For many of us overeating can be an effective, albeit harmful, strategy to fight time. I have often used food to prolong an experience: such as stretching out an enjoyable dinner with my husband by taking an extra helping, or to procrastinate another less enjoyable kind of experience: such when I stop by the kitchen to peruse the fridge rather than do my work. In Women, Food and God Geneen Roth writes about how people with eating issues say that their primary motivation for turning to food is that they want peace and quiet and a small chance to forget about what’s going on in their life. What does it say about us if overeating is the best way we can permit ourselves to honor our need for nurture?
As I look around our society it seems that we are plagued by chaos and busy-ness. We are in an age of instant-everything, immediate gratification and constant attachment to our technological convenience. We have lives that are over-programmed, minds that are over-tasked, and bodies and spirits that are exhausted and in need of a break. It makes sense to some degree that we would go in search of reprieve and eating does force a degree of stillness, if even for a minute. When we turn to food when we are not hungry we are offered a momentary chance to slow everything down. In those moments we are not craving food what we actually just crave is peace.
Imagine instead if we could just love ourselves enough to offer ourselves the chance to ‘be’. Rather than engage in a fight with time what if we could know that everything in this moment is as it should be and rest easy in that knowledge. The practice of presence through mindfulness, mindful eating, meditation, yoga etc offers an avenue for achieving peace and stillness. It is only when we connect with ourselves in the moment that we can come to know our inner landscape and how to effectively honor whatever it is that is dwelling within us. It is then that we can ask ourselves what we are actually hungry for and begin to explore the deeper craving that is within us. Rather than struggling against our reality, the practice of presence offers a way to surrender to the moment. We then realize that peace is not found on the plate but in our decision to actually give ourselves our time, to ‘be’ and breathe in our blessed bodies.