The Very Thing You Crave.

I spent some time today listening to a recording about an Arbonne nutrition boot camp. One statement in the recording really made me think. ¬†The woman speaking said, “The very thing you crave is likely what’s killing you.” She was talking about food – gluten or carbs or sugar – but isn’t that true more generally?

It got me thinking about what I crave, not in terms of food, but in life. For a couple of years now, I’ve paid close attention to the Enneagram line of thought. In that system, I’m a Peacemaker. ¬†According to the book I read, a Peacemaker’s basic fear is loss and separation, and a Peacemaker’s basic desire is inner stability and peace of mind. I think those things are absolutely true about me.

I put a great deal of effort towards avoiding loss and separation. For much of the last few years, I’ve been torn between Austin and Portland. My life was in Austin, but my heart was in Portland. I tried living between the two. When I was in Austin, I felt far from Portland and all that it offered. When I was in Portland, I felt far from Austin and all that it offered. I had a hard time separating entirely from one to embrace fully the other, and my heart hurt most of the time because I was angry that the separation was required of me to make either work. Couldn’t I have both lives? Shouldn’t that have been possible? In the end, my efforts to keep a foot, and effectively the peace, in both places got me nowhere.

I’m not in Portland. The life I wanted there doesn’t await me anymore. I’m not in Austin. The life I’ve built here doesn’t feel like me anymore. Both lives are gone.

I have moments when I feel overwhelmed by the loss of both lives. But as I spent time last weekend with people from my childhood, it occurred to me that, in this place of complete uncertainty, every opportunity stands before me. I’ve always said that I wished I could go back to my youth and do things over again. I’m almost forty, so I can’t go back to my youth exactly, but I’m effectively in a place of asking myself the same questions I was asking in college.

Who am I? What do I want to do? Where do I want to live? What kind of person do I want to spend my life with?

The kid I was let others influence those answers. The adult that kid became allowed her deepest cravings to immobilize and slowly kill her. In this place of starting over, what will the person I am now do? I don’t know yet. My next steps aren’t clear, but I’m smarter, stronger and more adventurous than I have been. So I think it’s gonna be good.

A Rare Sunday.

I slept in this morning. I think my body knows that weekends without long training rides and runs are coming to an end. I slept and then, for about half an hour, hung out in that place between sleep and waking where dreams happen. Even when I woke, I spent the better part of the day in my flannels. First, I wrote. Then I read a book I’m editing for a client. On both counts, I was productive in the best way, doing work that doesn’t feel like work.

This afternoon I did a workout and spent some time on the phone with a friend. Then I cleaned up and was amazed to find that I still had an entire evening ahead of me. Thankful for that time, I did what I often do. I picked up a book.

Tonight, I picked up The Wisdom of the Enneagram, a book a career coach friend recommended to me. It’s a personality profile system. I find the type descriptions to be sometimes disturbingly accurate about me and others. The last person I dated and I did the self-assessments and read through the descriptions and agreed that they are on point and helpful. I go to the book sometimes when I need help figuring out what to do in a particular situation. It helps me assess what I want and where I think the other person involved is coming from. It’s not a solution, but it’s a tool, often a handy one.

Within the Enneagram system, I’m categorized as Type 9, The Peacemaker. The Peacemaker’s basic fear is loss and separation. The basic desire is inner stability and peace of mind. Yes and yes. The book talks about how Peacemakers ignore the disturbing aspects of life and seek peace and comfort by numbing out. “They respond to pain and suffering by attempting to live in a state of premature peacefulness, whether it is in a state of false spiritual attainment or in more gross denial.” The book’s advice? “They must remember that the only way out is through.” This reminder is helpful to me.

Here’s to a lovely day at home and the determination to feel my way through the hard stuff.