When I got my kitten, I was fully committed to eventually letting him roam outside. As I grew close to him over the initial months, I began to wonder if I could really do it. What if he disappeared for days? Was eaten by a wild animal? Got hit by a car?
For weeks, I could tell he was ready. There was no doubt in my mind that he was a cat that needed adventures in the wild. As we lay in bed cuddling one morning, I recognized that my attachment, and thus control, was limiting his joy in life. So, I soaked up the cuddles, fully enjoying the present moment and then opened the door.
While his adventure circles have been widening and the risks are still very real, seeing him chase flies in the grass, climb trees, and lounge in the sun all make it worth it. He has expanded into the full joy of living his cat life, which is far greater than living in the confines of my control.
In what ways have you confined your experience of life so as to play it safe? In what ways have you controlled your relationship with your body and with food in such a way that you are then unable to really experience it fully?
I often say, "when you define, you confine."
When you define what is good or bad.
When you define yourself as a fill-in-the-blank-tarian.
When you are filled with guilt or shame while eating.
When you use food a way to quiet the voice of the soul.
Just like freeing my cat from the bounds of my attachment allows him to enjoy a much broader spectrum of life, releasing ourselves from specific measures to control the body expands the range of our connection with the body, with food, and with nature. The joy of relishing in a favorite food can be fully embodied, then released when finished without attachment. The satiation of eating what the body is really craving rather than some watered down version that fits a certain mold can be thoroughly felt. Instead of living inside the bounds, you can experience the sweet relief of slipping into the wild unknown that is guided by your own intuition.
Following are three tips for breaking down the walls of confinement that have been built-up around how you eat over the years:
Don't "should" on yourself. When deciding what to eat, notice the guiding voice. Distinguish whether your decisions are based on what your body is really wanting/needing versus what your mind thinks you should or shouldn't have.
Tune out to tune in. Quiet the world around you while eating. Engage with all of your senses to truly be with the experience of your body and the food you are eating. Feel the texture of the food in your hands and in your mouth. Notice the scents... what do they remind you of? Allow the taste of the food to flood the mouth. Observe where the tastes hit your palate. Delight in the color and beauty of the food, visually, as you eat.
Eat as a form of meditation. Prior to beginning a meal, take 3 deep, full breaths. Allow them to draw your mind down into your body, connecting there to establish a bond before eating. Make a commitment to honoring the needs of the body as you eat, so as to build trust between you and your body... something that may have been broken if the body's needs have been regularly denied. Continue to use the breath as a tool to check-in throughout the meal. Notice what the body is wanting and honor the request.
Resolve to not deny any part of the experience. Feeling unbridled joy and passion in the body requires that space is also held on the other end of the spectrum. As you create more depth-filled connection with the body (especially in regards to food) notice when feelings that don't feel so good want to come through. Can you find a way to feel them just as fully? Expanse cannot happen in one direction. In order to feel that greater connection to joy, we must be willing to feel the depths of other end. Ironically, it is through that depth that we arrive, full circle, back to the joy. This is the flow of life. The rhythm, that if we avail ourselves to it, makes us feel most fully alive.
The TRUE NATURE RETREAT has just a few spots left. Make sure to register soon, if you plan on joining us. We are planning an extra special event on Friday evening of the retreat, as it will be the Full Buck Moon, which is also the first Full Moon of Summer. Expect a beautiful ritual accompanied by a luxurious sound bath under the light of the Full Moon. I'm so excited for this extra special opportunity to cleanse and restore with the Full Moon while gathering with others in nature! Sign up today!
RESTORE YOU GROUP will next be held in July! Sign up today to be a part of the 5 day mimicked fast and mindfulness program to rejuvenate body and mind!