Friday, April 16, 2010

Reboot of Doom

Here we are, April 16, over 1/3 of the way through 2010 already.  I am revisiting my word of the year (“Metamorphosis”) and applying some of Havi’s Metaphor Mouse technique to an area where I want to see some change in my life this year.

An area I would like to grow in is that of physical activity/movement.  A close friend has taken up triathlons, and when we are able to talk in person, he tells me about his rigorous training schedule.  I am impressed by how he managed to fit in the training with everything else he has on his schedule, and I mentioned in passing that occasionally I have a desire to take my physical activity a step beyond what I already do.

He asked why I never have, opening a whole can of worms.  Weight and body image were always an issue growing up, and I always felt judged by my size and food choices.  Good was small body, small portions, the right foods.  Bad was anything else. 

But there was a mixed message in there.  Bad was also an over-developed interest in what my body looked like and what I ate.  I can still tell you the story of the one cousin who left his wife because he got into bodybuilding and became so “narcissistic” that he had no time for anyone else.  And I’m not even going into how my daughter went anorexic just as I began my weight loss journey.

Suffice it to say, there are issues.  But I still have dreams of having a body that is flexible and strong, and feeling light and un-self-conscious in it.

So where’s the problem?  I have worked out before, I even have had that body, if for a short time, in the recent past.  I have no desire to compete in a triathlon, or even a marathon (I much prefer yoga or weight-lifting to running).  But what I don’t have (what I perceive I don’t have) is discipline.

Even the word makes me cringe.  Discipline.  Dry, hard, boring, no way out, discipline.  Makes me stop dead in my tracks, better than almost anything else I know.

Enter Metaphor Mouse.  Havi asks, “What are the qualities, aspects and attributes of the thing” both those that aren’t working and those that are?


  • judgmental
  • imposed from the outside
  • have to (“should”)
  • serious
  • humorless
  • inflexible
  • punishment
  • routine
  • boring
  • duty
  • no options
  • joyless
  • dry
  • better than
  • rigid (same as inflexible?)

Looking at this list, about the only thing I find working for me is “routine”, in the good way of “do a little every day and see big results over time” (with a slight problem at “over time”).  What bothers me most is the lack of humor/joy, lack of flexibility and the judgmentalism inherent in the word.

What qualities I am looking for/are missing=

  • fun
  • flexibility
  • freedom
  • reward
  • choice
  • freedom
  • sovereignty
  • acceptance (opposite of judgmental, maybe encouragement?)

I am having a hard time coming up with a different word, but I found this link, also at Havi’s blog, and one of the words/phrases that pops up for “sovereignty” is “self-determination”.

It’s not quite a metaphor, but it works for the moment. It contains the qualities of flexibility and choice that are missing from “discipline”, and returns the power to me, which is what the “d” word kept me from seeing.

Here’s to Self-Determination!

1 comment:

Sonja said...

Reading this post, it seems that the issue is not external (exercising, eating different) but internal. It's all about accepting and loving your body right now. And then everything else will follow automatically.