Thursday, February 25, 2016

I can't stop eating and I'm not even hungry

I can't stop eating and I'm not even hungry.
My belly is full yet my emotions are starving.
A sort of addiction to excessive pleasure. 

All I want to do is shovel something crunchy, sweet, salty, creamy into my mouth. I want to chew, grinding my teeth into something satisfying.  Using my teeth to get out the frustration I feel. Chomping and biting to release my tension.  The flavor doesn't matter. Standing or sitting- it doesn't matter. Oh, and the faster the better.

And how ironic that I'm hosting a mindfulness eating workshop this weekend. 

It all came full circle at one of my catering jobs yesterday.  A woman I work with was really getting on my nerves.  It's not the first time either.  So I try to have compassion for her, even though it's the hardest thing to feel, especially when I'm running on cortisol.  

I see that she's unhappy.  She doesn't smile much, I doubt she loves her job. I'm sure she'd like to look and feel healthier… She set me off when she impulsively barked at my coworkers and me to eat our staff meal quickly, while we had some downtime. 

This set off my inner critic, who mentally challenged her: 

"Why should I have to eat according to your rules, bitch? I see you eating your meal, without thought or feeling, and you still look unsatisfied after your plate is cleared.  And I see you eyeing the desserts, I see you slathering butter on your gluten-y bread and devouring it without thinking.  Who do you think you are? You are so greedy. Why do you need to be do demanding? Is it because your life is out of control and you think you can control this?"

And that's when I realized: She is me.  Because she too, is an emotional eater. That is when my compassion swooped in.  

When it hit me, holy shit, you are me. My shadow self, my shameful self.  

And I'm trying to find peace with all parts of me. 
To love every cell of my being.

Two days ago I was eating what I call "clean".  I was savoring flavors in smaller portions. Avoiding sugar.
You know, to prepare for my workshop this weekend on mindful eating.
Yesterday, my cravings took over.  In many moments of weakness, I gave them power.
I ate two chocolate covered strawberries, two chocolates, four pieces of cake, some chocolate covered almonds, and a home-made brownie (Birthdays at work+literal eye candy=deadly guilt duo).  They were all supposed to taste delicious. And yet, I felt guilty about every. single. bite.  I ate them anyway.
So I can't say I truly savored these decadent treats. 
I abused the pleasure of food. I abused my mind. I abused my body. 

Why did I do this?
Was it my lack of willpower? 
Or my unwillingness to be present in the moment? To experience a fleeting moment of passion? To distract myself from the stress and emotion that keeps coming up?  Do I do it because I want to disrespect my body? Do I get high off the guilt, succumbing to my shameful truth? No matter how long I meditate, or how positive I feel. I want to hide from it all. Because the truth is really fucking scary. 

Dear food, I thank you for providing me with nourishment and pleasure.  
But we gotta change this relationship. Right now I see you as good or bad with a side of guilt.
Is this healthy? No
Am I ok with it? Kind of…
Do I want to do something about it? Yes…but at this moment all I want to do is eat. 
In the moments where my thoughts are useless 
and my willpower doesn't stand a chance
and my stomach is my slave,
I expect food to satisfy my every need.  

That isn't fair to you, food.
You're purpose is innately good.
But I've strangled you to the point of gluttony and greed.
At my fingertips. Always within reach. Whatever I desire.

But you know better.
You are wise, as nature intended.
You keep feeding me like I ask, 
but I'm still starving.

~Katie Ring

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The moose, the moth, and making love to myself to understand what I need.

It's been weeks since my last post, the longest I've gone without writing here.  I've been creating, but on my own and with my close friends.  Expressing myself through communication- poetry, dance, singing, arts, music. I've been focusing on all the feels.  Experiencing.  Being present with whatever feelings show up.  The pleasurable, uncomfortable, frustrating, painful.  I've given myself time to connect with myself, understand what it is that I want, what the universe is telling me I need, and what brings me home.  

During this time a lot has come up, and I've been holding back from sharing in this blog space.  I've been avoiding it. On a deeper level, I'm afraid of embracing my authentic self completely, in her pure, raw form.  I started the Naked Truth Challenge for this reason; I wanted to be real, to share with others my feelings, thoughts and experiences in hopes that it would inspire truth and compassion in others.  To know that we can share in this human experience with one another.

Giant leap of faith!
In the last month, I've been having super intense-feely dreams.  In these dreams, everything is based on love. Time doesn't exist.  These dreams are an exploration of the beautiful mind, the world of the heart, and the connection between the two.  I am only brushing the surface of this magical dream world, but to me it's an experience, a feeling, and a familiar place all in one; where everything exists in full awareness.

I've come to understand this as mindfulness.  A nonjudgmental awareness that brings me peace and understanding.  I'll even experience these dream-like states in my waking life, having fleeting moments of comfort and familiarity.  I don't have to understand it, I can just be with the feeling. With it a deep knowing that we're serving a greater purpose, outside this human experience.  It's kinda like a super-heightened deja-vu.

Last month, a few friends and I held our first Yin Circle.  We gathered together on the eve of the full moon in a peaceful, nurturing space where we shared ourselves with one another.  It was beautiful. We practiced gratitude. We reflected on the last year and set intention for the new. We also shared what our spirit animal might be, something I had never thought of before.  There has always been a theme with moose in my life. The moose stands strong, rooted by love in earth.  Her antlers reach towards the heavenly sky, connecting us to spirit.  She has always been my reminder, from writing her name almost daily for sign-ins to seeing her sticker on my car.

The night before the circle, I was watching a documentary on the mysteries of life. The film talked about how the blue morpho butterfly reflects light in the most brilliant depths of blue because it is covered in microscopic scales that reflect and absorb light unlike any other organism we know.  As I'm watching this, I realize that hanging in a frame above the couch I'm laying on is a stunning Urania Ripheus sunset moth. I bought this little guy at a butterfly science museum years ago, without hesitation.  Now I have this gorgeous iridescent moth literally watching over me, reflecting the magnificent colors of the rainbow.

Moth guides us from darkness into light, connecting us to our higher selves, higher conscious. Moth signifies transformation. She moves through life's crazy changes with light and love.  They are covered in tiny hairs, making them highly sensitive (anyone else a HSP?!) I try to see the light in situations, which can sometimes lead me astray when there are false flames (this could explain my innate trust in people and difficulty understanding sarcasm).

"Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear." George Addair 

Moth flew into my path recently as a reminder.  She is the master of disguise, which plays so well into my life, in that I have a hard time expressing my own emotions. That I could be hiding something from myself.  Moth is a reminder to have faith that transformation will bring me exactly what I need.  

With all this in mind, I'm doing some serious emotional uprooting.  To dig up all the shit I've repressed and forced away, bringing it to my awareness, acknowledging it with loving forgiveness, and movin' along.  A major emotional block coming up for me is intimacy.  It doesn't scare me to make publicly bold moves, but when it comes to what happens in private, well, this makes me want to run far, far away. I'm wondering, can I have my alone-time if I invite in an intimate relationship?

Will this lead me to seclusion?
Separation and embarrassment?
Shame and fear?
Release this so I can be free
To love and accept myself.

For the last month or so I've been asking the universe for super guidance, really trusting that I can take on all these sudden career transitions and relationship challenges with strength and pleasure. I'm biting my nails, but it's all working out just fine.

Before I can move forward into a happy and healthy relationship with someone, I need to be totally in love with myself. Obviously, right? Well, easier said than done.  So so often I find myself criticizing my thoughts, my actions, or my body without even realizing it. I even take digs at my writing before anybody's had a chance to read it yet!

To counteract this deadly behavior I've been practicing the art of making love to myself.  I used to think making love = having sex.  I'm learning that making love is taking care of myself- my heart, my mind, my body, and my soul.  It's saying no when someone asks me to cover their shift at work.  It's pushing through that last round of chaturangas in my yoga class because I know it will make me stronger.  It's taking 10 minutes to massage my feet and legs with lavender oil before bed. It's removing the guilt for enjoying a sweet gluten-y treat.  It's making love to myself, embracing every physical and energetic cell of my being.

If I don't do this for myself, how can I expect someone else to do it for me?

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