People who are hurting around their relationship with food and eating have their unique paths and experiences when it comes to food.
You may have noticed something funny happening with food when you were a kid, like really super young. You noticed craving desserts, hiding stuff under your bed, sneaking things out of the “special food” cupboard where treats were kept by your parents.
Or maybe it began in adolescence when you were a teenager. You don’t really remember ever thinking about food or eating before you were in middle or high school, but you started worrying about looking fat, that your appearance had to do with food, and you were doing it wrong. You wanted to be thinner, different, better.
Sometimes, people have eating aggravations that begin when they are adults, well past their highly active years, when they are what we call “middle age”. They start to get an extra layer of fat around the middle. They never lose pregnancy weight. They’re never the way they were when they played football as a young man. They start to yo-yo with weight.
But one thing I’ve seen that everyone has in common?
It’s not really about the food at all.
There’s something else you don’t like. Something else troubling, sad, upsetting or annoying.
What is it?
Ooooooh. Good question.
Hard to figure out sometimes—because it zooms by so fast. Like a flicker on a movie screen or something scooting by out of the corner of your eye, and you’re not sure what.
Kind of hard to look and see what something is, when it zips by so fast like something hiding in the bushes, in the dark, with no moon or streetlights in sight!
….there’s one idea people will tell me often who come from every kind of experience with food. Whether they are concerned with being fifty pounds too heavy, or eating too much junk food, or intense binge-eating, or staying on a perfect food plan….
….one thought often is spoken, and believed.
I’m not enough.
I’m just not enough for life. It’s too much work. I’m not successful. I can’t. I failed. I haven’t made it. I haven’t done it.
Too hard, too lonely, too unloved, too empty, too disappointing, too limited.
I am not ENOUGH.
There is always more to do. I just want to have fun. I can’t relax. I “have to”….clean, take care of kids or other people, work, earn money, meditate, exercise, write.
I haven’t….seen the world, found a great partner, become financially solvent, achieved all I wanted to achieve, gained spiritual enlightenment.
This is a little different than the belief “I am not good enough”.
I’m just not enough. I want to be MORE.
It’s a very deep feeling that there is something missing.
I know you don’t have this thought at every waking hour…but see if you have it when you feel like eating too much, or eating that you’re allergic to, or avoiding exercise you really love, or doing anything with an addictive quality to it.
Like…for example…I have my thing with caffein.
It doesn’t seem to ever be entirely over. I love coffee with real whole cream in it.
I stop for awhile from time to time. Sometimes a long while.
But lately, I’ve been making myself my little french press pot of coffee again, pouring that delicious thick cream into my gorgeous black and red cup and drinking it in every morning.
It’s true I never think about coffee or caffein for the rest of the day…I could make it sound like it’s no big deal…but it makes my skin very dry.
I put up with it. Because I want MORE in the morning when I wake up. More liveliness, more energy, more pleasure, more of a zip zap kick yum.
What if I stopped an inquired? Shall we? Let’s do it!
That moment in the morning….it’s not quite enough.
Is it true?
Oh. Huh. Hmmm.
Can we skip this part?
No skipping. Just look. Nothing terrible will happen. It’s simply noticing what that thing is, the thing believing in Not Enough.
Well, OK. It’s not true.
In the morning there is space, quiet, a big beautiful kitchen with things in it ready to move from dishwasher to cupboard to garbage bin to a wet cloth.
Things these eyes see, ready to move from here to there to celebrate the beauty of the moment.
In this moment of the morning there is evidence of the activity from yesterday, the movement of bodies coming and going, putting things down on counters, picking things up.
In this moment there is a mind thinking about what needs to happen this day…groceries, dandelions pulled, book to finish, writing to complete, yoga class, drawer emptied out and piece of furniture moved, emails to write, emails to answer, tickets to purchase.
The list. It might be long.
Get some coffee before you start. Ha ha!
Who would you be without that thought, that something is missing…or it would be just a wee bit better if “x” was already done, or “y” was here.
Surely, it would be better if I wasn’t alone right now, or that project was finished, or the dandelions were already all pulled from the yard, or I had more money in savings, or I woke up spiritually.
But who would you be without thinking any of these beliefs were true?
“You have to understand that it is your attempt to get special experiences from life that makes you miss the actual experience of life….People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple” ~ Michael Singer
You mean…if I simply entertained the idea that I am enough, right now? That everything that has ever happened is enough, and that this moment is also enough, and that whatever happens in the future is…enough?
Without having to boost, add, do, think, be any different?
Suddenly I remember how wondrous it is to feel the vibrant beauty of any given moment, even a morning moment when a list appears in the mind.
I remember how curious I am about investigating how I feel about life, and this beginning-of-the-day moment…and how lovely to have hot drink, and it doesn’t matter if it is caffeinated or not caffeinated.
No right, no wrong.
Interested and fascinated with the idea of needing nothing extra, of being enough, without putting anything into the mouth, into the body.
No argument with this moment NOT being enough.
You can ask yourself at any moment when you feel a craving, an urge, when you have the thought to get something or add something….
….am I believing there isn’t enough right now?
What if the opposite is as true, or truer?
What if I am enough, this moment is overflowing with plenty, pulsing with life, no matter what’s happening?
See what’s really true.
Don’t make stuff up, trying to be positive.
Write down what is here right now, notice everything. Write what you’re seeing, what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling.
Keep noticing. Nothing else required.
“What is is. I am not running this show. I don’t belong to myself, and you don’t belong to yourself. We are not ours. We are the ‘is’.” ~ Byron Katie
I am enough. I watch this unfold.
I am not interested in arguing with life, as if I know better and there’s a secret “more” somewhere.
What a relief.
I notice it didn’t finish the coffee in the cup. It forgot all about it.
You can stop and watch this moment, too, if you want. You don’t have to. I recommend it though.
It may be the sweetest thing you’ve ever noticed.
In the upcoming Eating Peace program that starts October 26th, we’ll learn about little tools you can use to stop. We’ll learn to slow down this speedy mind-flicker that skips past being here, now.
You may find, your cravings become really interesting instead of horrible. You may find, they begin to disappear. I always found it so helpful to have other people all in this together, gathered for support.
But you don’t have to be in the Eating Peace program….you can do this today, when you feel like overeating or like trying to be perfect.
Much love, Grace