I learn so much from people at meetings. A month or so ago we were talking about intentions, and a woman said she “found the results of her intentions in her crisper bin.” We all burst out laughing, because we all know that drawer in the fridge—the one with exotic vegetables: celery root, kale, mustard greens, varieties of eggplants large and small, wizened mushrooms and fungus, as well as the traditional salad-makings and snacking carrots. I buy them in a passion for healthy eating, preparing new dishes and tasting new flavors. I get them all at once, not realizing there is no possible way to consume them all before they become limp, pale shadows of their previous snappy, robust selves. The worst case is they all get purchased, put away, and then forgotten until they dissolve into a hard-to-discern soup or paste. I toss them out in shame, another good idea gone bad, another set of resolutions forgotten or ignored.
So frequently I have embarked on a plan to change something in my life. This had led to the gym memberships, the facial scrubs and protocols, the potted plants, and the purchased food. Most often this desire had come from a deeper longing to feel differently, to make acceptable something I found unacceptable, or to make whole some feeling of disintegration.
There is that moment of internal discord when I know I need to change something, get frustrated, land on the superficial, and then try to implement a plan. I start on the outer layer, the physical, and try to change everything: my looks, weight, hair, face, and skin—the obvious and external. I also try to do it all at once.
If I strive for too much too soon without really feeling my way through the process, I over-promise myself and set the path to failure, as I had done in active addiction: “I want it all now.” Instead, I could get one new vegetable per week, make one small change per month, to try it on, see how it works, practice the commitment to the intention as much as the intention itself.
The next time I set an intention, I will start with an empty, clean crisper and take my time to fill it. In lieu of a resolution to eat healthier, I can bring the intention of one new vegetable a week into my life. Instead of pledging to start running again, I will take meditative walks. In making the plan to treat myself with respect, I will move in the direction of health, not appearance. Rather than making a promise, I can have a goal. I will investigate the landscape of “some” rather than finding only happiness in “all.” Here’s to you, new crisper bin—may we make new friends this year.