“What’s Eating You?”

So there’s this pandemic…it’s literally a matter of life and death these days…and the economy is behaving like someone experimenting behind a dark alley with illegal drugs…unemployment rates are so high they make Mt. Everest look like an anthill…

Yes, it’s bad out there—really bad. No two ways about it. But this tragic state we are experiencing out there is going to pass. I don’t profess to have a crystal ball of when or how, but it willpass.

Author Michael Singer (The Untethered Soul) writes, “Eventually you will see that the real cause of problem is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes the problem.”

We dwell in two realities in this life: the internal and external. Meditation, yoga, long walks, singing, painting, writing—these are some of the conduits to remind us of our inner world.

But too often we dwell and get caught up in the outer world. We get enmeshed and often psychologically stuck on a diet of what is externally present.

Whether we are on the front lines or the food lines, rich or poor, healthy or sick matters little when compared to the internal world we all possess. When we are no longer dependent on the external for sustenance, we will no longer feel the spiritual ache of lack.

Our bodies are miraculous indicators. They are speaking to us all the time—sometimes literally (i.e. a growling stomach) and often figuratively (i.e. We are feeling stressed and we “fall” prey to a cold).

I struggle with TMJ. This past week was a particularly bad bout. When I went inside for answers, I knew the increased pain was from subconscious yet futile attempts to control the external.  My pain is a gift—it reminds me to stay present, savoring each moment and surrendering to circumstances I cannot control. 

By making a concerted effort to surrender, moment-by- moment, my jaw pain has significantly subsided. It is no longer “eating me.”

The pandemic is an external tragedy that is affecting all of us. I encourage you to take a moment to go within and see what surfaces. If something keeps bubbling to the surface, it just might be what’s eating you.

There are people who are soaring during this worldwide crisis—physically, spiritually and economically healthy.  The internal world plays a significant role for these individuals. 

Take this time to know your hunger, to go within, exploring and nurturing your soul.

Identifying Our Hunger

Decadent Chocolate S’mores Crepes

Back before our new normal, I LOVED going to Coco Crepes—you know, sitting down in an actual restaurant with actual in person contact. On one of those visits, my sister joined me. She was hankering for one of Coco Crepes’ (and decadently delicious) dessert classics: s’mores—replete with crushed graham crackers and toasted marshmallows.

We had finished our divine crepe dinners; I still desired something sweet, but the s’more crepe wasn’t going to do it for me. But my sister DID want the s’more crepe and wouldn’t get it unless I shared it with her.

So I did what any good sister would do, I agreed to her gustatory request. And while the calorie-high decision might seem innocuous, it demonstrates the inner workings of me. The crepe-I-didn’t-want-in-an-effort-to-please symbolized my relationship with big sis’.

What I was hungry for had nothing to do with the crepe and everything to do with pleasing my sister. 

And my sister’s hunger for the campfire reminiscent treat? She had just flown in from New Jersey on business. She was presenting something major to a huge crowd of medical professionals the next morning. It didn’t surprise me that her stress levels were working overtime, causing her to crave high levels of sugar. And there is nothing more psychologically comforting than the idea of slow-roasted marshmallows drenched in melted chocolate and crushed graham crackers to create a (albeit temporary) sense of carbohydrate calm from an adrenaline storm inside.

As we have the gift of time during our pandemic, consider the connection between your dietary choices and your emotional state. This is not an opportunity to judge, but a moment to consider and make choices that potentially serve you better. 

A friend recently had a fight with her spouse and, despite the lockdown order in her state, grabbed her three kids and went out for Baskin Robbins. “I couldn’t take it.” Again, there’s that connection between stress and the food choices we make. But was she really hungry for the frozen dairy dessert or was it a temporary salve to the underlying conflict in her marriage she wants nothing more than to avoid?

I encourage you to consider what your hunger is telling you. With my sister, despite the fact that we are grown women hovering around menopause, I’m still the little girl who craves her big sister’s approval and love. But the truth underneath, when I hit the coronavirus pause button: I know she loves me whether I join her in devouring a s’mores crepe or never touch one again!