It felt great to be with old friends at Thanksgiving - the kind of people who have known me since college, through lots of changes and have never asked me to be different than I am. There is something so precious about being able to return “home” and be embraced exactly as you are.
The holiday felt admittedly awkward this year given all that is happening at Standing Rock, reminding me of the ancient tensions and conflicting agendas between the indigenous people who bow to the Earth as sacred and colonials who historically consume Her for her resources and personal gain.
As modern people, we are caught in the middle, on the one hand benefiting from industry and technology and on the other, waking up to the unsustainable way we have been living.
Which brings me to food.
While the holidays can bring up a lot around our bodies because of all the parties and indulgent treats, this preoccupation is bigger than a desire to lose a few pounds.
Our relationship to food is a window into our relationship to our body, to the Earth, and to the feminine. How we use her, consume her, restrict her, overindulge in her then feel guilty, say we will “start tomorrow,” or know we can do better but rarely make time to truly listen to her...
There’s a rich history that has brought us to this place, where we have suppressed women and thus the feminine, forgotten to put Mother Earth on the altars in our churches or at the center of our prayers.
But imagine for a moment that your body is the temple, and when you eat, you are placing Her on the altar within you. Then the food you eat and the way you eat becomes an offering of gratitude to that which gives you life.
Shifting the way you eat and relate to your food is a beautiful beginning to creating a more sacred, sustainable and gracious relationship to your body, to the Earth and to your feminine soul who’s deep hunger for a life of meaning can be mistaken for a hunger for more food.
The simple ritual:
I began to draw the connections between my body, my femininity, food and the state of the environment when I was in Bali and eating fresh, beautiful food that actually looked like it did when it came out of the Earth. I came face to face with my over-eating, over-doing, over-consuming and slowed way down. I started “seeing” my food as miraculous bowls of magic that would soon become part of me and either fuel a clear mind or cravings. I started pausing to “pray” (a word that I had quite a hard time with) over my food and breathing to calm my nervous system before I ate.
Now more than ever, the Earth is crying out for our help. And one simple ritual you can do each day to shift your relationship to her is to honor your food and your body.
So I leave you with this food blessing which is pretty much what I say in some form before I eat, and what (other than talking openly to other women) transformed my eating/body disorders to one of sacredness and respect.
I encourage you to keep your eyes open and look at your plate as you say this to really take in the miracle of life you are about to put into your body. (And watch how it changes the way you look at processed foods.)
And please adapt the words to make it feel most authentic to you.
Rushing Woman Syndrome:
To learn more about the science and biology that supports pausing before eating, I suggest you check out this TED talk by Dr. Libby Weaver on what she calls “The Rushing Woman Syndrome” that is keeping us stressed, sick and battling with our bodies.