“When you wake up first thing in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. (From Winnie the Pooh, by A A Milne)
This is the order of importance in which my mind regularly places things – food first (and/or numerous variations - computer, reading, yoga, etc), then the state of my soul, and creativity last. Often it’s more a case of food first, last, and all the time, which just represents the level of my obsession.
I would like to tell you that this isn’t true, that like a good, recovering, spiritual person (the one I aspire to be) I actually do put God first. But that would be a lie. And what would be the point of lying anyway? To impress other people? To appease my conscience and God (which suggests that, contrary to what I supposedly believe, or tell myself and other people that I believe, that God is still synonymous with punishment, fear, and a demand for absolute obedience, who will withdraw all help if I don’t get it right all the time)? To compound the illusion I have created for myself, which would enable me to continue in this way - placing my obsession with, and dependence upon, food above all else, especially God?
My aim is to put God first, especially as my life goes a lot more swimmingly, and I feel so much better, when I do follow Good Orderly Direction: and sometimes I do manage it. But, as with all else, I never get it perfect, which is as it should be (though I’m hard-pressed convincing my rigid mind of that fact a lot of the time). So I often start the day really connected to God, and then drift off, and then come back, and then drift off... It’s a bit like a dance, where I keep forgetting the steps and letting go of my partner’s hand, or wandering off to dance with other people, with whom I find myself distractedly fascinated, but ultimately incompatible (they keep treading on my toes, or bumping into me, and taking up way too much of my personal space). Or, just as likely, I gravitate towards the refreshments, where I can be found stuffing my face with, or looking with longing at, all the food that’s on offer.
But it is ‘progress not perfection’ that I aspire to practice (to borrow from the Big Book of AA), which in this case would mean spending more of my day consciously aware and in contact with God, so reducing the amount of time I fritter on my favourite occupation, procrastination – something at which I excel, and have developed into an art form itself. Plus, being guided by God (or conscience, or soul – whatever you want to call it) is far better, and more conducive to a stress-free, productive, joyful life, than being driven by self-will. Kind of makes me wonder why I don’t try it more often.