Dancing with Disappointment

Something hoped and planned for isn't happening.

Despite not eating sugar since the end of December, my default reaction is to scavenge for sweet things; hunting through the communal spaces for leftover biscuits and homemade cupcakes going slightly crusty at the edges. The ravening wolf has taken over: logic and reason swept aside by the visceral drive to deaden feeling. Disappointment has asked me to dance and I'm fleeing through the hallways: twisting, turning, evading, avoiding; I can't face it yet, don't know how to deal with the feeling, can't bear the deadening weight settling in the pit of my stomach.

I duck and dive for 2 days of carbohydrate-craziness until the physical symptoms of over-indulgence become so uncomfortable that I'm forced to consider whether I might be better off taking my place on the dancefloor. I do what I teach: I get quiet and still and I listen.

At first there's a fairground attractions level of distraction: the equivalent of flashing lights and blasts of music pulling my attention here, there, scattered anywhere. I have to wait for this to pass before I can tune in to what I'm feeling and why.

I have a habit of denying emotion, of not knowing how to deal with it when it arrives and extends its hand. Overeating (especially sweet things) is a diversionary strategy I've practiced and honed for years: I employ it any and every time I feel something strongly: boredom, anger, frustration, loneliness, happiness. And this time, it comes to me eventually, disappointment.

Meditation has helped; I find it easier now to recognise that I'm experiencing something, to probe it gently and name it. I've learnt to scan for where the feeling has lodged itself, to acknowledge it, accept it. I'm creating a habit of checking in instead of out; knowing that the quicker I own whatever I'm feeling, the quicker it will fade away. It helps to get quiet and still and listen.

Disappointment has asked me to dance and, now, I'm ready to take to the floor.


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