At our youngest age we are fed solely by others in every way. We rely on others to nourish us, feed us, love us, guide us. As adults this role falls primarily on us but so often our focus is pulled to how we can love and nourish everyone around us that we forget to give attention to what we need to truly nourish ourselves.
Think of how this impacts our struggles with food. When we spend too little time investing doing what we need to feel ‘fed’ throughout the day, when the work is put away, the kids are in bed, the to do list is ticked off, we sink into our comfy chairs and often our bowls of whatever feels like love in the moment. Our bodies aren’t hungry but our hearts are.
When we learn to recognize this in ourselves, we can begin to differentiate our various hungers and honor them appropriately. By developing an authentic connection with our body we more easily know when we are asking it to take the brunt of our needs and feeding it food as a substitute for something else. Becoming conscious of this, awake enough to see it, is the key.
When we are in that moment, food on fork, about to bite and then realize that our body is not requiring this food we can then choose to stop and honor our deeper cravings for love, appreciation, peace and quiet or nurturing…and then again sometimes we don’t.
Sometimes we enter in to the moment and know that it is our heart that is hungry and yet we keep on eating. However, if you are on Deeper Cravings Path, instead of feeling even worse and disgusted in ourselves for doing so, we can view our moment with compassion and kindness, become curious about what’s going on and deepen our awareness of our true hungers. It is this compassionate awareness that leads us, bit by bit, bite by bite into a more peaceful relationship with food and our body.
This Valentine’s Day add yourself to your list. Find something, anything that feeds your soul and take a bite! Here are seven ideas from Deeper Cravings to get you started…
Plan a delicious date with yourself: Get dressed up and go out, by yourself… no better way to ensure that you are doing exactly what you want to, maybe a gallery, a museum, a movie (my personal favorite) or some people watching at a cafe. When you choose to take yourself out, really BE there with yourself. Be in your moment. Be at your date.
Let your creativity flow: You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy color and beauty and flow. It is always amazing to me to see what happens when we let go of our preconceived notions of “I can’t” and just create. Grab whatever is on hand, crayons if need be, and just begin to move the color. Enjoy the physical experience of your hand swirling on the page.
Take a deep look at nature: To look at something deeply is like seeing it for the first time. Really exploring it with your eyes, letting your eyes be enraptured by the intricacies of the object of your attention. Doing this for even a moment can transport you to a feeling of peace and calm. This is what mindfulness is all about. Go outside and choose one thing, a leaf, a piece of bark, a stone, anything from nature and give your full attention to what you’ve chosen. After even just 30 seconds of looking deeply you’ll feel a shift in yourself.
Savor something delicious: Enjoying food to ‘treat’ yourself doesn’t always need to be a recipe for disaster. Jan Chozen Bays, mindful eating author and teacher, encourages awareness of various types of hunger including eye, nose and mouth hunger. I teach students of The Deeper Cravings Path™ how important it is to honor these other types of hunger. It is wonderful to enjoy the gooey deliciousness of something purely for its taste or how it smells or looks. The key is total awareness of the type of hunger you are honoring; being aware that you are simply honoring your nose, eye, mouth hunger and not feeding your loneliness, sadness, boredom etc. So choose something that is really beautiful, really truly a food ‘work of art’ and enjoy, really enjoy, savor every bite and notice how it feels in your body. If your body is telling you that you’ve had enough then listen to that.
Bathe in music: Turn up some beautiful music, turn out the lights, get comfortable and close your eyes and let yourself be transported by the sounds. Just completely delight in sound…music is something we often take for granted and it is one of life’s greatest treasures.
Push pause: I am convinced that no one lives in a state of perfection and 100% order all the time, however sometimes when my house feels like chaos and the chores seem impossible I tell myself that it is only me, I am doing something wrong, and everyone else has a better grip on the ‘task’ part of life. As I journey further along into family life I see that it really is a constant turning wheel and that it requires coming to peace with the ‘undoneness’ of it all. So every now and then it is important to push pause on all the tasks, embrace the ‘undoneness’ and let yourself do what you are craving, even if its only 20 minutes to: read a magazine, take a walk, a bath, meditate, or phone your best girlfriend…as long as it doesn’t appear on your ‘to do’ list, then do it!
Happy Valentines Day all…Feel the abundant LOVE all around you.