When I pay attention to the non-human world around me, I notice that these living beings spend a portion of their waking hours looking for and enjoying food. Without food, they don’t survive. I accept this. (And feel grateful that I’m not into some of the food they enjoy.)
Yet, for most of my life, I have waged an internal battle with food. More accurately, I’ve resisted the simple truth that my human body needs real food, on a consistent basis. Because of that resistance, I’ve fought with food for decades.
Underneath my resistance to eating healthy food was a deeper issue about being a burden to my family (and later, to the world) because of my physical needs. Even though I saw that Life provides freely and abundantly to every living non-human being, (without demanding a 40-80 hour work week first), I didn’t feel that included me. So I’d pick poor choices, and beat myself up for my decisions. Year after year after year.
Sometimes bringing an irrational belief into the light of my awareness, and honestly questioning the logic of it, will dispel it. That didn’t work for me in regard to food. Even cancer didn’t get me to just "get real" about this. Though it brought me closer to calmly and even joyfully feeding myself food that allows my body to run well. My goal is to nourish myself as simply and matter-of-factually as I refuel my car.
As I figured out what Michael needed, I discovered that I needed many of same things. I certainly believed it was important for him to eat a variety of nutritious, organic food and plenty of clean water. Food that I also enjoyed and preferred eating. Yet I would fed him and then let most of the remaining good food go to waste while I fed myself junk. I realized this was a problem. I began working to resolve this. I got past some of this behavior by going after emotional baggage I'd collected as a kid. But I'd still find myself "making up for" enjoying healthy food by eating junk. I’m convinced one reason I got cancer was from decades of too little nutrition, depriving my body of the tools it needed to be healthy. Coupled with putting too much junk into my body that it then had to deal with. The underlying reason was probably my belief that everyone else has a right to be here, as they are, but I don't.
It’s so annoying when people refuse to accept their value, isn’t it? When a beautiful woman insists she's not. When a kind man thinks he offers nothing of value. When a talented person thinks they’re just average because some others have accomplished more. My cats were quite content to be cats. To my knowledge, nothing in Nature (except humans) feel inadequate because of what we are and are not.
The Vicki whose imperfect smile consistently sparks joy in other people. The Vicki who talks A LOT, yet is a genuinely good listener because "I get it." The Vick who loves to get things done, and is gradually coming back into alignment with her real values – meaning that how things get done (especially when other people are involved) is more important than that they get done.
The Vicki that has far too many digital photos of flowers, rocks, clouds and greenery taking up her computer gigabytes. Who has carried rocks in my pockets and purses for most of my life. The Vicki that lights up whenever I'm engaged in a conversation with someone about how the Universe is showing itself to them.
I’m re-learning to live the way kids naturally do – trying new things (especially using our bodies) and focusing on the increasing successes. Learning from mistakes without even considering them to be mistakes, and promptly moving on.
So, today I bought yogurt, mixed with processed granola and non-organic fruit & nuts at a breakfast bar, instead of making a healthier option at home. I'd already been up for too long and wanted to get out into the world. Mid-day I pulled my first beets from my garden, washed, cooked and ate them. I also experimented with freezing some greens for later – which turned out to be a lot of work for just 4 servings to go in my morning smoothies. I indulged in a chai latte because I'd felt sad for three days. Logic said real, raw food would be a better choice. But I'd been trying to eat healthy. When I got the latte, I went home and put on music, felt happy and was energized to get the beets and greens done. No drama.
I'm currently not sure what my body really needs, in the way of food. My head is filled with conflicting information. My growing peace with food means relaxing about getting it right, while doing what I can each day to get it a little more right for my body. Experimenting based on both information and feeling my way: What do I feel like eating? How do I feel after I eat it? How do I feel 2 to 3 hours later? Do negative thoughts pop up “out of nowhere” in the 24 hours after I eat this?
But I'm no longer freaking out about food. I'll figure out how to feed me in simple, do-able ways so that I feel good consistently, and my body fully heals, or I won't. Either way, I'm making peace with food by making peace with being me. With having needs. With never finishing - always learning more and having to course-correct as a result.
In many ways, I feel like I did when Michael was born. Clueless. But happy.