Last week I went for a walk in Golden Gate Park, something I’ve really been enjoying lately.
It was around 4 o’clock when I was winding down and noticed that I was hungry.
I had big dinner plans at 6 the kind you want to show up to ready to eat heartily, but I was hungry at 4.
This was not convenient and it got me thinking about the inconvenience of hunger.
Whether for food, play, freedom, rest, or relationship – our hungers don’t care about what we’re doing or what our grand plan is for life. Our hungers almost always have a new plan for us.
Here were my options: deny my pre-dinner grumblings and be gnawed at and cranky – or – eat something, potentially taking away some of my precious appetite for dinner.
I could resist or I could surrender. In fact, I could choose either option with the energy of resistance or the energy of surrender. The color of my experience depended on my attitude.
So I ate. It wasn’t part of the perfect master plan, but it was my body’s plan. My body and I have a pretty good thing going, so I do my best to heed it’s call.
In my work I often see my clients resisting their true hungers because they aren’t convenient. To feed them would disrupt the status quo. To feast would mean taking off the mask, or being more vulnerable in relationship, or leaving the secure job, or not meeting the deadline. It would mean change and change brings the unknown.
Here’s the thing though: our hungers aren’t here for our convenience. They are here to tell us what is most needed now for our body, heart, and spirit’s well-being.
This is also the difference between easy and ease. It’s easy to keep doing what we’re doing. It’s easy not to ruffle feathers.
But it’s ease that we’re given when we’re deeply fed. It’s ease that we feel when we stop resisting what’s calling us – be that an afternoon snack or to pick up a paintbrush.
Our hungers don’t promise to be convenient, they promise, when followed, to lead us where we need to go. to lead us to a well-fed life.
Do you have an inconvenient hunger?
Where are you choosing easy over ease?
Has there been a time when your hunger’s plan was better than your own?
I want to show you something. There’s this amazing transformation I’ve been witness to.
I’ve just got to get a video camera so that you can see what I’m seeing.
What I want to capture is what happens to a woman’s face, body, and whole being when I ask her to identify a meaningful and resonate term of endearment for herself.
As part the most recent Well-Fed Woman Retreatshops, after we’ve delved into our inner critic, I have each woman identify and share a name for herself that elicits love, safety, and adoration.
First they journal to themselves, listing all the names that might be fit. Tossing out the ones that feel cloying or inauthentic. Considering the things only their inner circle calls them or perhaps a childhood nickname. They weigh “Lovely” with “Beloved” and “Sweetheart” with “Sweetness.”
They are looking for the moment their body says “yes. that’s it. that’s us. let’s curl up with that one.” Many of them know they’ve found their term of endearment when tears well in their eyes.
I’ve heard it all, from “My Love” to “Darling” or “Pumpkin.” From “Cookie” to “Sarah-Loo” or “Babygirl.”
There’s a name for everyone that calls us home.
Once they’ve got it, we go around the room and share. As we move from feeling our patterns of self-abuse to the healing that comes from self-kindness, the women I work with change right before my eyes. It’s a pretty remarkable thing to watch.
They change and the room changes. What had been a circle of sadness, grief, and angst becomes one of delight, compassion, and understanding.
Having a name, rooted in love, to call ourselves gives us a foothold. When we’re in pain or feeling disconnected all we need to is reach for this name and it brings us back. It’s a name laced with maternal affection and eternal care.
Having a term of endearment for ourselves helps to build safety and intimacy in the most important relationship we’ll ever have: us with ourselves. me with me. you with you.
If you want to experience the power of this practice, next time you catch yourself with a self-directed whip in your hand, next time you’re body is contracted from shame or insecurity, go find a mirror and greet yourself.
Look into your own eyes and call out the name that only means “I love you. Yes, you. I love you”
Eating. Sex. Exercise.
Somewhere along the path from girl to woman we got the message. Or rather messages.
:: eating is about being good, pure, healthy
:: sex is about pleasing our partner, being ‘sexy’, and how we look
:: exercise is about striving, ‘no pain no gain’, and diligence
Today I consider these three of greatest acts of thievery in our world. Violent thievery.
The truth, it turns out, is that food, sex, and body movement are about pleasure.
They are about our own, rightful pleasure.
They are about connecting to our own bodies, feeling our sensations, and following the thread of pleasure where it leads.
I believe a well-fed woman we cannot heal just one of these relationships – she must heal all three.
Thankfully, the medicine is the same across the board: compassion, listening inward, trial and error on the path to developing self-trust, and activation of our own power and voice.
The healing isn’t easy, but the process is far better than passively allowing food, sex, and body movement to be weapons of compliance, or worse, self-torture. Eating, sex, and body movement are about nothing but our deep wisdom and true pleasure. These are sacred acts that allow us to fill up and then engage in life.
Certainly this is just the start of the conversation, but hear my cry:
Reclaim it all! Reclaim it all!
Eat what you desire.
Make love in ways that deeply pleasure you.
Move your body always in the direction of it’s own happiness.
Reconnect to yourself and honor what you hear.
Your being good serves no one.
Your being fed serves everyone.
Your self-denial is not medicine for the world.
Your self-generosity is the healing balm we’re in need of.
Walking the tight rope distracts you from life. Step off. Step off and feast!
Resources for reclaiming pleasurable eating:
Resources for reclaiming pleasurable sex:
Resources for reclaiming pleasurable body movement: