Here in July, as the heat cooks us outside my door, we are, for the most part, sheltered at home. This year, more than ever, I’m understanding – in my bones and in my body, and not just in my mind – how interconnected we are.
Deepening our sense of connection – this in the blood, in the bone, in the body kind of belonging – is one of the roots that threads her way through our next group class, When Food is Your Mother.
In this class we bring presence, listening, and compassion to your relationship with food and other challenges, like self criticism, so you can soften a pattern of using food for self nurture.
You’ll learn why we can turn to food to care for our emotional needs. And you’ll also learn how you can lean into the power of connection to heal your relationship with food.
How ruptures of belonging can lead to food
There are so many ways our sense of belonging can get ruptured. All of us will – or have – experienced this at some point in our lives.
In the wake of these ruptures, our bodies and minds, in their infinite intelligence, and in their wide berth of mercy, discover coping strategies, ways to adapt ourselves to our external – and then internal – environments so that we can feel safe, at ease, and at rest, a sense of tether to our world.
One of these adaptations is food – overeating, comfort eating, binge eating, restrictive eating, and more.
While it’s common to eat to soothe the panicky energy of anxiety and alarm, food can also be a heart cry, a longing for connection when we feel disconnected and unmoored.
In that moment, when we feel separate, afraid, or ashamed, our cravings for food are prayers in disguise, whispering, “Please, please see me, please hear me, please connect with me, please care for me.”
One woman’s story – ‘the precious space to find compassion for myself’
These cries are often a cry for some form of love.
Lynn took When Food is Your Mother a few years ago, and said the class helped her find ‘a precious space of compassion for herself.’
She’s given us her kind permission to share her story with you.
Here’s what she said about her experience in the class:
I took When Food is Your Mother a few years back. It was a godsend at the exact time I needed it.
Whenever I try something new I become earnest and hopeful. Like a little girl I want to do it just right. Make all the right moves so I can be proud of myself like my mother/father weren’t.
Even writing this email to you, I’m focused on saying everything just right so as not to be misunderstood and to be proud of myself. I’m actually realizing this right now as I’m putting my words down, wow.
I have for the most part, ended my need to binge. It’s been about a year. I’ve used food since I was 11 years old and at 61 I’m finally feeling relief.
The help from my excellent therapist and the work I did so diligently in your class enabled me to achieve what I thought was absolutely impossible. Your teachings are always in my head somewhere, encouraging me and guiding me. The tools I learned are part of me now.
My understanding of separation and attachment, grief and softening, gives me the precious space I need to find compassion for myself.
Thank you for staying in touch and connecting. Thank you for much needed relief in this time. The relief comes from knowing that there’s inherent good in all of us.
I have tears in my eyes as I read Lynn’s note. As I think of her 11 year old self, her 61 year old self, and the 50 years in between, I can picture the courage, the many tries, and ups and downs that were a part of her healing journey.
I feel so moved by the ways she didn’t give up on herself, and by the gift of her story.
The safety to heal
I wanted to share Lynn’s story with you because I understand the vulnerability of reaching out and asking for help, especially around something as tender as our relationship with food.
So many inner parts can get riled up! You may wonder if the class will make a difference, if the money will be worth it, or feel shy about exposing yourself.
These are all valid questions, and normal feelings.
Intimacy can be vulnerable
When we step closer towards our relationship with food, we’re deepening our inner intimacy.
It’s like we’re holding our inner selves in our lap, rather than just seeing them from a distance.
This is vulnerable, whew. And, as Lynn described, it can also be an opportunity to become our compassionate witness, to come alongside the parts of us that self nurture with food.
Fortunately, while we may feel nervous about stepping forward, we also have other feelings in our mix: a desire for healing. Courage and strength. A desire for self kindness.
These yearnings of the heart are precious, the ballast that steers our ship. They take our hands and hold us as we take that next small step forward, into help, connection, and community.
If the next step forward for you is to take a class, and you’re wanting to go deeper into the ideas that we explore, and you’d like to connect with a group of good hearted folks for support, then When Food is Your Mother might be a good fit for you.
Class begins Monday, July 27th and ends Thursday, September 17th.
If you have any questions, please reach out. We appreciate that it’s an investment of your time, money, energy and heart, and we want you to get the help you need. We’re here to help you find the right fit for you, whether it’s with us, or with someone else.
And if your heart says yes, we’d love to have you!
As I close this note, I’m smiling, because our Nala cat has just jumped on my desk, rubbing up against my keyboard.
Cats are not shy about reaching out for connection, nor about caring for their needs. (She’s now decided to drink out of my water glass. Silly cat.)
So, to the beauty of connection, and to the beauty of asking for help, and to the hands that hold us in both, Karly