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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Rice Experiment


For the last three weeks I’ve been talking to cooked, white rice. You might think that I don’t have a lot to say to rice—we don’t have a lot in common and I really only like rice when it’s smothered in teriyaki sauce—but I’ve been whispering compliments and loving words to the jar of rice with the red band around it’s lid and insults and hateful words to the jar with the blue band on its lid.
I started this because my friend did it and I was shocked by the results, (which were more dramatic than mine, because she did it for a longer period of time—I ended mine early because of travel plans) so I tried it myself. My husband, ever the skeptic, pointed out that maybe I tended to spit when I speak harshly, so after my first time of rice-talk session I was always careful to hold the jars away from me and not spit. Maybe my sessions of kind words were longer than the hateful sessions and therefore the lid was off for a longer period of time? I don’t know. I think it was about even. I tried to be fair.
Friends asked if it felt good/cathartic to vent on my poor rice, but it really didn’t. In fact, it was just the opposite. I always end the sessions feeling badly and a little apologetic toward the abused rice—even though I know it’s just rice and doesn’t have feelings or emotions. Being mean makes me feel—mean.
What lessons have I learned from my experiment?
1.      When I’m mean or unkind I’m hurting myself, maybe even more than I’m hurting anyone else.
2.      Rice or mold can’t understand my words—just as like someone speaking another language can’t understand my words—so it has to be more than the actual stringing together of sentences—it has to be a combination of the tone and the intent. And maybe it’s just the thoughts? I don’t know.
3.      From now on, I will always be more mindful of my negative thoughts and words. I will speak to others and myself with love, kindness and compassion.
What does this have to do with weight loss? Quite a bit, I think. I tend to be my most critical and hateful after standing on the scale or in the dressing room at the mall. Should I abandon the scale? Stop shopping? No. What I do need to do is stop the negativity. If the numbers on the scale are up I need to be honest and reflective about that—was it the birthday cake? The sodium from the Chinese food? A skipped work out? And were those choices—whatever they were—worth the pound or two? Surprisingly, the answer to that question might be yes. Be honest and yet be kind. These thoughts are helpful. Harsh words/thoughts are not (remember the rice.)
I would love to hear scientific theories explaining the results of my rice experiment. Can someone learned in the ways of bacteria explain this to me? Although really, I  don’t need to know why—I don’t need to understand the power—I just need to respect it.

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