Enter the Cave


I saw my brother today, and he mentioned the philosopher Joseph Campbell.  While I can’t claim to be as well-read as my brother, Campbell’s work is “on the list”, and  I’m familiar with this famous quote about the cave & the treasure.

I love the quote as it applies to my fasting journey.  During the years that I was struggling with obesity, I lived in a real scarcity mindset.  By this, I mean my energy was very closed.  I was focused on what I did not have, on what had not worked out for me.  I lived in a state of self-pity, and I assumed that good things were only meant for other people.  From this place of fear of not having enough, I often looked at food as my one refuge, the one thing I could get and have.  I could not pass up the latest flavor of Pop Tart or Oreo, because these things symbolized the few pleasures I believed I could access.  Being hungry or going without food in general triggered my feelings of panic and scarcity.

In light of this, I’m still not sure how all the stars shifted to allow me to take on a fasting practice, but I’m so grateful I did.  Going the majority of the day without eating was a cave I feared to enter, but inside it was the treasure I sought.  Inside the cave of my fasting success, I found clarity, capability, and empowerment.  I gained an appreciation of food that transcends the latest packaging and marketing, and mastered a way of living in trust and agreement with my body.

My brother described Campbell’s work on The Hero’s Journey and how it applies to mythology throughout history, including modern stories like Star Wars and Harry Potter.  I remarked that my journey is heroic in its own way, and the reason it seems to resonate for many is because of my former, about-to-turn-40 “Fat Mom” persona (Fat Mom is a provocatively-titled chapter in our memoir Unbelievable Freedom).  Women who have struggled with turning 40 (or 50) with deep disappointments seem to find my story resonant, especially if obesity has been part of the struggle.  Many want to cheer for the Fat Mom turned hero of her story, and I appreciate every one.  Enter the cave you fear, and the treasure can be yours, too.

Oh, I also love that Joseph Campbell coined the phrase, “Follow Your Bliss.”  It’s just a twist on my grandmother’s “Enjoy Your Life”, don’t you think?