Example reading – integrating

First of all, the reading inspired me to take charge. Spending less time bemoaning the shape I was in (more or less spherical…) and more time taking responsibility for changing that, being like the king who takes it on.

The Image –

image of hexagram 55

– became clearer. Those consequences weren’t hunger, as I’d feared, but an extended period of strange fatigue and absent-mindedness. Accepting them was not easy – I just had to sacrifice productivity at work for a few weeks before it settled down. Ouch.

What really got me moving, with some specific ideas, was the moving line:

hexagram 55 line 1

First, I borrowed a very varied stack of books on weight loss from the local library and went through them from top to bottom. I started talking to people who were losing weight (I had some nice ‘coincidental’ meetings that helped) and found what was working for them.

I also tried to find a ‘diet partner’ by signing up at one of those weight loss community websites. I was pretty reluctant to do this, as I’ve always preferred working on my own, to my own pace and my own rules, but I thought I should pay attention and try to meet a ‘partner and lord’.

Ultimately, the only ‘meeting’ I needed was my encounter with one of the books I read, which basically told me that all I thought I knew about weight loss was wrong, and there was a way to lose weight without hunger, counting, meal plans, deprivation and all. It’s quite a thick book that actually took me about ten days to read. It proved a wonderful ally: I wanted very much for there to be a way to lose weight that didn’t mean living in a constant state of calorie deprivation for the rest of my life, I wanted there to be some way I could use my brain more than my supposed ‘will power’ for this – and here was evidence and a kindred spirit to encourage me and bolster my resolve.

At first I read voraciously, learned obsessively, and mopped up all the knowledge – and encouragement – I could. Then I started doing what it said: once I’d learned enough to act, I got going. It’s working. ‘Going on brings honour’!

I’ve kept learning, of course, and I’m finding my way to something more a way of living than a ‘diet’, but it was that first encounter with the book-ally that gave me the start I needed.

I realise now I got line 1 just because realising I had to lose the weight meant I was only starting to be like Wu, just beginning to be the ruler responsible for my own physical state. And the new ruler needs guidance from an ally right at the start if she’s to get anywhere.

The applications of the relating hexagram, Small Exceeding, also became clearer once I was underway. The key questions asked,

“What small things can you do to meet the needs of the situation?
How can you take even more care?”

– and it soon became clear that I needed to take more care over food just in general. I’d been eating snacks that were just ‘grab it and go’; the new way of eating required some thought and preparation time.

And the Oracle…

Hexagram 62

Well, it turned out there were lines to cross I hadn’t imagined. Changing the way I ate turned out to mean going back to eating some meat and fish when I’d been a vegetarian for twenty years. That feels more like a change of identity than a change of diet – it’s one big mountain to cross.

Also, I’ve been pushing my body past its usual ‘boundaries and structures’, such as its expectations of a wholly sedentary lifestyle and carbohydrates-on-demand. It’s certainly been a process of ‘responding and adjusting’, and being careful not to ‘go against my nature and overreach myself’. I find I’m tempted, when I start getting results, to do more and more to make things happen faster. Not in any way a good idea. So this hexagram comes in useful as a reminder that I can make a great change in small, modest, adaptable ways – and when I do have to fly low, it’s not a sign that I’m back-tracking or giving up, it’s just the best way to make the crossing.

The Image of Small Exceeding –

‘Above the mountain is thunder: Small Exceeding.
A noble one in actions exceeds in respect,
In loss exceeds in mourning,
In spending exceeds in economy. ’
Distant thunder is heard far over the mountains.A noble one’s actions rest on a firm knowledge
of limits, but also go just a little beyond them – like the soft sound of the thunder , carrying
beyond its origins.He will do more than is expected of him to honour a transition, paying careful
attention to what is irreversible, and exceeding what might be considered sufficient and ‘sensible’
in his response. So he shows more respect for all involved,mourns the losses more freely – and
also takes more care over expenditure,making provision for the future.”

– was another one I didn’t really understand until later, when my levels of energy and concentration took a dramatic nose-dive as my body adapted to its new fuel. And as for ‘feeling small, exposed and out of balance, constantly aware of the need to adapt’ in the Pair… well, yes, that happened too. There was lots of adapting to be done: physical changes, changing habits, and not least coping with the effect on my thinking. Maybe I should have made the change more gradually – in any case, I certainly had to make allowances for my ‘transitioning’ brain, setting reminders and making scrupulous lists of everything I needed to remember for longer than about 15 seconds. There were still a few funny moments when I didn’t. (I’ve almost scrubbed all the charcoal out of the bottom of the saucepan now…)

Also, at the time of writing this, I’m something over a stone lighter. One down, two to go! Would this be happening without the advice and sharp-kick-in-the-rear effect of this reading? Impossible to say, of course, but I doubt it – partly because the reading bolstered my resolve no end, making it impossible to ignore that this was crunch point, and partly because it sent me out in search of the ‘partner and lord’ that ultimately made all the difference.