What is it Here to Teach You?

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. Even if we run a hundred miles an hour to the other side of the continent, we find the very same problem awaiting us when we arrive.”

-Pema Chodron

Emotional overeating (what I call fog eating) is one of the best teachers I have ever had. The process (eating lots of food when I wasn’t hungry) and the results (being overweight) lead me into myself. I don’t know if I would have ever found the life I am currently living and the person I currently am without this education.

Make no mistake, I didn’t see it this way when I was knee-deep into it. I used to curse the fact that I was overweight and obsessed with food. I used to think it meant something was wrong with me. Why could my best friend, Erika, eat half her frozen yogurt and then throw it away? Why did I have to inhale it and wish I had more? I felt weak and inadequate.

Overeating was painful. It wouldn’t go away. I would starve myself and lose weight for a short period of time, but my relentless teacher would come back and ask me to do the work again and again. It was much like a professor who requires a paper be rewritten until they are sure you have learned the material. I tried all the tricks to get it done. I went on new diets. I tried to embrace being overweight. I tried working out three times a day. But these attempts were never acceptable to my teacher. I had not learned what I needed to learn- and so the problem remained.

It wasn’t until I did the freeing work of asking myself, “Why?” that I begun to learn what I needed to know. Once I moved past the behavior and results (which were just symptoms of my thinking) and focused on the cause, I began to learn about the person I really am. I learned to listen and trust my body. I learned to pay attention to myself and find out what really mattered to my soul. I uncovered and removed programming I had received as a child that was not helpful or even true for me anymore. I found out what I needed to know.

And the teacher went away.

I no longer have an issue with overeating and hating my body. I no longer obsess about food or the size of my jeans. I now know why I used to. I know now, on a much deeper level, who I am and what I want.

I am so thankful for the relentless teacher of overeating.

For you, it may be something different that keeps coming up again and again in your life. Maybe, like me, you tell yourself that you are weak because you can’t overcome this issue. But what if you are wrong? What if this “issue” with money or men or yelling or drinking is only a guide, a teacher trying to get your attention? What if it is here on purpose to teach you what you need to know to live an even bigger life?

Maybe someday you with thank the current problem you curse.

Maybe it will end up being the best teacher you’ve ever had.