Fighting with Your Food? Turn to Pac-ManJul 22, 2021
Do you remember the old arcade game Pac-Man?
The object is to eat all of the dots placed in a maze while avoiding four ghosts. If Pac-Man makes contact with a ghost, he loses a life. When all lives are lost, the game is over.
But lucky for Pac-Man, he doesn’t have to go at it alone because built within the maze are four flashing dots called “Power Pellets”. When Pac-Man eats one, the ghosts magically lose their power, allowing Pac-Man to move right through them unharmed.
Your life is like the game of Pac-Man
Consider your life like the game of Pac-Man. First, it’s far from a straight line isn’t it? In fact, it’s more like a maze— with dead ends and obstacles around every corner.
The way I see it— dead ends are opportunities in disguise. They exist to make us stronger; to learn those life lessons we would’ve never willingly signed up for if given the choice.
Sign up for binge eating disorder? Are you crazy?! But holy cow, I wouldn’t trade that three-year battle opportunity for anything...because in a weird way, it gave me strength to become the person I was destined to be. Each hellish dead end was like being struck with a chisel... eventually cracking me open just enough to let the light shine through.
How about you? Are you brave enough to be cracked open? To see the dead ends in your life as blessings in disguise? Yes, it can be a painful thing to do because let’s face it, sometimes it just feels good to complain.
But where has that gotten you?
Back to square one?
Trying yet another diet or killing yourself with a new impossible workout?
Your “ghosts” are mostly in your head
And what about those ghosts?
In the game of life, “ghosts” come with the territory. These phantoms have only one job: to mess with your head and keep you small!
I’ll bet if you were really honest with yourself, you’d come to the eventual conclusion that many of the obstacles you face are indeed perceived obstacles. Yep! They’re mostly in your head!
The small mind likes to convince us that potato chips, cookies, and ice cream are obstacles— powerful foods that will own us for life...so we’d better get used to it. You know what I’m talking about here don’t you?
Don’t those damn chocolate chip cookies seem irresistible around the two-week mark of embarking on a path to healthier living? And because you’ve convinced yourself of their power...they bring you down.
Every. Single. Time.
But...you have an unlimited supply of “Power Pellets”
Pac-Man has a mere four Power Pellets to work with (poor little fella). But you have a lifetime supply!
Since the majority of obstacles are really only you standing in your own way, you have it within you to transcend them.
Every. Single. Time.
Actually, it’s the only way out.
Stop “doing” and start “being”.
Yes, to reach our goals in life we must take action, but we are called human “beings”, not human “doings”. Our true strength lies in the little moments of non-action.
It seems paradoxical, I know, but when you pause to take a breath and allow yourself to BE in the present moment (which is the only moment there is), it makes everything you do more powerful.
Ask any superstar athlete or world class golfer and they will tell you: the key to success is laser-like focus. Yet it’s impossible to focus if you’re not present, in this moment.
Consider that on average, you take 20,000 breaths every 24 hours. If you think of a single breath as one “Power Pellet”- can you now begin to sense your potential to surmount any and all obstacles...real or imagined?
Let’s then remodel the Pac-Man maze. The dead ends are still dead ends. The ghosts are still there. But those Power Pellets?
They’ve multiplied exponentially.
Presence is your default setting
Think about it. What’s the first thing you do when you’re about to receive some troubling news or enter into an important nerve-wracking meeting? Take a deep breath to center yourself.
The state of presence is our natural default setting.
Isn’t it funny how we return to it when there’s no other option? It’s just you and your breath...and the challenge in front of you. Time stands still.
Besides when you are sleeping, are you ever intentionally still? Have you ever surrendered your entire self to one simple breath before, say taking a bite of food? The results are silently profound. And you will most certainly miss them if you aren’t paying attention.
You are granted the gracious gift of breath, so why not use it to transcend your ghosts?
Stillness = strength (unraveling the great mystery)
The act of breathing, or similarly, the beating of your heart, can only happen in the present moment. Agree? So when you place your attention on one breath or a couple thumps of your heart, you are indeed practicing a moment of stillness and entering into the state of presence.
And why does this matter?
Because it is in the state of presence that you are closest to your Higher power—the source of all well-being.
The present moment is indeed the portal to your Higher self, the part of you that is well and at peace with food. The part of you that is free.
So when you take a moment to just BE (the first two letters of BEING), it’s like a remembering of who you really are...a sort of pause-and-plug if you will. A plugging into the current of all that is.
It is here where you have access to your greatest strength and all that comes with it— an abundance of inspiration, joy, well-being, inner peace, clarity, ease, and good health.
Another way to look at it is like this: the sweet spot of your life is at the intersection of action and being. When action is met with a moment of presence—a simple, conscious breath—a shift happens in your inner world.
This is the point at which you are most powerful, and your actions most effective.
The strength to drop the cookie (or eat it) is within you
Now let’s go back to that irresistible chocolate chip cookie.
When you’re standing at the intersection of action and being, you are able to pause and plug in (being) and then put the cookie down (or eat it in full presence) without the inner food fight.
You didn’t put that cookie down by yourself...you had help.
Wrestling with the decision to plop down and skip out on exercise? When you’re standing smack-dab in the middle of Action Avenue and Being Boulevard, you take a conscious breath to plug in (being) and then summon the strength to peel your patootie off the couch (action) for an invigorating walk around the block.
Just remember- this power is not outside of you or something reserved only for enlightened masters; it is part of you, and you part of it.
“But maybe I just haven’t found the right meal plan!”
Do you really believe your food issues, health ailments, and crappy food choices stem from not having found the perfect meal plan? Haven’t you tirelessly tried your fair share of diets?
Where are you now? Back to square one?
Honestly, would those chocolate chip cookies seem any less irresistible if you had a live-in chef to prepare your every meal? Sure it would make things easier, but would you be truly healed in both body and mind? What happens when your chef/personal trainer/drill-sergeant hired to smack the cookie out of your hand, goes home for the day and you are left alone with your thoughts? You know, the thoughts filled with images of chocolate chip cookies?
Face it— the personal chef, meal plan, drill-sergeant...they’re all just band-aids. Useful, but they won’t save you. Are you emotionally exhausted from hitting the same dead end? Then it’s time to go within.
Because you can’t transform the outside without first tending to the inside.
This is all so simple, but it’s not easy. Here’s how to start...
Taking a moment to pause and plug in before taking action is really simple. Simple, but not easy. Sometimes it’s downright uncomfortable!
It requires intention, followed by practice.
But because we’re conditioned to multi-task, speed up, get it done, this notion of pausing to take a breath may seem like a waste of time. In fact, I’ll just bet you hear a little voice inside convincing you of just that.
Make no mistake, that’s your small self talking...and it wants to keep you small, sealed, and uncracked. You’re braver than that.
I recommend starting with something little, like pausing to take a conscious breath when you first sit down to eat dinner. Then after a while, take it a step further and do it before each bite of food in that meal. You can then choose to add another meal, another bite of food, and so on.
Remember: Presence = Power.
So take a breath.
Plug into the present moment.
Can you feel it?
PS: Here’s a useless (but funny) piece of Pac-Man trivia. Did you know that the original name for Pac-Man was Puckman? Only the name had to be changed due to concerns over defacement of the arcade machines by changing the P to an...well you know the letter.
Take a break and have a little fun! Click HERE to play the great game of Pac-Man (if you’re at work, be sure to turn the volume down).
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