One thing that remains constant for every human being is our need for food. The act of eating. Of nourishing ourselves and those we love. Yes, food is an extension of love.
How we eat is an expression of nourishment for our body and soul.
We are bombarded daily with messages that success is related to constantly limiting, restricting and controlling every morsel that pass our lips.
We are given the illusion, that if we avoid wheat, grains, gluten, dairy, sugar, meat, high-sugar fruits etc. then we will somehow feel more pure, happy and... lovable.
Yes, most of what we do is connected to our core need to feel loved - whether we are conscious about it or not. The shallower the act, the deeper the cry often runs.
And what all this results to in the end is increasing our fear towards foods.
What do you think this translates into our beliefs elsewhere in life? We gain the perception that we live in a world of fear - where love is scarce and demanding. Where you need to earn your right to be here as a human being in this skin. And if you fall short, it is because you are unlovable. Something is wrong with you. You don't fit in. You don't belong. You are just not good enough. And as a response, we try to fit in - for many of us our entire life is spent on trying to be someone else than we are. Eventually we lose ourselves... and feel lost.
Yes, what is on our plate is a direct reflection of who we are in many ways.
Are you always hungry, hungry for life, love and perhaps maybe just a sandwich instead of the green juice you drink in the name of self-love?
Self-love is not a diet book, self-love is not veganism nor paleo nor anything that you can categorize.
Because your body is not static. It changes every day, and some years it needs to detox aka it will thrive on a vegan type of cleansing diet, while other years it needs to repair and replenish. More protein is needed during recovery and actual physical surgery.
If we are to learn how to listen to our bodies, we must be open for the idea that our needs change.
That we are not a label. We are not a diet.
This means never calling ourselves a this or a that when it comes to what we eat.
Because what our body needs today may be different tomorrow.
And if we refuse to listen to that, because we are following some "diet", then we are no further in recovery in our mind, than when we were in the midst of being deep in our addiction or eating disorder - or whatever self-destructive behavior we might have had.
You might think - "Well, I am recovered. Let me be. Let me have my food convictions in peace."
We like to think this.
Just having these secret little things that we feed in the dark of our soul.
Letting no one in and pretending that we can control it.
The thing is, that where there is light, there can be no darkness. So at some point we have to choose, and let go of all our neurotic garbage, instead of doing a cross-addiction or new obsession. Because we will relapse. We are feeding our same obsessive bottom-line nature, instead of learning the lesson life was trying to teach us behind our addictive personality:
Compassion + perseverance + patience.
We need to step away from the black-white paradigm - even if we think we are being healthy. We are not black nor white ever. We kill ourselves ever so slowly, when we try to fit into either box, and thus we jump back and forth like hens without heads.
We need to understand, that we can't allow black-white thinking in any form anymore. Our thoughts form our emotions - and then we act.
Actions that will be an extension of self-love or self-hate.
You need a relationship with food that is based on trust, flexibility and balance, if you want to thrive in recovery.
Simply because you are expressing this every day, multiple times, so in essence your relationship with food becomes the basis for every other relationship in your life.
Can you choose to relax, let go, begin to understand how you can satisfy your body's hunger - or will you always be searching for something that looks good on the surface, promises fast results yet it tastes like cardboard, and it feels hollow and empty. Like Barbie, she always looks so happy doesn't she - must be all the green juices she drinks (...) Or maybe it's the Botox. Who knows - anyway, it looks good on Instagram. But does it FEEL good? How does it feel.
Why do you think that many "recovered" drug and food addicts turn to diet regimes? I would estimate that et least 30% of people I meet in the paleo or vegan or raw community have a history of eating disorders or drug issues - and now they are simply transferring their obsessive traits onto diet rules.
It's not like these people are exuding love for all. Oftentimes, we get caught up in telling other people how they now also need to conform to our rules. We are taking our addictive, self-hating nature and now putting it into food - even if it seems acceptable from the outside "because it is healthy".
However, being inflexible, rigid and controlling is never healthy. It kills our soul.
Our relationship with food is a gateway drug.
Why we always, always, always want to aim for balance.
We want to be flexible and understand that our body has different needs day to day.
How do you figure out your needs? Well, you need to begin to listen - to other people, their needs and your own core needs. Most of us are busy talking, controlling and winning.
And our actions reflect that we just never listen anymore.
When our relationship falls apart - and the signs have been there all along, if we only listened. When our body turns against us, and for years we have tried to suppress our hunger. When everything tumbles. It never just happens. Yet that is what most of us feel. And then we get busy asking why. Why is God against us? God is never against us. We just refuse to listen. And then we get busy telling God what to do to make us happy. And yet, we are so busy talking and telling everyone what to do, that we never LISTEN. We are lost and yet we refuse to take directions - the irony.
This week I want you to listen more. And talk less.
For every time you feel upset, sad, angry, lonely, misunderstood, take 20 deep breaths and feel whatever it is you are feeling. Stop talking. Start listening. To the sound of the ocean, birds chirping, the wind howling, rain falling, what your body needs, to what your spouse tells you etc.
Start paying attention to your surroundings. Start being present.
This takes time - but listening is the only way to gain a healthy, loving relationship with food, body and other people. So start simple by rewiring you brain in terms of reacting immediately versus just taking some time out to breathe and begin to tap into your ability to listen again.
For most of us we have been so disconnected for so long that this suggestion in itself seems difficult to grasp - how do you listen? Before you can master anything and understand what it means to be tapped into your body intuition, you need to at least try. And try again and again and then try some more. Developing body-mind-soul connection is not something that happens over night following years of brainwashing ourselves daily with garbage.
Try to tune into your body's needs.
When you go to the supermarket - are you buying kale because you should, or because you feel like it would be nourishing - or maybe you are craving a warm breakfast instead of your usual green kale smoothies. We do not want to base what's on our plate on living up to some dead piece of paper that is based on a diet and not our body's needs. No one knows if your body needs to be vegan, grainfree, paleo etc. If in doubt what's going on, then get to know your biochemistry, but don't follow a fad just cos it worked for some dude. Your body is not that dude's - you might as well go gambling if that's how you expect to pay your bills, because that's essentially what you are doing health wise.
This week your challenge is to listen more. Aim to talk 20% and listen 80%.
This means letting other people talk more than you. Look at the clock if you need to. Often we have no idea how little our attention span actually is. Simply listening - this is how you develop body awareness and understand your body, mind and soul's needs and can thus express your authentic needs and truth without confusing it with fears and ego - and things you THINK you need, but that will never satisfy your hunger.
When we are good listeners - this shows in our way to nourish ourselves. It will change day by day. It will never numb us out. It will never deprive us. It will meet our needs. It takes time to master. But that is freedom. That is love. And it tastes so good - and it feels so good.