When people hear that I have lost over 65lbs without counting calories or measuring, by truly eating what I want, when I want and without forcing a daily exercise routine they are usually shocked and suspicious…it seems too easy. In truth the daily decisions of what I eat and how I move has come with very little effort, I am simply responding to the natural rhythms of my body. However, I don’t think “easy” is an accurate picture either. Taking the Deeper Cravings path is certainly incredible and fulfilling but it is also very challenging. We are so far removed from connection with our bodies in this culture that means taking a very long and meandering path home and therefore requires endurance.
In many ways an accurate depiction would be to compare my relationship with my body to a healthy marriage. There are periods of intense connection and love and this is the foundation for the relationship but there are also those periods where I feel quite distant from my body. These are the times when I have trouble connecting with the principles of becoming awake to the moment, practicing mindfulness with our body, mindful and intuitive eating, compassionate curiosity about my emotions, non-judgmental awareness of my behaviors etc. Those times of distance from the path can feel a bit panicky, like I’ve lost the sparkle, the magic…my small voice says ‘oh no, what if I’ll never get the connection back?”. But then I am reminded by my deeper Wisdom, that presence is like the waves of the ocean, ebb and flow. Just like a marriage there is a strong bond, a commitment and an inherent trust in the other. This knowledge allows me to weather the storm and have trust that the period of distance: from the moment, from my body, from my inner stillness is just the ebb of the wave and it is temporary.
The path back to our own body can feel so peaceful, so alive, so liberating that we can be intoxicated by this new found freedom. What can happen though is a different sort of clinging. Rather than the clinging to the distant hope of a thin body as in a diet, what can ensue is a clinging to this state of deep connection with our body. However what we know is that any clinging, any attachment (even to something good) causes pain because it distances us further from the NOW. Clinging to anything doesn’t allow for true unfettered acceptance of what IS. When we arrive in the present moment and bring ourselves to the calm stillness within there is recognition that all we have is what IS and that all is as it should be at this very moment. We can then begin to receive those times of distance from our body with calm curiosity rather than dismay.
In A Grief Observed C.S. Lewis compared his healing process to that of an upward moving spiral, ever progressing, however very deceiving because on the times when the spiral is moving back in on itself it feels devastating, like no progress is being made at all when in fact that spiral is always moving upward and forward. So too it is with this process of reclaiming our relationship with food and our body. Once we step on this path our marriage to our body grows deeper every day. In those times that the spiral is looping back in on us and we find ourselves again in the arms of comfort food or wrapped up in body shame we can allow what IS. We can return, bringing our attention to the present moment and with non-judgmental awareness we can simply observe and trust in the knowledge that there is progression, there is deepening of the relationship. We can trust that will be connected again and calmly we can offer ourselves compassion, kindness and patience. Welcome the waves; enjoy the ebb and flow…Namaste.