Monday, August 2, 2010

Food for Thought

Photo by h.koppdelaney via Flickr

What truly feeds you in your life?

Take a moment to think about what makes your days more enjoyable and worthwhile. Is it your morning yoga class? Time spent with your spouse or playing with your child? Maybe it's the feeling of accomplishment at work?

Sometimes we're fed not by food but by the energy in our lives.

It's the things off of our plate - healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice - which can fill our soul and satisfy our hunger for life. We call these elements primary food.

So what is primary food?

Recall a time when you were deeply involved in an exciting project. You truly believed in what you were doing and felt confident and stimulated. Time fell away. Hours passed. Mealtime and sleep time were irrelevant. Or think back to your childhood, a time when you were playing outside and having fun. Suddenly, your mother announced dinner was ready, but you weren't hungry at all. The passion of play took all of your attention.

These moments and experiences demonstrate that everything is food. We hunger for play, fun, romance, intimacy, love, achievement, success, self-expression, leadership, excitement, adventure and spirituality. When our primary food is lacking or out of balance, many of us reach for secondary food as a way to alleviate or suppress our hunger for primary food. Weight gain is often a consequence, along with more serious diet-related disorders such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Chronic depression is also widespread in our society. Many also experience frustration, anger, disappointment, sadness and isolation.

These conditions and emotions are all cries for primary food, but instead of giving ourselves what we really need, we tend to find comfort and solace in secondary food. The problem is that this substitution does not work. If you are not getting the primary food you need, you will never be able to eat enough to satisfy your hunger.

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