January 22, 2012

Catherine Ledner’s Rabbit 1

What are you TRULY hungry for?

No, really. I know I ask this question of you a lot.

But please pause. breathe. ask it again.

What is it you are TRULY hungry for? Emphasis on the TRULY.

Here are a few things I hear from women:

“1,000 more readers for my blog.”
“date night with my husband.”

There’s nothing wrong with these desires, but they aren’t what I call true hungers.

These are secondary hungers.

True hungers are primal and can be fed in many ways, not just through the single door of the secondary hunger we may have identified. In fact, this is why so many women are hungry. They go to feed the secondary hunger without addressing the core primary hunger and are often left unsatiated because the secondary hunger isn’t what they want after all.

For example. If a woman desires for weightloss, her primary hunger may be to feel good in her body, or to feel vital, or for companionship (if she believes weightloss is a prerequisite). The primary hunger below a desire for weightloss can be a multitude of things. And, importantly, she can feed the primary hunger without, in this example, ever losing weight.

Yes, you read that right. We can feel great in our bodies, feel vital, and have companionship without losing a pound. [Please, no need to leave comments about how obese people can’t possibly feel vital or good, etc. See Dr. Linda Bacon’s work]

If a woman desires 1,000 more readers for her blog, the primary hunger might be for recognition, or it might be to feel a part of a community, or it might be for approval. All of which can be fed without hitting a thousand.

If a woman desires a date night with her husband, perhaps the primary hunger is connection, or physical touch, or intimacy, or play, or communion and so forth.

It’s not to say she can’t lose weight, get 1,000+ readers, and have endless dates with her man, it’s to say she doesn’t need these things to satisfy the primary hungers and that’s what counts.

This practice of digging deeper is essential to being a well-fed woman. We must look under the covers, peel back the layers, and expose what wants to be fed.

Geneen Roth so beautifullly says, “Love is love and food is food” because love is often the primary hunger that people attempt to satisfy with food, a secondary and mismatched desire.

I started this informal, certainly-not-complete, list of primary hungers to help get you thinking. These are all possible answers to the magic question “What are you TRULY hungry for?”

Abundance, Adventure, Affection, Beauty, Belonging,
Carbohydrates, Change, Clarity, Cleanliness, Collaboration, Comfort, Connection to community, Connection to family, Connection to nature, Connection to one’s body, Connection to one’s Self, Connection to others, Connection to The Divine/god, Cooling, Crafting, Creativity, Dancing, Energy, To know one’s enoughness, Fat, Food, Friendship, Gathering, Intimacy, Joy, Laughter, Learning/Comprehension, Love, Meaning, Movement, Music, Permission, Play, Protein, Purpose, Quiet, Recognition/Being seen, Restoration, Ritual, Salt, Satiation, Security/Safety, Sex, Singing, Spaciousness, Speaking/Communicating, Stimulation, Structure, To adorn, To feel good, To just be, To let go, Touch, Tradition, Truth, Vitality, Warmth, Water, White space.

Once you’ve narrowed in on a primary hunger (and it certainly doesn’t have to come from this list), be with it. Ask yourself – What does this hunger feel like? What images come to mind when I think of feeding this? How many different ways can I imagine there are to feed this hunger?

I’m going to leave you with these thoughts, this list and time to ponder. I’ll be back next week with a post I’m calling “The screaming kid in the check-out lane grows up.” It’s gonna be a good one.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear what your ‘secondary’ and ‘primary’ hungers are.

January 1, 2012

Fidelity Composition 1

I’m not afraid to die.

I hear it’s in the top 10 most common fears people have.

And it’s not one of mine.

This is not to say I want to die or look forward to the day. There is much more unfolding to do. There are questions in my heart that still desire answers or release. There are further reaches of my wing span that I’d like to discover.

Simply put though the unknown arrival of the end of my life brings me little unease.

I’m crazy proud of the life I have lived to this point.

I’ve courageously lept more times than I can count. I’ve made deep relationships rooted in vulnerability, a curiosity for life, and pleasure. I’ve made meaningful art. I have healed the wounds of my childhood and mended the relationships with those I hold most dear.

I feel profoundly aligned in my work and with those I care about. I have spoken my truth and walked my talk. I have cuddled with many a bearded dog and eaten my way across Italy. I’ve found room in my heart for more than just me, in fact for many many others.

I live deeply held in divine presence. I have released myself from most the shackles of living for others, grasping for control, and letting fear run my life. And I have space in my life to dance with my ego and inquire into my rough edges.

So I hope you can understand that if I were to die tomorrow, I would say a prayer to the world (especially to women) to wake up and I would go in love, profound gratitude, and peace.

As I’m not even 30 years old, and I have so much more life in me, I hope that day doesn’t come until I have given all that I have been tasked to give and learned to love to the fullest. And that’s not now.

But what if it came sooner?

What if death came in 2012?

I’m using this question to fuel me in taking new leaps, in teaching now, in speaking up, in gifting my story, in being of service, in showing up, in doing what requires a deep breath and prayer, in living this year as if it was my last.

This is how I want to live all of my life.
This is how I hope most of us would live our lives.

For me, this doesn’t mean bungee jumping or draining my saving account so I can fly off to some tropical spa.

This means that the moments upon moments that make up my life are meant to be lived alive, intentionally, deliciously, and infused with as much love, thankfulness, and compassion as I can connect to.

What would this mean for you? If 2012 were your final year on earth, how would you live? Where would you take your life? What would you let go of? What would you add?

May we all tap into the courage needed to rise up and live our lives fully.

Note: Buddhist teacher Steven Levine has written wonderful book on this topic as spiritual practice called A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last.