Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fighting instincts.....

So much about my life lately seems to be working really hard to NOT do something. For me, as of late, it feels more and more like I am doing nothing but constantly fighting my instincts.

If I was an animal out in the wild, I am not sure how I would react to my animal instincts. I assume there are things that animals do find as instinctual (hence animal instincts), all things survival I suppose. However, I don't know that animals worry about being in shape or watching their weight. I also don't know that animals worry about what others think about them. Animals don't have anything else affecting their instincts, they aren't pausing to think and consider, they just do--I assume? Health and well being aside, I often wonder if we are better or worse off for having the ability to fight our instinct? What causes me as a human to no longer trust that my instincts have my best interset at heart? I have no doubt this evolutionary necessity has become wrapped up and confused with human desires. No wonder I feel like I am fighting what I call instincts, they probably are not actually instincts at all, perhaps desires is more appropriate.

I am going to continue to use the word instinct as that is my instinct :)

Now, luckily I am not someone that has instincts to kill, or that would raise this blog to an entirely other ethical level. That isn't to say I don't sometimes have the instinct to want to punch someone or trip someone and there are MANY instances when I have to bite my tonuge. So, I guess in these cases, this self control us humans are afforded ends up being a good thing. It just seems to be a lot of work, lately.

So, what am I fighting these days, well, incase you are curious, sleeping, eating, helping, breathing and dancing have been my most recent battles.

Sleeping: It has been so hard for me to wake up in the morning. I am not sure if it is allergies, or just being run down, but I am just finding myself so tired these days. It has been more and more difficult to want to get out of bed. I am happy to report that I am still alarm free and sleeping better than ever, so good, however, I am finding it more difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Part of it may also be this nice, cool fall weather we are experiencing. When it is all sticky and hott in the summer, getting up for me, is much easier. I hate the gross feeling of sleeping in the summer. The amazing breezes we are experiences makes me want to do nothing but cuddle and stay in bed, so this could very well be part of the problem. It has also lent itself to my being much more sleepy at work. Why don't we have nap time anymore? I think a 3:00 p.m. power snooze may do wonders for me. I am battling often with the desire to curl up and sleep!

Eating: The instinct I am most disturbed by is my ugly instinct to eat. I feel like it kind of went away for a bit. As I have blogged before, it comes back from time to time during stress. After my stressful evening last week, I still haven't recovered. I am finding myself falling back into old routines and craving food like I haven't in a long time. I am hopeful this is just a brief set-back and I am determined to continue on my path to goal, it is just so frustrating. Where do these feelings and instincts come from. For the past year on Weight Watchers, I have done pretty well. Why is it so easy to have one bad week start you right back down your old path. Why did I buy Cheez-its on the way home from work last night? Why, I know how dangerous they are in the house. I know exactly why I bought them. I saw a poll on Facebook and someone was asking about whether people prefer Goldfish Crackers or Cheez-its, it was like as soon as I saw that, my destiny was to get Cheez-its.

It isn't a good excuse and it is borderline embarrassing, but why have my human food instincts that should only be based on my need to survive gotten so wrapped up in emotions and drama. From an evolutionary perspective, I undestand the need to eat when you can, if you don't know where you were going to get your next mail. However, these days, I guess eating is really a first world problem. I don't worry about where my next meal is coming from, yet I have a weird mix of emotions, cravings, desires all being mistaken for evolutinary instincts of needing to eat. Patty, let's face it girl, you could go a few good weeks without a meal and be ok. When did all of this happen? Is it biological, psychological? What is it?

Where are these routines and patterns hidden when everything seems to be floating along wonderfully. Why are they able to hide away in the shadows and so easily pop out when you hate them the most. I also find it ironic that I feel more self aware than ever. I just recently wrote a blog about food and my patterns with it. I clearly stated that I know what I do, that I don't like it, etc, yet here I am again, heading back down a slippery slope. I am hoping I can remain aware and conscious enough to keep my head in the game.

Sad, that I do sometimes think of this entire "life" thing as a game. One of my good friends and I use to always joke that we were certain our lifves were some type of soap opera for ailens. We truly imagined them all getting a huge laugh about the daily drama, trauma and struggles. Somtimes it just feels like we make things so much more complicated that we need to. If we could somehow, find a way to get back to our actual evolutionary instincts and not have our wires all crossed we would be so much better off. If we knew to sleep only as much as we needed to sleep and eat only as much as we needed to sleep, perhaps we would all be healthier. Why can't I trust my instincts or the feelings I get?

Now, don't get me wrong, I totally understand the value and place for emotions and gut feelings. I am not advocating for a bunch of Vulcan Spocks who have no emotions. I just know that for someone like me, I rely so heavily on my emtions that it is almost like without my gut, I am nothing.

I sometimes wander aimlessly around the grocery store because I am not "feeling" anything. Sometimes Greg will ask me what I want for dinner and I just blankly stare at him. It isn't because I am trying to be difficult, it is honestly because when I don't feel something in my gut, it is really hard for me to decide anything. This goes for weekend plans, what movie to watch, what tv show to watch, vacationing, at work and even for our wedding. I am really a gut level decision maker. I trust my gut in almost every decision I make. Perhaps this is why I have so many deep levels of challenges with going against what my "gut" wants, because this is how I have learned to "survive" personally.

I am sure at some point, evolutionary, this was also valuable. Now it just seems to confuse me.

Helping: I would say that after moving to the city, I also learned I have an instinct to try and help others. It is really difficult for me to sit by while I see people and even animals suffering. If I walk by a dog tied up to a hydrant or tree, I often linger in the area until I am sure the dogs owner is coming back, especially if it is really cold out or raining. If I see a homeless person on the street, it is always my instinct to give food, drink, or money. It is really hard for me to fight these instincts. It almost feels unnatural to me.

When I first moved here I was much more sensitive to each scenario. I was constantly giving out change and food. The longer I live in this wonderful city the more desensitized I have become, which really is awful. If we were in Uxbridge and saw someone crying and begging for food on the street, I have no doubt someone would stop and help them. If you see someone injured on the subway or on the street, there are so many passerbys. Why is this? Why do some of our instincts change depending on our environment? After being in the city for over 8 years now, I now pass by more people than I ever did when I first moved here. I continue to give out my fair share of change and food, despite having an apple thrown back at me last year. I felt a bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I continue to be that wide eyed, possibly niave, optimist and idealist when it comes to others.

Breathing: I know, breathing, what?? Let me try and explain. While working out for two weeks (sure becaues two weeks of physical activity clearly makes me the go-to person on all things breathing), I noticed that I really breathe through my mouth alot during physical activity. Being paranoid about my heart, I always pay close attention to my heart rate when I exerices. It is like a death grip on the heart monitor handle things. I found that while I was exercisig if I breathed more deeply through my nose, my heart rate would go down. At the time it was hard for me to know whether or not this was a "thing." So, of course this weekend I spent a lot of time looking up the difference between breathing through your nose versus breathing through your mouth on-line. Never sure how much I can trust anything on-line, so if anyone out there has any knowledge about this, I would love you to share it with me.

It appears there are many natural benefits to being a nose breather vs. a mouth breather. I don't know that I walk around with my mouth hanging open all the time, but I have never needed breathing to be such a conscious process before. I am really having to fight the urge to want to breathe through my mouth and being willing to settle for breathing more deeply and slowly through my nose. When I breathe through my mouth it seems so easy, and quick and I feel like I benefit from big gulps of air through my mouth. It really is a whole new world for me. I find it slows my pulse and is much more calming, in general, to breath through my nose. I am hopeful this will eventually become my instinct, versus breathing through my mouth. To be honest, I am not sure how I use to breathe prior to all of this. I do think that while I have a tendency to breathe through my mouth at times, that I do also breathe through my nose.

Another annoying instinct I am having to fight. Who ever thought I would need to blog about how I breathe. It really is intersting to focus in on your breath and how you breath. It is a bit of a mind game though. I think I am doing well, and then I realize I am paying way too much attention to it and not getting anything else done. Guess back to yoga and meditation for me.

Dancing: The last instinct I want to discuss is much more light-hearted. I would say that music moves me more than almost anything,  literally moves me. When I am on the subway, or anywhere in the city, if I have my iPod on, it is really difficult to sit still. I often find myself grooving on the subway, or walking home after work. While I do let a little bit out, I have the instinct to seriously dance on the subway and on the street. I like to think perhaps I would make someone's blog somewhere. I also like to think I am not the only person fighting this urge. There have to be others out there. Other people who wish they could just break loose and break free. Whether that be dancing on the subway, skipping or running down the street, or screaming loudly out of frustration.

I guess so many of us are probably fighting our urges and instincts every day. Perhaps today will be the day I do dance on the subway and see if anyone joins me. Like at most weddings, it normally just takes one person to get the party started.

Here's to hoping I can contiue to learn about my instincts and more importantly my shadows. Here's to hoping I can keep myself focused and on-track and find a way to work on myself each and every day. I really look for the strength to not need to fight against my food issues and instincts, or in general. I really don't want to have to fight against so much, anymore, it is exhausting. I am hopeful I can find a way to tap into my actual need for food, for survival, and perhaps reroute some of those emotional triggers and wires and breathe easier, literally :)

And that's all she wrote....


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