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If You Want Magic, Go to Vegas

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Their formal name is Rorschach, but we know them better as ink blots, those nondescript blotches of black ink on white paper that psychiatrists use to delve into our inner thoughts. You look at a series of blots, each truly without form and detail what you see. Since what you are describing exists only in your mind, the shrink can use this "projection" to help see the world through your eyes.

As far as I can tell from your many wonderful responses to my last blog (My Relationship with Food: A Reflection of Self) -- its content, title, lead graphic, etc, -- blogs may soon replace ink blots as projective tools. That may also be why new social communities like HuffPost have become so popular -- our blogs, like our eating habits, mirror ourselves and give us the opportunity to open up, look in and then open out.

And like the ink blots, the new social landscape is painted with synchronicity. In the same week I wrote about self-healing, self-love, self-acceptance and non-judgment as behaviors that helped me escape from my own prison of self-loathing, Russell Bishop wrote a wonderful piece on close tolerance and the role it plays in our judgment of others. I am sure there are hundreds of others looking at the same question, "How did we, the most generous, loving, giving people on the planet become so judgmental about ourselves and others?" and perhaps an even more frightening reality, "What will become of us if this trend continues?" What will happen if we can't "just get along" as Rodney King suggested two decades ago?

My blogs will continue to focus on that most primary of relationships, the one between me and myself. In the coming months, I will explore not only my relationship with food (past and present), but also the methods, processes, belief systems and just plain hard work that helped me to move from self-loathing to self-love, to replace self-judgment with self-acceptance, to convert my role from self-jailer to self-emancipator, and to shift from rigid control and freewheeling binging to choice without intolerance for myself.

Let's begin with what I believe to be one of life's lesser taught lessons, especially in the field of obesity, "If you want magic, go to Vegas." We live in an age of instant this and instant that. HuffPost provides us with instant communication and feedback. New pharmaceuticals provide us with instant relief from diseases and maladies that seem to have instantly sprung up. Cable news dishes up instant analysis not only of events that have just taken place, but of many that haven't yet taken place. The 24-hour news cycle has created instant gossip, instant rumors and instant commentary on the fiction they contain. We are just beginning to appreciate the real consequences of instant home ownership, instant derivative markets and instant political movements.

What might have looked like an instant transition for me in my last blog (self-loathing to self-love in five hundred words or less) wasn't instant. It wasn't fast. The ups and downs in my weight spread over decades. Each new diet, each new cure took its time to slowly incubate, apparently succeed and then regularly fail. Each failure relentlessly added on more pounds until it seemed as though I had devoted my entire adult life to worshiping at the alter of the doctor's scale. The last phase alone, during which I discovered that I in fact was the culprit, lasted almost a decade.

Yes, indeed it was quite slow and arduous. The way most things that are important are. The way most things dealing with personal and spiritual growth are: slow, not always easy to stick with, sometimes painful, and so worth it. The key was to never give up. To know that each moment was fresh and new; that I didn't have to wait until Monday. I could chose to love myself then and there by not beating myself up for what I just put into my mouth or stop with the next bite or love myself regardless of what action I took.

For now, I'll leave the metaphors about journeys to others. We all know what a struggle it can be dealing with our own particular life lessons and how easy it can seem to someone else. And it's so easy to judge another but that's because we rarely see the whole story, nor are we aware of the entire picture or share even a portion of another's burden. This is good, because we all have enough to carry for ourselves on our own. But that doesn't mean we can't offer instruction, encouragement and shared pride at a job well done by another or on another's behalf. Whatever else we are, we remain the most charitable of God's creations.

So for those who have been at it longer than I have, good for you. For those who are just beginning, good for you. For those of you stuck somewhere in the middle, good for you. And for those of you who haven't yet begun, remember, "If you want magic, go to Vegas."

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