Bright Ideas

The Light-Bulb Moment

It was a bright day in the village of Kazomere. The town had received its very first electric light bulb. It hung proudly in the town hall, a token of gratitude from a visiting ambassador. All 2,512 of the village’s residents passed by it every night to bask in its magical glow.

Four months later, tragedy struck. The beloved orb whose light had given a vestige of pride to the insignificant little hamlet suddenly went dark. Slowly, the villagers began to accumulate before the inky building, mouths agape, taking in the unthinkable scene. Almost all 2,512 residents had gathered when, finally, the mayor arrived to address his constituents.

“Dear people of Kazomere. Fear not, for on the day that we were gifted this shining light, its dim future was foretold. Our benefactor made sure we had a crate of replacements to last us for the next several years.” There was a sense of relief in the crowd. “Let us,” cried out the mayor, “illuminate our village once more!” And he whipped a brand-new bulb from his pocket.

The work, of course, could only begin the following morning, as it was far too dark to see. Gathered at the site were three of the town’s brightest minds—the doctor, the engineer, and the philosopher. They had all come to assist the mayor and had spent the previous hour in silent introspection as to how to best switch the old bulb with the new one.

The doctor spoke first. “The solution, gentleman, is obvious to one who is trained in the art of removing unwanted extremities. I shall get my sharpest scalpel, cut the glass distension at its point of entry and simply insert the new one in the remaining aperture.”

“Nonsense,” replied the engineer. “You have clearly not noticed that the new glass stud has a grooved flange. There won’t be any excess room inside the socket. The solution, however, is simple to one trained in the craft of the great Gauss. I will reach up and firmly grasp the previous globe with a powerful wrench. Then, your honor, we will need to assemble 100 of the strongest men in the town. Working together, they should be able to lift this structure off the ground. Once they have elevated the complex off the ground, they will move clockwise for five full rotations and we shall have the old bulb out.”

“Balderdash,” scoffed the philosopher into his pipe. “You may understand Maxwell, but you clearly don’t understand men. Though their physical prowess will suffice, you will never be able to coordinate their efforts. The solution lies in the concept of observation. The aphotic sphere before us was only recently lucent, thought it already had within the potential of its current depleted state. Meaning, it was both burnished and burnt depending on when it was observed. The secondary node must perforce contain both states of existence even now. Since the two nubs are truly one and the same, the obfuscous bulb is truly luminous by dint of our observation.”

Meanwhile, young Anatol had curiously peeked into the closed-off site. Without much ado he walked past the mayor, grabbed the new bulb in his hand, climbed the ladder below the socket, jiggled the old bulb until he noticed it naturally twisted free toward his left, removed it and did the reverse with the new bulb. The nine-year-old snickered at the arguing trio before he handed the mayor the burnt-out bulb and promptly went back to his far more interesting game of marbles.

Seeing the Light

There are times when all of our insights and experiences make life far more complicated than it needs to be. We create lists and do research and gather opinions until we are more confused than clear. Often, we have a nagging feeling deep inside that seems to be pushing us in one definite direction. If only we could wipe away all of our extraneous calculations and hone in on that childlike clarity. That’s the world of intuition.

As an Intuitive Eating coach, I’ve spoken to hundreds of women who are lost in an over-complicated relationship with food. Countless food rules, breakthrough diets and psychological triggers have made this basic part of living into a process more confusing than paying taxes. People who have lost touch with their inner knowing of how to eat can continue eating something well after they have finished, almost like a prisoner in their own body. A three-year-old, on the other hand, will often set aside a half-eaten cupcake because she’s had enough.

The idea behind a lot of the work I do is that most of us know what it means to eat well. There’s no secret formula or magical food that we are missing. We often convince ourselves that we need to keep searching for the book or food or diet that will fix everything. Then again, people do the same when it comes to parenting, marriage and finances. We must wake up to the reality that there are no secret solutions waiting to be discovered. Most of us already have all the information that we need.

Take, for example, a certain highly popular research project. A successful journalist decided he wanted to send research teams out to a handful of cities where the average lifespan is far longer than that of the general population. They traveled to locations as diverse as Costa Rica, Japan and Italy. Having vastly differing lifestyles, the teams created a Venn diagram to narrow down shared behaviors which seemed to correspond to long, healthy lifespans. The discovery earned him millions of dollars as he sold millions of books and lectured all over the world.

As I share this story, I assume you are excited to hear the results of this massive project. You’ll never believe it. Don’t smoke. Drink moderately. Regular physical activity. Eat legumes, fruits and vegetables. Have an active social and family life.

There. Did that blow your mind?

So if most of us know what we need to be doing, why is it so hard for us to get it done?

This is where the main work I do with my clients really begins. Our journey is not about getting information. It’s about learning how to clear away all the noise that is stopping us from hearing our inner eater. It’s about learning our internal hunger cues, coping with our triggers, and learning how to trust ourselves around food once again. It’s about transforming an agonizing minefield into a joyful dance. It takes time, coordination, and hard work to learn the steps, but once you get there, you’ll find your intuition kicking in and finally feel free to eat like even a three-year-old can.

This is my last article in this series in the Voice. You’ve all given me amazing feedback. Please continue being in touch!

This article was originally published in The Voice of Lakewood.

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