Sunday, May 8, 2011

What Makes Daphne Run?



If you're familiar with the myth of Daphne and Apollo, you may know that she runs because Cupid shot her with a lead arrow.  Here is a url with an excellent synopsis: http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/myths/a/102110-Apollo-And-Daphne-By-Thomas-Bulfinch.htm
(Why can't I just copy and paste this in and have it show up as a clickable link?  Oh well, just google: Daphne and Apollo and you'll get the whole story.)
Ever since I first saw Bernini's sculpture I've been fascinated and somewhat horrified by this story.  When I was in school I learned that myths came into being as answers to the great questions about life, death, creation, and what concerns me here: Human Motivation.

Leaving aside the fact that Apollo is pursuing and Daphne is running because Cupid shot them out of spite, (Thanks Kid) whenever I think of this myth a little voice inside my head says, "That is Apollo she's running from, god of the sun, music, self-knowledge (Gnothi Seuthon is written at the entrance to his oracle at Delphi) and who knows what else.  In the story he is charmed by her unbound hair blowing in the wind, and he imagines how lovely it would be if it was styled.  So he doesn't just want to do her, he wants to do her hair!  This god had everything going for him.  What was she thinking?  And how in the world does this relate to burning up those last few pounds of unwanted fat?

What Makes Daphne Run?

This question relates to more than the pursuit of the aspirational body, whatever that means or looks like to you.  It relates to all the times that we run from the thing we say we really want.  When I think of Daphne as she is presented in this story she is a symbol of many things to me, but youth and freedom are the most obvious ones. If she can keep running there will be no marriage, no children, no responsibility, no change for her.  Also, as Apollo stands for the sun, I think she is running from the all consuming fire that burns away the ego, and even the individual self when it catches you.  

I think that this is the central fear that that stands between me and my essential self.  If everything that isn't good, or worthy, or needed about me gets burned off- including vanity and the last ten pounds, who will I be?  Isn't it the weird, quirky, and lumpy stuff about me that makes me unique?  And if I do manage to get to my ideal, what will be expected of me?  Fully realized individuals are supposed to be mature, generous, more interested in other people than themselves, kind, wise, organized.  The kind of person who is a hard worker, a good listener, and who flosses twice a day. A...a real grown up!

Years ago, when I quit smoking for the first time.  (Don't worry, I haven't had a cigarette in almost 11 years) I read a book called , "You Can Stop Smoking" by Jacquelyn Rogers.  Let me paraphrase a line from that book that will always stay with me.  "In order to stop smoking forever, you have to grow up that last little bit."

You Have to Grow Up that Last Little Bit

It's early on Sunday morning on Mother's Day here in the US.  My husband and son are still asleep, and I am here at my desk where I pay bills, and file receipts, keep records,  and do lots of the things a mature responsible mother does.  This is also where I write and edit the thoughts that swirl through my head most of the day.  The last few pounds represent growing up that last little bit.  When I reach my goal, I will have come into full flower.  Once I come into full flower, I will be expected to bear fruit.  This is the great fear in me.  The time is coming when I will have to start offering my very best to the world.  Of course this is what I want more than anything!  I have worked, studied, practiced, thought, and persevered for so long just so that I could offer some genuine wisdom about physical transformation, and the motivation that brings it about.

So what is running from Apollo for me?  (By the way, Apollo ultimately represents me, cause it's all about meeeee after all :) ) That's simple.  Overeating, over thinking, procrastinating, and self delusion, are all the steps that carry me away from the sun.  I know what to do,  how to eat, and how to move in order to let my ideal self catch up to me.  Fat loss is a paradox isn't it?  To burn off the last little bit of my unessential self, maybe I just have to stand still.

So, what are you running from, especially you moms on this Happy Mother's Day.