Last night, a small group of women gathered, talking… about food and its relationship to more of who we are than just a physical body.
To know what that might mean; and to get a sense of that experience at more than just the Environment level of the 7 Logical Levels, we absolutely must denominalize the notion of ‘food’ (see Fully Alive for background on denominalizing and the 7 Logical Levels of Thinking). That proved to be a tough one for everyone!
We are rigorously taught to believe that ‘food’ is real… just like we’re taught to believe that an organization is real… and yet, it is nothing more than a code word for the many other beliefs/values/attitudes/expectations/desires/wants/needs, etc. that are occurring at much higher orders of thought. If we can’t get past the notion of ‘food’ as real, we can’t ever get ‘unstuck’ for our relationship to and with it.
Last night, this small but merry band of women persisted – and succeeded! – in discovering what happens whe we come to acknowledge that ‘food’ is a code word for other things. And when we engage those other things, we begin to notice where the leverage is in our own lives.
We also concluded that, given this exploration of ‘food’ at multiple levels of thinking (with each level associated with a chakra – see my article Levels of Thinking and the Chakras), it would become a wise and useful idea to develop the approach of reaching for ‘food’ (i.e. an apple, steak or lemon pie, etc) and taking a moment to pause (Environment level event) and ask ourselves: what hunger am I feeding? For those people for whom ‘food’ is an issue, it is more likely than not that the hunger in question has nothing to do with nourishing the physical body! However, if we think ‘food’ is real, we’ll never get there….
As the evening passed, I shared with those present my awareness that I, personally, have been aware of the ‘issues’ around women and food since I was 8 years old – and I’m about to turn 58. That’s 50 years of witnessing and being part of this conversation about women, bodies and food – and seeing that it goes nowhere! All the things that were an issue when I was 8, still are for far too many women. It seems to me that we have to find a new way of having the conversation, don’t you think?
I now have almost 15 hours of recorded conversation on this topic. I can hardly wait to get to it and identify the most relevant and potent elements that can generalize to a larger collective and its struggles. There will be a new CD set from this material; and my belief is that it will profoundly shift what we pay attention to and, subsequently, the results we get.
This new CD, coupled with the big picture context that is laid out in Fully Alive: Awakening Health, Humor, Compassion and Truth will, I believe, offer more than hope for those whose lives are twisted by this issue, and will offer a pathway to living differently. Now THAT I can live with!
If this conversation is meaningful for you, stay tuned. Watch for the new CD’s – they’ll be mentioned here. If you have comments or questions, feel free to connect anytime.
Life is good!
Tonight, I’m exhausted! The last two days of conversation have frequently been profound and intense. But then, I think that’s always the way when women gather in small groups, talking… about their lives. These last two days have offered significant evidence that we can create miracles in our lives in moments of time; and that transforming ourselves and our lives does not require struggle and the passage of time. It just takes two things: breath and expression of truth.
We never got to exploring the notion of ‘food’ through the 7 logical levels of thinking. Instead, we spent time staying with the conversations that felt more important; the ones about our discoveries from yesterday’s exploration and what they had led us to discover about ourselves.
We discovered that there is no substitute for the truth: the truth of our experience, the truth of who we are and the truth of what moves inside us, from one breath to the next.
We discovered that our secrets can kill us in a variety of ways. We discovered that if we don’t let go of our illusions (most frequently,the ones about our parents and the myth of our ‘intact family’ are the most prevalent), they become the cotton wool in our mouths that end up suffocating us… scrambling for food in a desperate attempt to push it down or pull it out; to make it go away.
We discovered what it means – in the body and in life – to trust “And the truth shall set you free.” It does indeed, and it is a truth that rumbles through the body, devoid of any interference from the intellect. It is a truth that moves through tissue with breath, not one that seeks to explore itself in the web of story and words that we often use to distract ourselves from what we know the body cannot deny.
And in less than 2 full days, each woman in the room noticed that she was going home having freed herself from the bondage of self-loathing.
Not bad for a couple of days of compelling conversation, a lot of really good belly laughs, waves of integration moving through the body – and a couple of great lunches together! After all, it’s never about the food.
We decided to come together again, one more time, on Thursday to engage that exploration of food through the 7 logical levels. We have 4 days to allow ourselves to continue to notice, consider and expand into what we’ve already begun to become.
I’ll be back on Friday with what we discover. Our conversations are being recorded and once edited to respect the privacy of the women present, will become the invitation for other women to make this journey in their own lives. It doesn’t have to be hard; it doesn’t have to take a long time, and it does have to come from the truth that is stored in the body. In that, there is hope.
If this conversation is meaningful for you, come back on Friday and find out what we discover. If you’re one of those women who continues to struggle with the ‘women/bodies/food’ issue, don’t give up on yourself! It is possible to make the difference that can change your life. And it’s never about the food.
It has been a profoundly moving and enlightening week-end. I have been in the company of women of great courage and curiosity. It leaves me wondering: who else might I become from yet another evening spent in their very fine company? I know that when the time is right for each of them, they too, will share their journey that other women might reclaim their own.
I’ll be back.
Today, a small group of women gathered… talking about women, bodies and food. You would think that this topic has been explored to death in the last 30 years and what could there possibly be left to explore??? And yet, it’s clear that our explorations and approaches; our discoveries and outcomes have not produced the results we want or need. There continue to be huge numbers of women who are dying – emotionally, spiritually and physically – in their search to make peace with themselves about their body and the food that does/doesn’t make its way into that body.
Today was Day 1 in a 2-day process, so our time was spent exploring what was meaningful for each of us; how we wanted to approach the conversation this time, since so many other times have proven NOT to be useful; and what we would need to engage to find our way through and out of the jungle of disappointment, despair and rage that so often is associated with this topic.
So far, we don’t have answers – just observations that reflect some pieces of the whole that we seek to claim for ourselves and own that we might live more fully present to the truth of who we are.
Some of the pieces include:
* self-loathing… and how food is so often what we reach for in those moments of deep, intense and relentless knowing that we don’t measure up and no matter what we do, we never will; coupled with
* intense rage and resentment that the truth of who we are is not acceptable, is unwanted and does not match an externally imposed template for our design that we eventually come to hold as significantly smaller than and less than the truth of who we are; and that
* ‘truth’ – for each of us, our unique, internal truth and not some absolute truth ‘out there’ – is essential to be spoken if we are ever to be known. When our truth is unwelcome, unwanted and shunned – whether in spoken word or in action taken – and we feel that we are trapped in our lives in some way (i.e. obligation, commitment, responsibility, etc.), food becomes the solace we seek to quiet the unconsolable grief that fills the body, screaming to be released from its prison of habituation and hopelessness.
It’s never about the food, any more than it’s about the body. It’s about a primal connection to ‘self’ that intrinsically knows the majesty of its being and instinctively refuses to be other than its ‘self”; and when pressed into service to be/do otherwise, outrage – expressed or hidden – is the course it takes. When there is no room for this trek, becoming silent and numb are the natural outcomes. Food will never silence the scream in the body but it will muffle the sound so that it is less disturbing to others. Food will also act as a buffer and smooth out the jagged edge of our own disappointment and despair when once again, we surrender who we know we are to what we believe is required of us.
Tomorrow is another day – and tomorrow, we explore the notion of ‘food’ through the 7 logical levels (you can find info about logical levels in Levels of Thinking and the Chakras and more extensively in the Fully Alive book). We are beings of matter and energy and, as such, ‘food’ exists for us at levels of matter (that which sources the body) and energy (that which sources the spirit/soul). To focus all of our attention only at those levels that attend to sourcing the body and the body outcomes, is to limit ourselves to the domain of matter. Like the bulk of the iceberg is below the water line, the bulk of who we are is not the matter that we see but the energy that we don’t.