Food is a basic, primal, essential component of our lives.
It plays a role in our personal and cultural history. It informs our biology and genetic expression. It triggers powerful memories and holds negative and positive associations. It has a strong place in the rituals of our seasons, and our day to day lives. Food provides us with a wealth of sensation, pleasure, creativity, nutrients, health, energy, and metaphor.
The choices we make around food are powerful indicators of our relationship to self, namely our attunement with our own needs, our sense of self-worth, our sense of lack and security, our experience of empowerment or disempowerment, and even our relationship with our mothers!
Our behaviors around food can highlight the inner experiences, beliefs, or feelings that are driving us. Most of the time, these are unconscious to us. Food is primal and has been apart of our lives from the beginning. Literally as our bodies were forming within our mothers’ wombs we are being nourished by the foods she ate and those flavors and nutrients and even smells were coming in through the placenta and building a foundation for our own relationship with food. Breastmilk by mom is mutable and shifting to meet baby’s needs from morning to night and throughout the months of nursing. Formula is not mutable, but static in its composition, only the amount given changes for baby.
Solid foods are introduced in the container of our relationship to our caregivers and family of origin. Are meal times pleasurable for baby? Or stressful? Is baby given appropriate foods at the appropriate developmental stage? The stress of a meal can be internal (too much food, too complex, too soon; or not enough food) or it can be external (is there tension in the family? Does it feel safe to baby to explore food with mouth and fingers?)
Family meals can lay additional foundations as children grow up. Is there enough food? Is poverty an issue? Do family members get along? How is food viewed in the family? Is the family mindlessly eating in front of the television and not talking to one another directly? Is there a shared meal from which everyone partakes? Is the children’s food separate from the adults? Is the food beautiful? Tasty? A celebration? A chore?
The culture has its role as well. Eat more of this, less of that. This food will kill you, this food will save you. Lose weight. Gain weight. Try and attain an ever shifting and impossible ideal by controlling your relationship with food and your body. Women and men are subjected to this onslaught. We are all told to be beautiful according to media’s standards, which have nothing to do with being healthy, or culturally diverse.
As we grow up we experience life and as a result of our experiences we make decisions. We decide whether we are lovable or not, whether we are safe, whether we are worthy of love and kindness by others, whether to hide our bodies or exploit them to get what we need, whether we belong or don’t belong and how we feel about all of it. This is normal, to make such decisions. We are human. Life is messy and we are all doing the very best we can.
One day, though, you can begin to take stock. You can begin to reflect and notice your behaviors and investigate what decisions you did make about yourself. And sure it may have seemed logical at the time. But those limiting beliefs are not serving you anymore. Believing you are unlovable, leads only to being unlovable. When we can forgive ourselves for believing that, with understanding and compassion for how we drew such a conclusion, then we are free to investigate being lovable. And if we are lovable, than it follows that we are also worthy of great care and consideration. The person who can best supply that care and consideration? It’s you.
Here are 8 key points when it comes to using food as a gateway:
A big part of building trust with ourselves is being willing to listen.
The choices we make based on that information is the next step. Mind you, I am certainly not promoting perfection or idealism here. It is completely important to have flexibility and fluidity, especially with diet and lifestyle. In fact, the rigid voice inside that allows for zero wiggle room, may not be the voice to ultimately listen to or take at face value.
The perfectionist inside is not the boss, she is just highlighting how we’ve tried to manage our fear and vulnerability. Conscious wellness is not about living and eating perfectly. It is about knowing yourself and honoring that relationship.Going out to dinner and having some wine with friends might be totally worth it for the positive benefits of social time and fun and laughter. It might be completely appropriate to do this and take the cost that a few drinks might do to our health to have the benefit of a good time. But maybe this isn’t the rule because there might be a day where physically you are already stressed, say from too little sleep or not enough nutrients, or exposure to illnesses or other stressors. In that case, the cost might not be worth the drinks. So you see, we are not static either and it is always worth it to take account of the context of things, rather than make decisions or “rules” in a vacuum and call that health.
Building trust with ourselves is an ongoing dynamic willingness to relate to ourselves.It is the opportunity to master ourselves in relationship to whatever task the world offers us, from the very small choices to the very big challenges. Who we are is a fluid, breathing organism, affecting and being effected by the environment in which we live. We are not meant to master each task with perfection like some outdated achievement model. We are meant to discover who we are, and to continue exploring the depths of our Being, so that we can ultimately be living in a harmonious way. Through listening inwardly, we build trust in who we are and choose ever more subtly this deeper alignment.
Conscious Wellness isn’t about having perfect bodies, or even perfect health. It is about really and truly being yourself, at the deepest level you can and being willing to continue on, as Rumi says, “to flow down and down into ever widening rings of being.”
Conscious Wellness is really about hope and possibility. At Conscious Wellness we do everything we can to stay fully informed and educated in areas of nutrition, healthy lifestyles, and all things therapeutic. And with this knowledge we hope to share with all of you, we claim our own leadership in this field.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
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