I live in a very small town. I rarely leave the home without seeing someone I know. This is both something I love (oh, the support of a close community) and loath (oh, why can't a girl anonymously buy some ice cream in her pajamas any more?). Making a public declaration of going Viceless has put me in an interesting situation. Many wonderful people are interested and supportive. Still, many other similarly wonderful people who have different beliefs about food and life are on my tail waiting to catch me cheating.
I'm baffled by people who look at me with squinted eyes, in hushed tones saying, "But are you cheating?" No, I'm not. If and when I do cheat, you'll know about it because this isn't an assignment given to me by my butt face of a strict teacher. I'm a grown woman who took on a challenge of giving up my vices to find out if they are actually holding me back from happiness and productivity. Cheating is evidence in my experiment and it's not something I feel like I need to hide.
That's the story of responsible and logical me. Now, for a tale about the irrational, fearful me:
The Redboxes at all of the respectable drop-off locations (grocery stores and gas stations) are full and not accepting returns. I've already been past the McDonald's once where I know there is a Redbox. McDonald's would be the easy answer as I drive further around town to unload This is 40 but I can't risk being seen. I've made a public announcement that I'm going Viceless and being spotted entering a McDonald's would be so damning. I've been the victim of small town gossip more times than I can count. Living in this town can be like playing an extended adult version of telephone. By the time the gossip reaches you, it can take days to decipher where it could have even originated. As I drive, my mind hosts a montage of clips. I'm seen entering McDonald's. A single text is sent from one friend to another, "just saw the viceless badass entering McDonald's. what a bullshit artist." I'm called out at work and my voice squeaks at I protest, "But I had to return a Redbox!" My project crumbles like war ruins in an earthquake as news of my supposed indiscretion spreads through town.
Yeah, that's how dramatic and ridiculous my mind can be when left unchecked. This is why I have a disciplined meditation and mantra practice.
That night, I dream of sugar-less chocolate. Not sugar free chocolate but just 100% cocoa bars. That must exist right? Well, as I'm searching the candy aisle at our local health food store, The Whole Grocer, my fearful guilt creeps back into my consciousness. I feel my eyes darting side to side, looking to see who is witnessing my comb through the high-grade chocolate bars. Thank God the absurdity of my worry pings me between the eyes before I start wearing dark glasses and head scarves while shopping.
I took on being Viceless in an attempt to be happier, more guilt-free and productive. There is no room in my experiment to foster new paranoia. I can't be more productive if I spend all my time trying to look right. This is a mini challenge that has come up in my big challenge. I've got to own my actions and my truth. I will tell you when I cheat. I will trust you to trust me. This is growth. This is progress. This is the benefit of consciously and publicly taking on a challenge.
Where could you give-up some guilt and start living more productively and happily? I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Own up to what you want publicly and you've taken the first step to achievement.