Food -Glorious Food*
Is it possible—how is it possible—that I have written a weekly blog for years now, and not even mentioned, not even whispered, that four-letter word, “food?”
I have written about childhood, about aging, about transformation, about fear and faith, about hope and heartbreak, about trusting the process and railing the f___ against it.
I have not talked about food.
I find this extraordinary, considering how my relationship with food is such a shiny mirror, such a profound and painful forever-teacher of mine, considering how many of my clients, over the years, struggle with food, considering how so much of my work, both personal and professional, has been about learning the gift of patient, kind, self-nourishment?
I, at times, am fascinated by the power of both my denial and my willingness, and the extraordinary tango that these two parts of me together dance.
What is there to say?
Let’s do a little checklist.
- Know a lot about nutrition but eat whatever your mind wants, anyway?
- Eat good, healthy whole foods, but eat too much of it?
- Dive into the fake, Fraken-Foods (think, Frankenstein) when the emotional shit hits the fan?
- Want your body to be different? Thinner? Stronger? Younger? Tighter?
- Eat to numb rather than nourish yourself?
If you have answered yes to any one of these questions (I just made up), then welcome to the human dilemma.
If you have answered yes to more than one of these questions, welcome to life in a body.
If you answered yes to all these questions and any other unspoken questions about food, take a deep, long breath of self-kindness.
You are not alone.
Our bodies know what we need. When we are younger and more authentically connected to them, we are better able to nourish, to give our bodies what they need to grow and strengthen. Yet, as our minds continue to grow and we inevitably fade from a more connected relationship with our physical selves, our minds tend to take over.
Our mind overrides the wisdom of our body.
The words of that great sage, Tillie Futuronsky, my dear mother, nailed it:
“Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.”
How I railed against her knowing me that fully, in ways I couldn’t imagine knowing myself, as I sat at our green Formica kitchen table, working my way through a mass of food, a thousand years ago.
And how incredibly insightful she was.
How to realign?
How to recommit?
How to take a proactive stand, as that danger zone, the “holiday season” hovers?
Here is my bottom-line formula for realignment and rebalancing, the ongoing practice of eating with mindful choice; radical self-acceptance plus the right use of will.
NOTICE WITHOUT JUDGMENT.
Notice without judgment.
Without making your choices wrong, without blaming yourself, just watch. See what you eat, what you want, what you are and are not able to give yourself.
Notice how the food feels once you have eaten them.
Are you energetically strengthened?
Or are you diminished?
Watch and breathe and acknowledge—there is some lingering comfort in these old patterns.
And from the groundwork of that radical kindness to yourself, lean in the direction you choose.
LEAN IN THE DIRECTION YOU CHOOSE.
Put down the fork, the cake, the massive chocolate croissant that wouldn’t fit in the bag (I’m speaking from a current personal moment). Whenever you can and as you can, breathe deeply, filling yourself up with kind breath and presence.
And practice—practice leaning toward your choice, your choice of health, of balance, of that which ushers into your life vitality.
Here is a track on mindful eating, from my CD, Life~Works—Meditations for Mindful Living. (I know, it’s antiquated, indeed—guys, I am old.) Here it is:
One bite at a time, may we practice kindness toward ourselves.
One bite at a time, may we lean toward vitality and nourishment.
One bite at a time, may we honor wherever we find ourselves on our journey.
One bite at a time, may we continue to practice,
Oh, life in a body. The never-ending saga of practicing nourishing ourselves, not through the hungry ghosts of our mind, but through the wisdom and the clarity of our brilliant bodies.
I say, let’s be as kind as we possibly can with ourselves. Let’s be beyond-kind.
Let’s be beyond-accepting.
Let’s be beyond-loving.
Why would we not?
And, in the earth of that radical self-kindness, let’s plant the seed of this question: What am I really hungry for?
Dear Friends, please keep in touch. I am firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. Oh, you can download several other tracks from my CD of guided meditations on my website, visit http://coacharuni.com/lifeworks/. My gift to you.