Example reading – opening

The background
…is very ordinary: being overweight (clinically obese, no less, according to the Body Mass Index charts), and not happy about this.
Of course, behind that oh-so-ordinary story are a bunch of factors unique to me. That’s true of anyone approaching the Yijing with any problem at all: each person is unique, and no two ’emotional backgrounds’ to a reading are ever the same. When I read for a client, we start out with a nice, long phone conversation when they talk and I listen, absorbing as much as I can. This is absolutely essential, as Yi will always talk to the whole person – so the more sense I have of who that person is, the better I can understand what it’s saying.
When you’re reading for yourself, you’ll have the experience of being spoken to directly. You don’t need to spend a long time on ‘the background’ because the background is simply who you are. All I actually wrote in my journal before I started thinking about questions to ask was this:
“Joints ache, can’t run, definitely time to lose weight. But I don’t eat much, and I eat almost no junk at all. I’m also eating much less than a few years ago, and weigh a stone more.
I’ve started morning exercise and am clamping down still more tightly on what I eat. Not sure this will do it, though.”
But the background you probably need to know before the reading will make much sense to you is this:
On the one hand, my mind, and sheer common sense, were telling me I needed to lose weight. Besides the frustration of aching joints and not being able to run, there’s the uncomfortable fact that all my fat accumulates round my middle. Not only is that the least healthy place to get fat – increased risk of type II diabetes, heart disease and all that fun stuff – but my father put on fat in just the same way, had type II diabetes and died of a heart attack in his mid-seventies.
So much for common sense. Some years later, my mother died from the complications of Crohn’s Disease – and while my father’s death had been sudden, and came while he was perfectly active and happy, Mum went through a long-drawn-out process of starvation. I spent a lot of time with her in her final months, and I will never forget her emaciated body, looking – without any exaggeration – like the photos of prisoners released from concentration camps. And it’s since that time that I’ve been putting on weight, going from maybe 9 1/2 stone then to almost 12 at the time of the reading.
Finally, Mum’s death leaves me notionally responsible for my younger brother, who has Down’s Syndrome. Not that this has much effect in practice, except that I have him over for holidays a couple of times a year; the rest of the time he’s cared for completely by the brilliant staff at a small residential home. Still, it’s not the same.
So I think about weight loss, and how to go about it. I know perfectly well that weight-loss diets don’t work in the long term. Also that I’m hugely reluctant to follow anyone’s ‘meal plan’, or weigh portions, or count anything at all, and I have absolutely no tolerance for being hungry. Last time I lost a few pounds (all of which have come back since and brought their friends), it was just by not eating when I wasn’t hungry. Can I do that? I’m not sure. I sit at the computer all day, and when my brain stalls and I get up for a break, that usually means eating something.
Just ‘healthy eating’ is not going to make a difference, because I’m already eating healthily – no sugar except in the weekly dark chocolate bar, whole grains, lots of vegetables, and so on. I’m eating less and weigh more. OK, so I’ve started going out in the morning to exercise again, and cut out those occasional lapses with other sugary stuff, but I don’t for one moment suppose this is going to make a difference.
So the questions in my mind are these…
  • Why am I gaining weight?
  • Does it have something to do with how Mum died?
  • If so, now what?
  • Is there any way I can possibly lose the weight? (There surely has to be, doesn’t there?) Do I just have a choice between being fat or being hungry?
  • What can I do about this?
The ‘why’ questions are interesting, but what I really want to know now is what I can do – given that I know what doesn’t work (diets), I know what’s supposed to work (healthy eating) and it isn’t working… so I’m pretty much stumped.
It all boils down to a very simple question:
How to lose weight?
Yi answered with Hexagram 55, Abundance, changing at the first line to Hexagram 62, Small Exceeding.