This week is a holiday week for those of us in the United States. For those of you in other countries, you have your own ebb and flow of holidays – and some that may be coming up for you.
Holidays can feel challenging for a couple reasons. Because they are potent times of gathering and celebration, they tend to bring up attachment hunger.
You might feel an ache in your heart, missing those in your life who’ve died, mourning for a relationship that’s fractured, or longing to be with loved ones who are far away.
On holidays you might sense how much you want a village – more community and connection in your life.
And because holidays often involve special foods and feasting, they can bring up complex needs and feelings about food.
Our yearning for togetherness, nourishment, and for celebration are valid needs. How can we meet these needs in regenerative, life giving ways?
I was thinking about this idea this morning because I got an email from a woman about her complex relationship with food and the various ways she’s supported her healing over the years. Her note had me thinking about my own experiences with food, and yours.
If I had to distill it to the essence, I think what many of us are wanting with food is peace – to have peace with food, and to be at peace in how we nourish our bodies and ourselves.
When we’re caring for trauma, food can become a way we regulate our dysregulated nervous system. But then we feel dysregulated by our eating habits – dysregulation on top of dysregulation.
So then we’re trying to ‘fix the food’ because we feel so scared about the ways we binge, purge, overeat, restrict, control, strive, grasp, become fixated on the body or weight, eat out of anxiety, or get rigid.
Or we feel scared because we see our body change and feel out of our control.
I imagine what we all want is for the anxiety and dysregulation to soften. And to be able to eat, rest, move and nourish our body from a grounded place of, “I love you and I’m going to take good, good care of you.”
This is the deeper journey we’re on: bringing rest and healing to our nervous systems, bringing rest and healing to our bodies, and bringing rest and healing to our attachment hunger.
From this place of rest, the painful food behaviors and beliefs can fall away.
Image credit: This is a collage I made to celebrate my yearning for attachment, for connection and closeness. This hunger arises at every holiday, how fitting!