Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fat (thump, thump, thump). That's Where It's At. (thump, thump)

What Are You Storing?

Well, I was doing some journey work the other day on a completely different topic and had occasion to gaze upon myself - essentially here, as you see in the picture at right.

Now, I don't have a lot of body fat. I know this because other people tell me so, and because whenever I go swimming I get cold really really fast. (Unless it's both hot
and humid, like in the Caribbean.)

And yet, as I've gotten a little bit older, I've been accumulating fat at the "love handles" location, and in the "paunch", and other areas typical of guys as they age. I've been about five to seven pounds over my ideal weight for a hand-full of months this time.

I've been in this situation before. Not that it's a crisis or anything, but I notice it primarily because my pants get too tight around the waist.

I always wonder, "What the heck? Why is this happening now?" It's a curious question, really - why one gains weight at a particular time.

Because I really don't have a LOT of extra weight, and I seem to be able to dispose of it after a time, I have thought about the whats and whys of it all, without panic, self-recrimination, or judgment. Really just an honest curiosity.

I've noticed that, for me, over the last seven years or so, the gain correlates to my use of alcohol. But it's not always the same. Sometimes, it's like every glass of wine accumulates. Other times, it's only like the extra glasses of wine. And yet other times, I gain nothing, even if I drink a lot. It's been curious and mysterious. Why would it change? Why this time and not that other time? And why just so much?

Well, my journey work offered something as profound as it was obvious.

A voice said, "Fat is where you store stuff."

"Uh...yeah. Thanks, Captain Obvious." Of course, fat is where you store stuff. That's what fat
is - storage, right? Everybody knows that.

And then I laughed a little at myself. It's WHAT the fat is storing that makes it interesting. So the self-analysis began. What
am I storing when I'm building or carrying fat?

I back-tracked. The alcohol seems to add the weight. And I drink more when I'm stressed.

Thinking carefully about it, I realized that I drink more to do one of two quite different things:
  • To dull the feeling of being stressed, or
  • To release the stress
Hypothesis: When I try to dull the feeling of stress, I'm putting on weight. When I manage to release the stress, I don't. My intuition says that's more accurate than not. I can tell when I'm not dealing with the stress, and just trying to cover it up. I can also tell when I'm choosing to flush it out - let it run its course and have its say and dispose of it.

Inside, they don't feel the same at all.

I have the image of a sedimentary system, where one layers in the stuff to be stored, then trowels on a layer of fat to hold it in place and keep it away from the consciousness. Or of an infusion system, where the psychic "stuff" is (warning: chemistry term) adsorbed into the fat, like a gas into activated charcoal. When the charcoal can't suck up any more, it's time to add more charcoal.

"I'll deal with that some other time" becomes "I'll just put that in storage".

Of course, by not processing it directly, we deal with it indirectly, in the form of carrying the extra weight (and what's stored in it) around with us, both physically and psychically. And that has a cost, too. So we end up dealing with the consequences of not dealing with it.

It's like paying interest on a debt. One still has the principal to deal with "some day", and meanwhile we're paying interest. I suppose it's a choice, and different people will make different decisions about how to use their "life capital". And it makes sense that over the span of one's lifetime, you'll typically gain weight as you get older, because there are some things from each year that never get pulled out of storage. So the number of storage closets has to keep increasing. Sometimes by a lot, sometimes by a little.

But more interesting to me is, as I look all around me, I begin to wonder. What is each person storing? And why?

Does what I'm saying resonate with you? What are you storing, do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment