Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 19, Forced Presence

I found a name for it today. The best gift this diet has given me is Forced Presence.

Today I took L1 to church while Loren stayed with L2. The first thing she asked for this morning was to have her temperature checked, hoping that she can go back to school tomorrow. Her fever was up to 102.5 F and she was immediately disappointed. She cried and refused to take some medicine. I felt helpless. What could I say to her?

Normally I would have scolded her for her attitude (yes, even with a fever; in our house we use our manners -including using a napkin and holding the silverware the right way even when you are eating in bed-, we say please and thank you to the nurses at the ER, we keep a good attitude and keep in mind that no one has to have a bad time just because you're sick, we count our blessings constantly, and when we say grace and thank God for our food we mean it by golly!, we don't say "thank you Lord for the healthy food you put on our plate" and then complain that it has big pieces of bell pepper in it), but not today because I felt exactly like she did.

I finally convinced her to drink some OJ with cranberry juice and to take two ibuprofen pills. I went on to church with the teenager.

(I had my smoothie for breakfast with a scoop of Trader Joe's Super Green Drink Powder added)

The sermon was about "Narcissism" (blogging), and, other than being reminded of the dangers of self-importance and making getting 1000 views your number one goal, I didn't get much out of it. When it came time to ask for prayers I raised my hand, yet again, and asked for the prayers for L2 to continue (did not go into detail) and asked for prayers for Loren's first interview for a job "with benefits", which he has tomorrow. It took every ounce of my acting ability and experience to not cry.

I stopped by the store to get Loren some salt pockets for his neti pot (if you have allergies or sinus problems I HIGHLY recommend it: Himalayan Institute Original Neti Pot Complete Sinus Cleansing System Starter Kit) and while I was walking around the store I had an epiphany (in Walmart, yeah, I know):

I realized that this diet (and others like it I've tried in the past) force me to be PRESENT, CONSCIOUS, AWARE, call it what you like, but I cannot live on auto pilot, I cannot hide from what hurts, I cannot -literally- swallow my fears, I cannot numb my feelings with food.

(I know what you're thinking "you can numb them with wine" but I would argue that wine does not numb them, it actually brings them to the surface! so touché (as we say in Costa Rica, "toma para ahogar sus penas... pero las penas FLOTAN!"))

On one of the first days of Lent I walked into the apartment where L1 had a bowl of trail mix on the counter, I walked by it and picked up a handful (with dirty hands, yuck!) and stuck it in my mouth. It was not until the seasoning touched my tongue that I woke up and realized what I was doing. I rushed to the trash can and spit it up, and then asked L2 not to leave food unattended any more.

This diet does not let me walk around on auto pilot! 

Now, I don't know about you, but for me that is HUGE! and when I am emotional, like today, and the stupidest Facebook status update makes me cry, and all I want to do is bury my emotions below a thick layer of coffee cake and hazelnut lattes, but I CAN'T because I promised God....

I experience Forced Presence. I have to be awake, I have to be conscious, I HAVE to make decisions about how to react to things and words and people






and that is the greatest blessing I have ever received.


  1. Ilse, with all your talents, who knew you're also such a gifted writer? Your ability to tap into your own emotions and share them with us (possibly all that acting practice!) is immense - and I will argue not narcissistic *at all* ... it takes courage and simplicity, both of which are difficult when emotions run wild. Thanks for this - you're inspiring me to be *fully present* and paying attention to my own blog (slowly, slowly...)

    And on the food side, while the full-on raw doesn't work for me, some of your comments about foods that disturb us are a strong reminder - I have food allergies and sensitivities and the key is simplicity. I've been doing much much better this last week, not perfect, but motivated and seeing results in the energy and attitude level.

    Con cariños, Martha

  2. Thank you Martha, your comment was so moving and humbling, it meant so much coming from you.