Recently, I went to the mall to return something, and upon leaving through the large anchor store, I “ran into” a sales rack of blue jeans.
Okay – let me take a pause for a second and explain something. I am a blue jeans connoisseur. If I could wear jeans every day of my life I would (and for the most part I do). I have refined my love for jeans to an art, and I have my very favorite brands that I have come to love through a long process of trial and error.
Yes, my relationship with blue jeans is a long and sorted one, but as a result, I have a closet full of them – and I mean, FULL of jeans. I have dark fade, and light fade, skinny and stretchy, ripped and tailored, boot cut and capri. My point is, I have blue jeans to last me through the next decade.
So here I was at the store, mesmerized by these beautiful jeans. They were my favorite brand – the one with the ridiculously long name that means absolutely nothing – and the equally ridiculous price tag. And yet, this amazing pair were on sale for 50.00.
“Fifty dollars??” The voice in my head screamed, “That is unheard of! You cannot walk away from these. You must have them!”
Had they been food, I would have been salivating.
I had them in my hand, when I remembered a Facebook status update that I had read earlier in the week from Geneen Roth (love her!).
She had posted:
“I keep having to remember that enough isn't a quantity. It's a relationship to what I already have.”
The truth is, I have enough jeans. Really, I have more than enough. I need a new pair of jeans like I need a hole in my head. There – I said it.
Another truth is that I will probably always be tempted by what I want, which is the new, bright, shiny object. I want what I want when I want it – don’t we all on some level?
But what happens when we keep acquiring? What happens when we never connect to the feeling of “enough”? If we don’t recognize the feeling of being “full,” or of having enough, we are constantly in search of, or seeking something outside of ourselves to fill us up. We are on a never-ending wild goose-chase.
With food, the process is much the same as it is with blue jeans. You can eat and eat and never recognize that you are full. You take in more than you need. You consume more than you actually have room for and there are consequences.
As I stood there with those jeans in my hand, I took a moment to center and get conscious. (Yes, I do this stuff – I practice everything I preach!)
I asked myself, “Do you need another pair of jeans – really?” Very quickly the answer came… “No, think about what you already have – think about how full your closet is.”
As I did this – I mean, I really thought about all of the jeans in my closet. I started to feel grateful, and full. I started to realize that I have enough. I didn’t just think it. I felt it. I felt the feeling of having enough (and this is huge, because enough isn’t just a thought – it’s a feeling).
I put the jeans back on the rack and walked away.
Now, I get that I’m talking about shopping. Not exactly deep stuff here, right?
But the jeans and the story are just a simple metaphor for the process that plays out for many of us in life.
In the world of emotional eating and eating disorders, you can play with this idea by looking at the process of how people relate to food.
With compulsive overeating, it is about never feeling you have had enough, and consuming so much you feel sick, and bloated and emotionally out of control. The things you consume end up consuming you.
With bulimia, it is about feeling that you can’t possibly have enough, so you consume exponential amounts, only to feel so overwhelmed by the consumption that you must purge yourself of everything you have taken in. This process leaves you feeling empty again – primed to repeat the cycle.
And it doesn’t have to just be about food. The truth is, we have a relationship with everything we connect with, and that relationship tells a story about who we are and how we see the world and our place in it.
For some people it plays out with relationships and sex.
For some people it plays out with the search for success.
For many it is about acquiring material excess.
For others it is about a never ending to do list.
Perhaps it is all of the above.
The list is potentially endless, as is the appetite of the human being.
I like my stuff. I like acquiring. I’m human and I love playing in the amazing playground that is life on this planet – with all the beautiful things and the abundant options we have.
But I also know the feeling of over-consumption, and I know the consequences of not knowing when I am full. There is a middle ground somewhere in there that is uniquely placed for all of us.
I’ll buy another pair of jeans at some point. I will overindulge. Like any process that is about ongoing awareness, this is not about perfection.
I am grateful for Geneen Roth’s Facebook update that grounded me that day. I am grateful for the reminder that “enough” comes from connecting to what I already have. It feels calm and centered, as opposed to the urgent, needy feeling that comes with chasing the carrot that cannot be caught when you try to find the feeling of enough outside yourself.
I am grateful for the choice to be grounded in what I have, and I am grateful that this choice is always an option. Powerful stuff, right there, in my back pocket (of my favorite blue jeans of course).