I have not been feeling very inspired lately. I've been feeling angry and ashamed. I don't often share my bathroom habits, but it's on my mind.
I've been running back and forth to the toilet this morning because I indulged, not in heavy drinking or a wild night of partying, but in a simple sandwich! I indulged in a classic Reuben sandwich made with heavenly pastrami, Baby Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and a load of thousand island dressing nestled between two slices of buttered and toasted rye bread. Sounds delicious, yes?
Well, it tasted heavenly, but it was terrible for me.
Unfortunately, I wrestle with IBS and should never have eaten that sandwich, especially with baby Swiss cheese! In my early thirties, I started noticing how food affected me. I don't have a hearty constitution like others. Any fatty food, many cream products, artificial preservatives, and heavy garlic take their toll on my system. Don't get me wrong. I love eating them, but they don't love me back. It hasn't gotten any easier as I've gotten older. I noticed that wine or tomato sauce before bed gives me reflux. I can eat aged cheese, but not soft gourmet cheese. I can eat a burger OR fries, but not both simultaneously. I must carefully monitor my food intake. Even more than one cup of coffee a day can trigger my system!
Watching the world around me seemingly eat what they want, I sometimes feel depressed about the situation. It has even caused me to feel weak and ashamed. It's easy to ask, "Why me?" and "What did I do to deserve this?" And, on some days, I declare victimhood. But is it true? In moments like this, I must turn to my Spiritual Practice.
As a Spiritual Artist, I have learned to go with the flow and seek the good in everything. There is always a gift in our limitations. But what could be beneficial about having a fragile digestive system?
Reflecting and looking for the good, I realize this weak body taught me a lesson. I've learned to eat well, avoid fatty foods, and add fiber to my diet. I've discovered to listen to my body's signals, and we have a good relationship most days. I'm not overweight and not on any medicine. I take yoga classes and meditate. My weak constitution has forced me to have strong self-control for the most part. However, saying no when your 86-year-old mother serves up the perfect Reuben sandwich is tough.
But when I let my guard down, slip up, and experience the consequences, I return to my self-care regimen.
I recently lost a dear friend to colon cancer. He was only five years older than me. He had a great sense of humor and was a joy to my life, and he ate whatever he wanted; I envied him.
My lifelong dance with IBS has brought me some gifts. There is good to be found in every bad. If you're wrestling with some physical limitations, take a few moments and reflect. Is there a gift in your life situation? If you struggle with this exercise of finding the good, find a friend and switch roles. Take the time to discover the good in their bad and see if they can enlighten you about your situation.
Just know that as you experience your situation, seeing the gift may be challenging. Give yourself time.
Can you find the good in the bad?
For example, I have less energy than I did, but now I have the patience to sit and truly enjoy the world around me. Slowing down has enabled me to practice presence and watch the birds. I've learned to be happy in being and not in doing.