Practicing And Cultivating Choice When Noticing Habitual Patterns
The longing for LOVE - when whittled down can also be known as longing to be seen, heard, understood, appreciated, valued, cherished, touched and needed (as in people are nourished by your contribution to life). There are so many ways to cultivate love in your life, for now, I want to focus on SELF LOVE. So I share here the process of self love when feeling unwell.
SHAME is an immensely powerful feeling, it arrives when I feel unwell, bringing with it a tsunami of self-judgment to keep me small and 'safe' (I understand it's intention!) and it is also a powerful harbinger of an invitation to life. A strong and painful invitation to draw me near to my inner experience. Phrases like, 'It's your fault, you should stop eating things that are bad for you', 'You always do this, you are weak and undisciplined', or 'Everything would be great in your life if you would just eat properly'. Eating things that my body cannot easily process (I'm getting old!) is a strategy to address my hunger for love. And a dear friend reminded me that I could just take a break for a couple of days from those foods. I was so caught in the cycle that I forgot that it doesn't have to be 'all or nothing'.
So, I slow down to hear these thoughts, and feel the tight, cold bodily sensations that come with it. I fully understand that they are my body's way to alert me, to let me know something is out of balance, (it only ever wants to restore harmony); this part of me, these thoughts, love me so much, it's just they come with a language that is so hard for me to hear and to hold and they bring with them a sharp physical energy. But every time I 'deny' myself the 'comfort' food I feel so much fear and dread and panic and anxiety. With no sense that I will manage without. Tearful now, wishing that I could 'stop' some of my habitual eating patterns that in the moment bring me such bodily and emotional comfort (however fleeting). But I am certain now that this violent approach to these strategies never brings me lasting change, or vitality. It is through the lens of loving the parts of me that reach for speedy ways to ease the pain of what it is to be human in these times; that movement and inner warmth arrives, and choice becomes possible.
This path, with food & water, may seem like a small thing. But it's not. My father is always in my awareness with these things. So, it's a big thing. That he could not alter his strategy to reach for alcohol to soothe his soul. I am addressing ancient ancestral patterns. And yes, the ways I am with food affect my health in a big way, and also my capacity to relate to other humans and the world (a sense that my nervous system cannot take any more), and, I celebrate in this moment, that I can catch this, over and over again throughout my life, with awareness, and invite choice into my daily habits and actions.
I choose a gentle and tender approach to my life force, to my longings as they arise, (and they do so with urgency sometimes!). And so, today, I choose fish and greens and turmeric and ginger tea, and water kefir, and pray for the resilience to access compassion for my poor body as it does all it can to support me in my life. Thank you dear body.
So, with Valentine's day approaching, let it be an act of peace, to practice Loving Self Acceptance so that I can continue to create a vessel that can carry me, to grow and cultivate all that I long to build in my life and work. And, for the day that is in it, I send love to you.