Welcome to part 2 of Dawn Green's 3-part series on "Building a New Relationship with Food. If you missed part 1, you can find it here!
There are few things more all-consuming than obsessive thinking about food, health and the weight and appearance of the body. With both women and men this pre-occupation often over-shadows all other goals, enjoyments and experiences in life.
The focus on food and the body fills the same need that alcohol, drugs, gambling and compulsive shopping, to name a few, do: It is a strategy to shut down the inner experience of emptiness, aloneness, disconnection and lack. All of these activities create in initial feeling of excitement and satisfaction, but it’s short-lived. You can’t get enough of what you don’t really want, so you keep repeating the same behaviour, in progressively more extreme ways, hoping for a different result. This preoccupation with finding an exterior solution to an internal problem blocks access to the real solution.
To get to the root of the problem, it is necessary to address your relationship with your inner Self.
"Compulsive eating was a way to distance myself from the way things were when they weren't how I wanted them to be. I didn't want to sit in the centre of my own life. To ask myself what was actually going on when I wanted to eat even when I wasn't hungry. Crazed with self-loathing and shame I vacillated between wanting to destroy myself and wanting to fix myself with the next best promise of losing thirty pounds in thirty days." - Geneen Roth
If you have issues around food and eating, the above may be resonate with you. You may even feel that compulsive eating is taking up all the space at the centre of your life, and that you are relegated to the outskirts!
How would it feel to know that you can move from “I don't want to sit in the centre of my life and into: I AM the centre of my own life” - right where you’ve always longed to be? To live in certainty of your strength - joyful and at peace? Nested right in the centre of your own heart, where you’ve always longed to be.
I was looking through some quotes the other day and I ran across one that said something like:
Be good to yourself. Forgive yourself. When you treat yourself well life will treat you well.
I eyed it dubiously and then moved on to other sources. I was bothered by it, though so I went back to re-read it. It is an idea that I have heard many times over the last few years, expressed in a variety of ways.
I am uneasy around it because it sounds like something the small self would grab onto, in pursuit of building a better small self. I agree that it is important to love, forgive and be true to myself. But I cannot do or be any of these things as long as I am attempting, from the ego, or false identity, to be more forgiving, or loving or self-accepting.
“Resolving your own personal conflicts is the first step to ending global conflict.”
- Joseph Eliezer
I appreciate this thought, and would expand it to say that:
Healing the addiction to conflict that lives in my mind is the only thing that will heal the conflict, that seems to be going on, out in the world.
I’ve thought about this often in the last few years. Two things that have brought it into focus for me are recent school shootings and the rise of Donald Trump’s popularity as a political candidate in the United States.
When I first started hearing about school shootings, they were far from home. I recognized
"The willingness to trust and follow your heart - not the reactive ego that is often interpreted to be the heart, but the heart that longs to know God - this is a tell-tale sign of whether or not one is reaching maturity".
(from The Way of Mastery)
This quote reminds me of the importance of distinguishing between the guidance of the ego and the guidance of Inner Wisdom. A few years ago it became popular to speak of being "guided" to certain decisions or actions. As I listened to my own mind, and the minds of others, it began to seem as if there was often a hefty dose of self-delusion involved. I saw how easy it was to simply follow the dictates and compulsions of the ego, and to believe that I was following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is an aspect of the spiritualized ego.
Conversely, sometimes people have told me they asked for guidance and received it, but
Last November I realized how tired I was of my grievance-filled relationship with Christmas. For many years, feelings of resentment, anger and despair would begin to surface around November 1, right about when Christmas music started playing as I stood in line at Starbucks for my short dark roast.
The approach of Christmas has been a cue for me to find ways of spending as much time as possible alone, away from the frantic activity and busy-ness, a mini-retreat from it all. Which would have been a wonderful experience, except that such a spiritual sounding idea was based on so much ill-will! I realized, with a sense of shock, that I had the option to participate in the season, and to enjoy every moment of it, the same as every other day of the year. This was welcome but it left me with a large gap.
While I was working at El Cielo, our residential treatment center, I first heard the phrase “This is what Love looks like right now” used by Diederik, in response to what looked like an adverse situation. I didn’t really know what he meant, but as he said it, I felt a sense of relief, and an acceptance in myself that had not been present the moment before. Over the next few weeks, I saw he and other co-workers respond in the same way to apparent difficulties. This was not yet a tool I was using, but I became more curious each time I heard it, at the sense of relief I experienced.
I was talking to someone yesterday who said to me “I’m really in the trenches lately, and I was feeling so great. I can’t figure out what’s going on!” He said that after some time of feeling light and peaceful, he seemed to have lost the experience and life was feeling like a struggle again.. He said ”Where is the me that was so happy a few days ago?”
If you sometimes find yourself in a similar spot, here are 4 tools that I have found effective in helping to change direction:
I recently accompanied my sister to a chemotherapy treatment. We enjoyed a beautiful drive down the island - the sun was shining, the water was sparkling, and the road was edged with summer greenery.
When we arrived at the hospital it was very busy, and we were seated in a small nook for her treatment, because the main room was full. She sat in her reclining lounge chair, and was hooked up to intravenous fluids that dripped into the vein in her arm. There was a little table on wheels beside her chair, and I sat kitty-corner to her on a visitor’s chair.
We talked at times, sipping coffee and tea that volunteers brought around. Sometimes we sat in silence, enjoying the day and each other’s company. Nurses came and went
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