Monday, 9 January 2017

Food For Thought About Life

As the launch into 2017 provides the impetus for new resolutions and health goals, many of which involve taking a new look at eating differently for better health and weight loss, I realise I’ve been missing a beautiful parallel between one of my greatest passions and life itself!

Forgive me, if you will, while I wax lyrical for a moment or two about wonderfully scrumptious, health-giving food. You may already know, or you may just need to trust me when I say that eating food that really suits and nourishes the body is a joy once the eater has undergone the sometimes long process of retraining taste buds and gently easing back from cravings that have often been skillfully managed by a very large profit-making industry. As this progresses, a ‘knowing’ starts to emerge; this isn’t thinking, or at least not just thinking, but rather a sense, new cravings perhaps, which drive a person towards supportive, natural foods without reliance on diet cards, calorie counting, weigh-ins and anything else that drains the pleasure out of one of the most enjoyable experiences of day to day life, and turns it into something exclusively functional, measured and dull. When nourishing food is thoroughly enjoyed, health, energy, and vitality are much more likely to flourish, and then everything eaten is a veritable ‘treat’. At this stage, any food or foods that don’t harmonise with our bodies are much more identifiable by the sluggishness, bloating, nausea or headaches they trigger, and the body’s message, if heard, provides the perfect opportunity for a move away from the potentially harmful, and towards the more health-enhancing foods. It’s like the poetry of eating (I did say I was going to wax lyrical), an experience of being at one with nature, this is, after all our most intimate and frequent relationship with nature, if we let it be. It is beautiful, and it is an exquisite expression of self-love.

If you can accept that harmonising with nature in respect of food is a means to flourishing and that to do otherwise is a hindrance to optimal health, then the next few lines might just resonate with you, too. But before I continue, I would add that I’m using the word ‘nature’ in a very wide sense even in respect of food; it’s not just the detail of edible plants that I’m referring to, although a meal whose ingredients are infused with sun-energy is spectacular for that reason alone. The use of the word ‘nature’ here refers also to the rhythms, patterns and flow of nature. The parallel then, is about living naturally in this sense, rather than going barefoot and replacing our brick houses for mud huts - it’s way too cold for that! Where food is concerned, our bodies do seem to know what is right for them. What if something similar is reflected in the whole of life? What if there is a natural flow that suits us and enables us to flourish? Most people have in fact experienced this when doing something ‘on purpose’, something that has meaning, makes the heart sing .. do you get my drift? What then gets in the way of this? Probably two things and again, the comparison with food still holds some relevance; if we move towards ways of eating that suit our judging, evaluating, even fearful minds but not our bodies then harmony will not ensue: eating to fit in, eating for convenience, eating with little understanding of what one’s body might be crying out for, these are all blocks to really good health. Likewise we will ultimately be thwarted by aiming for goals that don’t suit who we are; the experience of flourishing and progressing with enjoyment tends not to happen in such circumstances.

The other hindrance to optimal living is usually something that got lodged in place often long ago; in the case of food this might be an addiction to a manufactured taste, or a comforting attachment to sweet foods previously used as a reward or pacifier in childhood. The ‘life’ version is typically a limiting or fearful belief, which is where it gets interesting and, I will venture to say, can even be put to the test. Just an aside, if you’re not able to trust that eating in tune with nature will work for you, there’s a chance that this part may prove to be a step too far. Or maybe not; we’re all different. If you ask yourself a question such as ‘why am I putting on weight?’ and a glance back at recent food choices reveals say a significant intake of sugar, you may well have your answer: the extra weight has been created by the sugar, (of course this is simply to illustrate; weight gain is often far more complex than one rather obvious factor). It would appear that nature plays out similarly on the bigger stage, too. In this case we’re talking about problem events. Just as nature makes a person aware of too much sugar by increasing the size and weight of the body, for example, it also gives us problems, or perhaps we should say ‘challenges’ as a nudge towards finding any beliefs that impede the experience of living fully. We’re not especially proficient at responding to nudges at first though, so they then get stronger, more noticeable and eventually, less easy to ignore. By this time we have a problem; we might be looking at relationship or health matters, or career or money problems to name just a few (or they may be ‘smaller’ than this if we’ve taken heed of the nudge sooner rather than later). By asking yourself ‘what belief might have created this situation for me?’ there’s a very good chance you may find something that could have held you back for some time. It’s really important to note here that this is common to pretty much everybody and there’s no place for blame, it really has nothing to offer. We’ve all experienced anything from misunderstandings to traumas and these experiences create beliefs about our personal world, often in an attempt, whether or not misguided, to keep us safe. In doing this though, a range of possible beliefs can arise but they will typically be about low self-worth, feeling unloveable, not feeling valued, not feeling safe, not being good enough, or not being worthy enough. None of these is actually beneficial. So if nature is keen to help us shed these limiting or fearful beliefs, shouldn’t we at least be curious and give the invitation serious consideration?

My New Year’s resolution then is starting a little late, but any time is a good time to be ‘new’, and this one is exciting! It’s to have the courage to let life reveal to me where I’m stuck, and trust that when I dissolve, overturn or change the corresponding beliefs, the rhythm of nature will conspire to re-organise the circumstances that have alerted me to them.

#BodyCalm #MindDetox #PeakEvolution

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