Self-Care Expedition Day 9: applying inquiry to a thought about food

[Note: this is Day 9 of a 10-Day Self-Care Expedition. I am examining my relationship with food and movement. You are welcome to join in as well through committing to your own self-care practice, commenting, and/or silently supporting.]

This whole food-thing is definitely not getting any easier. At least not yet.

I again, spent all day yesterday putting off eating and then grabbing the most readily available thing. Well, I did eat real food for dinner… but only because my husband insisted on us cooking. Left to my own devices I likely would have just snacked on crackers all evening.

Speaking of my husband, he was watching some Byron Katie videos on youtube and I remembered how useful I have found her process of inquiry in the past.

I have a lot of deeply ingrained thoughts regarding food that might be helpful to examine. So, that is what I’m going to do today.

This is the thought I’m choosing to play with today:

I will never know what I want or what truly nourishes my body.

Let’s begin.

Question #1: Is this true?

In this moment, it feels true.

Question #2: Can I absolutely know that it is true?

Well, no. I can’t absolutely know that it is true. Some things do change.

Question #3: How do I react when I believe this thought?

Well, my chest feels constricted. There is this hardness throughout my chest. It is difficult to breath.

I feel hopeless and helpless. Depressed and exhausted. I just want to eat a whole bunch of sugar and wheat and not give a f*ck about anything. I want to give up. Not just on trying to eat better but on everything.

If I can’t feel what my body wants for food (the most basic self-care practice), what’s the point of any of my self-care practices? I teach self-care skills based on listening to my body and I can’t even hear what my body wants for nourishment. I’m a fraud.

Question #4: Who would I be without the thought?

I would be a person who is doing the best she can in this moment. I would be a person who is deepening into one aspect of her ability to listen to her body.

I would know that just because this aspect of my self-care practice isn’t where I want it to be, that this one not yet being highly refined, does NOT negate all the other ways that I DO know how to listen to my body.

I would give myself a bit more compassion. I wouldn’t put so much pressure on myself to have it all figured out. Right. This. Minute. I would relax a bit and approach it all with more curiosity and less judgement and self-deprecation.

Hmmm.. I’m also noticing a ‘should’ in my original thought. When I say that “I will never know what I want or what truly nourishes my body” I am implying that I should know. And, I don’t know.

So, I guess without this thought I would accept myself a bit more where I am, as I am, a person who is learning more about what nourishes and supports her on a daily basis.

The turn-around (the opposite of the original thought):

I always know what I want and what nourishes my body???

Is that thought as true or truer than the original thought? Find 3 reasons why it is true.

Wow. I feel rather panicked just starting to think about reasons why the turn-around might be true. Pressure/constriction though my throat, tension in my solar plexus, more difficulty breathing…

Ok, let’s see… can I come up with 3 times when I did know what I wanted and what nourished my body?

1) Two weeks ago when I went out to the woods and gathered nettles and made the most wonderful, deeply nourishing/satisfying nettle soup. That was awesome.

2) Refusing to eat quinoa for the past year even though I have no idea why I don’t want it and think that I should want it.

3) The times when I poach eggs and steam some veggies with Parmesan for breakfast. Mmmmm. So delicious! And, my body feels really happy eating it!

Whew. I did it. That is 3. Damn. That was difficult.

And yet, these are 3 shining examples of me knowing what to eat. Of me knowing and honoring what deeply satisfies and nourishes my body.

What I’m realizing right now is that, just like with movement, being present is the key.

And, I’m still rather terrified by the thought of being present enough to know what my body wants in the present moment regarding food. There is still stuff to untangle and fear to be met there.

However, it is very clear to me that, like exercise, diet is a very fluid thing for me.

It is NOT a matter of determining some specific foods that I eat (or don’t eat). Rather, it is a matter of checking in and seeing what brings that sense of relaxation and openness to my body when I present her with various food options.

Ah! Here is another piece. I just received some insight into the fear piece.

I’m afraid that if I check in with my body, she won’t want these things that I so love. Like black tea with milk and sugar. What if my body wants herbal tea every morning? NOOOOOoooooo!

Ok, and now I’m laughing.

I guess herbal tea isn’t so scary. And, if I find black tea with milk so comforting, there are probably times when my body does as well. We do exist together after all. And, if she were to really want herbal tea, for example, there is a chance I would really enjoy it as well.

So, onward. :)

For you.

Tomorrow is Day 10. Our final day!

For today, is there any thought interfering with your self-care practice that might benefit from the process outlined above? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

Self-Care Expedition Day 8: encountering still more resistance

[Note: this is Day 8 of a 10-Day Self-Care Expedition. I am examining my relationship with food and movement. You are welcome to join in as well through committing to your own self-care practice, commenting, and/or silently supporting.]

So.. I want to untangle my relationship with food, huh?

Yes. I want to untangle it in the hopes that I can get to a place beneath all the confusion, external stories/fads/diets/studies, and internal conflict to where I can truly hear what my body wants to eat. So I can truly hear, directly from my body, what nourishes and strengthens her.

Because, she knows exactly what she needs in order to be strong, healthy, and nourished… right?

That is the premise on which I’m basing the remainder of my expedition. It has proven true so far with regards to exercise. Surely, it is also true when it comes to diet.

Except, my god! The resistance!

Yesterday I set the intention to consciously pause and check in with my body prior to making food decisions.

Ever since then, I’ve basically not eaten.

Well, I’ve eaten. I’ve just put off eating (and checking in with my body regarding food) until I’m to a point where I just don’t care anymore. And then I eat whatever happens to be the most readily available.

This means that my primary diet over the past 24-hours has consisted of cheese, crackers, caffeine, and chocolate. Yes.

So, today I’m noticing this resistance to checking in with my body regarding food decisions.

I’ve watching (with as much compassion and curiosity as possible) as I put off eating until I get to the point where my intention is feeling weak and then quickly devour the first thing I see.

And, I’m noticing that this pattern itself isn’t new… that it isn’t solely a result of this expedition and yesterday’s commitment.

No, this pattern is typical for me.

Now though, thanks to this expedition, I have a bit more distance from it and can see it a bit more clearly.

Maybe tomorrow I will even be able to pause (once even would be terrific!) and notice what is present in my body before I just grab whatever is most handy. Maybe not. We’ll see.

For you.

Focusing on a particular self-care practice for a length of time tends to open the door to whatever stands in the way of us being able to practice deep self-care on an on-going basis.

10 days can feel like an eternity when practicing a deeper way of caring for ourselves and/or noticing what comes up when committing to a new level of self-care. We are, or I most definitely am at least, in the thick of it right now.

If you are as well, just know you aren’t alone.

Everything that is surfacing (resistance, wanting to quit, forgetting your intention…) is coming up for acknowledgement and healing.

It is coming up so that, after this expedition concludes, we can be in a more authentic and effortless relationship with ourselves and our bodies. It is coming up so that self-care can become more of a way of life and less of a chore or an obligation.

I’m sending love to you on this, Day 8, of our expedition.

Self-Care Expedition Day 7: turning towards food

[Note: this is Day 7 of a 10-Day Self-Care Expedition. I am examining my relationship with food and movement. You are welcome to join in as well through committing to your own self-care practice, commenting, and/or silently supporting.]

Welcome to Day 7! We are now on the homestretch of our Expedition. :)

I realized something over the weekend.

My original intention was to spend time with my relationship with food and movement. While I feel a lot of my underlying resistance to healthy movement is beginning to heal (yay!), I’ve completely neglected the food piece thus far.

I stumbled across the following brief email I sent to friend more than a year ago talking about how tangled my relationship with food has become.

“So, this article (very humorously) sums up pretty much everything I feel/think about food right now – that it is all gonna kill me and/or the planet. To me, this means I might as well just eat sugar all day. :)

Lots of stuff hidden in food and all these issues for me for sure. I wonder just how long it will take to unravel it all?”

Clearly, I’ve known for a long time that my relationship with food needs some time and attention. I just haven’t been willing to go there. With the support of this expedition, I may be willing to go there now.

Therefore, my intention for the remainder of this expedition is to really, truly pause and listen to my body regarding my food decisions. I’ll be back tomorrow to let you know how it is going. :)

For you.

How does Day 7 find you? Are there any shifts or changes you need to make in your practice? What do you need to help you sustain your self-care practice through these final days of our Expedition?

Self-Care Expedition Days 5 & 6: going dark for the weekend

[Note: this is Day 5 (and 6!) of a 10-Day Self-Care Expedition. I am examining my relationship with food and movement. You are welcome to join in as well through committing to your own self-care practice, commenting, and/or silently supporting.]

My check-in today is going to be very brief. I’m feeling the need for a mini-break from the computer. My screen-time has been off the charts this past week and I need a couple of days to go dark and more internal. I will be back on Monday.

In the meantime, if you would like a larger does of Expedition inspiration, I highly suggest reading Emma’s comment on yesterday’s post.

This part in particular speaks directly to one reason why I believe the practice of deep self-care is so vital.

Writing all the above, I’m putting together that this Fundamental Body Shame that is part of our culture is part of the same disconnect that is the way we treat the Earth, the way we treat women, the way we oppress people, etc. It’s all connected.

What does it do to an embodied being to reject its own body?

Of course we can barely feel our connection to the Earth or each other. We are rejecting our bodies while living in them.

I guess these thoughts are all thoughts I’ve had before, but what I have now is an actual experience of what the alternative is–what it feels like to not reject my body. It’s quite nice. :-)

Again, you can read the full comment here.

For you, this weekend:

What would best serve you and your Expedition this weekend? What would help you sink deeper into your own self-care practice and reflections on this, the midpoint, of our time together?

Self-Care Expedition Day 4: waiting for a break in the rain

[Note: this is Day 4 of a 10-Day Self-Care Expedition. I am examining my relationship with food and movement. You are welcome to join in as well through committing to your own self-care practice, commenting, and/or silently supporting.]

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m actually one day ahead of everyone in this expedition. I started a day early so the daily post would be waiting for you. I’m not really getting up, writing and posting at 6 in the morning. ;) Ok, onward!

Today it seems as if I’m failing at every aspect of this expedition.

I started off the day with 3 cups of black tea.

Not a bad thing in and of itself. Sometimes my body actually enjoys the feeling of caffeine.

However, now it is mid-afternoon and I feel distracted, anxious, and overwhelmed. I haven’t taken even a moment to slow down and check in.

And, it’s raining.

That only matters because I’m wearing jeans and I don’t want to a) get them wet going for a walk; or b) change into something else. The pressure-resistance pattern is beginning to rear up in a big way.

So, here I am again, about to put my insights from yesterday into effect.

What does my body want in *this* moment?

I take one breath. Now another.

I invite my awareness to begin sinking, sinking, sinking… Sinking down out of my busy busy floating head and into my body. My eyes begin to feel slightly heavy, my vision softens. Yes, even as I’m typing.

I notice this kind of electric feeling running down my legs, this sense of blankness throughout my chest and torso. Tension at the base of my skull.

There is this overall sense of mild-moderate panic running through my body. But, since I’m not feeling super connected to my body right now, it is more of this ‘impression’ vs something I can put into concrete sensation-based language.

Ah. Somehow acknowledging that allows me to take a deeper breath.

And now, I am more present within my body.

There is this gripping sensation in my solar plexus, pressure in my throat, a sense of dullness or heaviness through my stomach.

As I begin to become more aware of what is happening in my body, some of the tension at the base of my skull begins to drain down my neck and to melt away. Nice. I like that.

Now, I’m able to feel how exhausted I feel.

That’s right! I barely slept last night. Just tossed and turned. And, other than a couple of hours with a client, I’ve been mostly working on the computer all day. Not fun. Not nourishing. At least not today.

What might feel nourishing now?

Wow. Even this question brings up discomfort… a dull ache spreading through my chest that whispers ‘Another decision? Just let me rest. Please.’

This ache brings with it sadness. Sadness coupled with the understanding that I’ve once again just pushed through the day without any regard for the needs of my body.

I remember how I didn’t eat (caffeine only) until after 1pm and how very shaky I was feeling by that time. And then, when I did eat, I was super rushed and immediately jumped right back onto the computer afterward.

No wonder my body just wants to rest.

What might feel restful?

More sadness and again, the aching through my chest, less dull and more acute this time.

I sit with it, allowing it to be there, and as it gradually dissolves, I have this sense of more ease and spaciousness throughout my chest. I take another, even deeper, breath.

This is what my body wants right now. This is what she needs. She needs me. Just me. No activity, no food. Just me.

So, this is where Day 4 finds me.

Finally remembering to pause, to slow down, to check in with my body and to listen for her preferences.

Today, I tried very hard to do things *my* way.

It didn’t feel good.

It feels so much better to be here, now, the most connected I have been to my body all day.

I feel relieved and somehow more enlivened even though what is coming up is, again, this ache, this sadness, this grief, for not having listened sooner.

For within this sadness, there is also joy. The joy of homecoming. The joy of once again coming home to my body and to a more true, a more still and connected, experience of myself.

For you.

We are entering the midlands of our 10-day expedition. The initial wave of excitement and insights brought on the by the start of the expedition may be beginning to wane.

For me, the midlands are often the hardest part of the expedition and also where the real work is done. The real work of continuing to show up, to remember, and to stick to our commitments. And, of course, the real work of being gentle and kind with ourselves when we don’t show up, remember, or stick to our commitments. :)

How does Day 4 find you? What are you noticing? What is emerging for you as you venture deeper into this expedition?