A status quo situation they long took as given and normal (however miserable) shifted during the course of our work together.
This situation may have been a state of being, a way of feeling, a way of eating, a way of seeing self, or a way of relating to others.
Point is, they got proof – in the form of experience – that a different, more fulfilling status quo was possible.
It just wasn’t familiar (at least not yet) and not nearly so comfortable as the old, more miserable way.
Sad thing is, the pull toward a familiar, miserable “normal” is as far as many other people get.
But it doesn’t have to be.
And one place of exploration and practice in this regard is a legal doctrine a client (also a lawyer) mentioned the other day:
res ipsa loquitur: “The thing speaks for itself.”
In brief, this doctrine infers negligence from the very nature of an injury – in the absence of direct evidence on how a defendant behaved.
Like when a scalpel is discovered inside a body after surgery.
Like when the cat clearly ate the canary (along with the evidence).
Like when you’re sitting with day-after fallout from a sugar or pizza bender.
Now, I’m not up on legalese (or Latin), so please take everything that follows as anything other than an accurate treatise on how res ipsa loquitur plays out in law.
But there’s a lot to this phrase when it comes to the work of exploring – and shifting – familiar, miserable patterns.
Part of it is as simple as saying: “Okay, this is how I feel in body and mind after binging on sugar and grains.”
“This is how I feel when I give that no-grain thing a go! The bloating, aches, allergies and acne I once took as ‘normal’ have nearly vanished!”
There’s no contest or question. The thing speaks for itself.
Going further, we’re also talking about facing the reality of a situation with an abundance of raw honesty.
Perhaps this situation is one we’ve long been viewed as given or “normal,” even when it’s clearly – upon stepping back – unbalanced, unhelpful and even harmful for self or others.
Here too, when we pause, step back and look in with curious eyes, there’s no question. The thing speaks for itself.
The hard part is creating space between us and our patterns – enough space to step back and see clearly, even in the midst of “doing what we always do.”
When working with clients, a key part of my job is helping out with this.
But as an entryway into this place of pause and seeing, I encourage you to play with res ipsa loquitur on your own, and see whether anything arises.
- Are you clinging to justifications for why NOT to try paleo-primal rather than just giving it a go? Even for just 30 days? (I mean, if grain and sugar aren’t addictive or a problem for you, whassthebigdeal? It’s just 30 days.)
- Are you saying “I deserve this” or “everything in moderation”…only to find what you get (yet again) is exactly what you don’t deserve: feeling miserable in body and mind.
- Are you suffering and deciding it’s “normal”…when in fact there are many options and possibilities?
- Where, why and how is “the proof” showing up in your life and patterns, both with eating and in relationship to self and others?
Where, for you, does “the thing speak for itself”?
This sort of questioning isn’t easy and isn’t ever over. There’s always another layer.
There’s always another place to ask: What’s really going here? What’s truly possible?
. . .