No, I’m not going to tell you how fabulous it is to be fat. I want to give you an example of When Life Gets in the Way.
Magnificent Obesity is the name of the book I am currently working on, a memoir about trying to move forward when you feel that life has left you behind. The intention was to neatly sum up the crises and opportunities I encountered four years ago when a mild heart attack turned my stubborn quest for absolute truth and bliss into a life lesson in letting go. Confronted by numerous longstanding obstacles to wellness and wholeness — from a stifling preoccupation with death to a forty-year, two-pack-a-day smoking habit — I spent the next four years changing what could still be changed, transforming an existence that had been wrapped around fantasy, fat and fear into a can-do life driven by passion, purpose and authentic power.
Or so I thought.
After four years I believed I was ready to write the memoir because I thought I was “done.” Having faced my demons, having worked my way through intense existential pain and gruesome physical symptoms, having finally gained control over a lifelong anxiety disorder, I began to find room inside my head to write about the experience, to make sense of it and make a gift of it to others.
I had completed the first five of the seven stages on the path to radical transformation as defined by Sally Kempton, an instructor in meditation and transformative practice. I had received my Wake-Up Call and moved quickly to the next two stages of Holding Uncertainty and Asking for Help. I had reached the point of Grace, Insight and Awakening and was entering the Honeymoon phase, which is when we get to savor the breakthroughs we have made.
What I hadn’t reckoned on was the intrusion of another fairly traumatic health crisis. It threw me. It threw me back to square one. I had just finished creating an annotated table of contents for Magnificent Obesity. It had a beginning, middle and end. This sudden new Wake-Up call disrupted the creative process and compelled me to re-evaluate my original outline in an effort to include an alarming discovery made during a “routine” trip to the emergency room.
I don’t know why I’m so surprised. Didn’t I say there were seven stages to Sally Kempton’s path to radical transformation and that I had experienced only five? The last two stages are these: Fall From Grace and Integration.
I’m beginning to think that the real story of Magnificent Obesity will turn out to be a story of the telling of the story.
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