chia pudding

Premature Evacuation

Ever start a diet, do all the sweaty things necessary to slim down or bulk up, and fall into bed so satisfied that your eyes slam shut before your head hit the pillow? Me too.

While we’re being honest, have you ever shot out of bed the very next morning, fully expecting to slip on a puddle of 20 pounds of body fat that miraculously melted off your torso while you slept? Only to be disappointed that your hard work on Day 1 of that promising body overhaul program didn’t pay off overnight? Me too.

Quick! Before the Truth Serum wears off:

Have you ever thrown in the towel upon realizing this sad truth? That you are still carrying your winter weight around—from 1995—after spending an entire day counting carbs, calories, colors of vegetables, and reps on that scary transformer equipment at the gym? I mean, seriously. Who has time to live like this. Exercising and eating right is just too much to expect in this day and age. Plus, that equipment could kill somebody who feels weak from dieting all day.

It’s so easy to rationalize our Give Up Plan. So easy to toss aside our deep, emotionally charged goals the minute things don’t go our way. When we know fully well that it took decades to pack on that winter weight, and of course it’s going to take more than 24 little hours to unpack it from our fat pants.

Despite the logic blaring it’s ugly truth in the face like a pack of tasteless Pop Tarts, we are quick to throw away a precious goal if it takes more than a tik tok post to accomplish.

This phenomenon is what I lovingly call Premature Evacuation.

Premature Evacuation happens to the best of us. We take a special potion to correct whatever ails us, and if it doesn’t work in ten seconds or less, our wonder drug of choice is suddenly deemed snake oil. We do the hokey pokey and we turn ourselves around, and if that’s not really what it’s all about, we kick it to the curb in two shakes of a lamb’s tail.

Why do we do this? Because bailing out on something we truly want, but can’t have within moments, frees us up for immediate gratification. Something that lives in our minds and creeps around tempting us to not bother with setting a pesky goal, or enjoying the actual process in the making.

I like to consider the choice in pairing good butter with either an excellent loaf of artisan bread or a saltine cracker. Sure, the latter can hold us over when times are tough, and yet, imagine that lovely loaf of crusty, mouthwatering bread. I’m salivating at the mere thought of it.

And then I remember the process. As I contemplate the effects of premature evacuation, I’ll wait for the bread. Saltines be damned!

Because it’s about the journey. The process of fondling the silky flour and whiffing the heady aroma of sourdough starter IS part of the bliss that’s added to the first bite. That crisp crust encasing a soft, warm, holey slice of heaven in my mouth.

See, when we take the time to focus on the actual recipe, it becomes a part of the experience. The prelude to the kiss. Measuring dry ingredients requires focus on the moment. The NOW. Time slows down, giving way to beautiful meditative movements in the present as the dough gives way to the heel of my hand. A lovely cadence of pressure applies to the mass, bringing it together into a satiny pillow. Slap that puppy into a bowl and cover it with a damp tea towel to rise.

Another gift that comes from patiently baking bread involves the proofing time. Rush the dough and it’ll fight back, resulting in an inedible glob of dashed hopes. Rush the baking time, open the door to check it every five minutes, and again, you’re guaranteed destroyed dreams of slathering rich butter over the warm loaf as it finally reaches its peak of doneness.

Sure, you can be a Speed Racer and buy a loaf at the market, or you can bake bread on a day off and slow your heart rate, your pulse, and your mind to a crawl as you read a book with your kids, take a nap, or fill the bath with bubbles and soak while the dough rises. Do a puzzle on the table. Whatever preserves that vital meditative state.

It takes as long as it takes, and therein lies the remedy for Premature Evacuation. Once you understand the difference between saltines and sour dough bread, you’ll see that it’s worth the time and patience to do your part and wait for the pay off. In it’s own time.

Just like our beautiful winter weight. It’s slow to move, and with consistent, loving acceptance of who we are in winter AND summer, we will most certainly find a happy medium. A perfect balance of acceptance for the natural rhythms of life. Do the diet. Eat the bread. Just don’t fall into the trap of premature evacuation. The alternative is well worth the wait.

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