Here we find ourselves in the first week of July, a scorcher of a month here in Texas where I live. And yet this week has been unseasonably wet, drenching my garden with regular rain that offers an abundance of cucumbers, tomatillos, and tomatoes.
I never was much of a gardener. But as my relationship with food and nourishment has changed, I’ve wanted to be more connected to the food that feeds me.
And so I began!
A way of being loved
Now that I know more intimately the labor, devotion, and mercy of rain that’s necessary to grow food, I feel greater appreciation for each bite.
But appreciation is too small a word to describe what I feel: it’s more akin to penetration, a way of being loved and cared for, an openness to being given to.
Through my garden, I’ve been learning how to receive and take in food as nourishment, food as gift, food as care.
For someone like myself who’s had a complicated, at times disordered, and anxiety provoking relationship with food, this feels as miraculous as the growing process from seed, to vine, to tomato.
Our birthright to be nourished and loved
The capacity to be fed – to be loved and nourished – is a birthright for all of us, whether it’s being nourished physically, emotionally or spiritually.
And yet many of us carry wounds and vulnerabilities that make it hard to receive, to trust the nourishment that is being offered to us or to allow it ‘in.’
In Western culture, this is just about all of us!
When ‘hunger’ goes sideways
As my beloved mentor in developmental psychology, Dr. Gordon Neufeld, taught me, when these hungers are unmet, they do not go silent, but morph:
- We may ‘look for love in all the wrong places.’
- We may ‘hustle for worthiness,’ trying to earn the care we long for with perfectionism, people pleasing, achievement, and performance.
- Or we may grasp after places of safety and comfort, something to fill the void of care and nurturing.
For many of us – especially this year, in the wake of a pandemic – what fills this void is food.
When food is a ‘mother’
When food becomes a ‘mother,’ food becomes something more than food, or even nourishment: it becomes a surrogate ‘safe haven,’ where we turn to fill the hungers of our relational, emotional, and spiritual needs.
Food works, for a time. It can soothe, and comfort, and even move us into a more relaxed state, into the parasympathetic nervous system.
But food does not really give us what we long for – the depth of connection, care, presence and warmth our heart needs. This lack of satiation means that the hungers continue, unabated.
And so the bond with food can grow as we eat and eat to try and come to ‘rest.’
The rest we long for
There is a way we all long to come down, to open to the holiness of our needing, to feel safe enough to claim this birthright and to receive the love that surrounds and cares for us.
Love continually pours through the world, whether that love comes through a beloved tree, a favorite pet, a neighbor, partner or friend.
But how do we feel safe enough to receive it? To take it in?
To allow it into our hearts, where it can penetrate our loneliness and sadness, our yearning and desire for care?
And how do we rest in this deeper love so that our false refuges – the food or sugar fixation, the striving for a perfect body or diet, the unhealthy control of food – as well as the refuges of perfectionism and performance, pleasing and self editing – can fall away?
This year’s When Food is Your Mother class
These are the questions that we explore and open to in When Food is Your Mother. If they speak to the longing of your heart, then we’d love to have you join us.
In this 9 week class, we’ll gently venture into the heart to soften your bond with food and strengthen your bond with life.
How this class helps now
This year, as we journey through so much social change and the continued unfolding of a pandemic, it feels especially important that we support one another in repairing these ruptures, in mending the tears in the fabric of warmth.
It’s my yearning that we may all feel the safety of the ‘arms that hold us,’ the Mother within, what allows our compulsions and fixations to soften and come to rest – and what allows us to be penetrated by love and care and sustenance.
This is work that we never do and is not done best alone, but with others, joined in community.
So if you’re looking for a small group of warm hearted seekers to journey into the heart, and my approach resonates with you, we’d love to have you in the circle that’s forming.
When Food is Your Mother is beloved by our people, and tends to attract a rich variety of gentle, sensitive, passionate souls from across the globe – healers, therapists and coaches, mothers (and fathers), meditators and spiritual seekers, artists, poets and writers who come to and offer their unique wisdom at her ‘hearth.’
Class begins Monday, August 2nd and ends on Friday, October 1st. You can find all the details here.
If you have any questions, please reach out! We’re here to help and I want you to get the support you need, whether it’s with this class or somewhere else.
If you’re interested in the class but the timing doesn’t work for you, the next When Food is Your Mother class will be sometime mid 2022.