smidgeon of anxiety, could my hero be who I thought she was? I know she’s human so I had some fear, though small, that I’d be in her presence and witness her being fatigued or bitchy. But no. She was charismatic, entertaining, and real. At the end of the workshop as people stood in line to have her stamp their books, she greeted each and every person with amazing love and radiance. She’s walkin’ the walk, not just talkin’ the talk, sister. If you get a chance to see her sometime, allow her to grace your life.