Path to wellness not always straightforward

20 Sep
Nurses Smoking in Little Rock Arkansas October...

Nurses Smoking in Little Rock Arkansas October 2011 002 (Photo credit: Curious 72)

Have you ever seen an overweight doctor?  How about a nurse out for a cigarette break?  Clearly just knowing what’s good for you isn’t always enough to make you choose the path to wellness.

Author, public speaker and Buddhist nun Pema Chodron suggests that habitual behaviours such as overeating, smoking, watching excessive amounts of TV, drinking alcohol excessively, and other habits can be compared to scratching an itch.

In her audio book “Getting Unstuck”, Chodron describes a common situation in which people often find themselves with a vague sense of discomfort about something.  This discomfort is unpleasant – like an itch – and the natural thing to do is to scratch.  The bad habit that we repeatedly engage in is the scratching.

Often we are not aware of what is causing the itch.  We just keep scratching and since this provides some temporary relief we don’t spend time trying to figure out what is causing the itch in the first place.

The itch may be some kind of negative thoughts or feelings about who we are, and what we are and are not capable of.

Sometimes we have to refrain from scratching and “be present” with the feeling, the itch.  Only then can we get to know what is triggering our bad habit.

Understanding our triggers can be an important first step in our journey towards choosing a path of wellness.


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