We are the ones we have been waiting for.” – Hopi Elder
Many people find it surprising – and a bit of playful irony – that when they explore their relationship with sugar, they find that their real “issue” wasn’t really sugar at all – but how they related to their emotional, physical, spiritual, and relational needs.
It was the gaps and troughs and valleys of these unmet, denied, and minimized needs that translated into a strong neediness and drive for sugar.
From this perspective, the healing process with sugar is then two fold:
To connect – to relate honestly, tenderly, and compassionately to the unmet needs that lie underneath the sugar – and to grieve.
As you care for what’s underneath, the drive for sugar softens. In this way, you’re not trying to cope with or manage cravings, you’re facing, softening and unwinding what feeds those cravings in the first place, replacing the false refuge of “sugar” with a true refuge, within your being.
As for grieving, when you change how you eat and use sugar, you’re being asked to grow – and in growing, we die a little. In dying, we grieve. We grieve for the sorrow that lies underneath the sugar and that is arising for attention.
And we grieve for the loss of sugar itself.
For in our healing journey, our typical patterns with sugar – how we binge on or seek out sugar for comfort when we’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed, scared or frustrated – must die.
They have to.
The thought of this can feel overwhelming.
But what is dead must remain dead. Obsessively eating sugar has no life in it. It will never bring the life or love or ease that we hope it will bring. To quote J.R.R. Tolkien, “The way is shut. It was made by those who are Dead. And the Dead keep it.”
This dying process may sound frightening, or even harsh, but there is a deep belly of compassion at its core. When we let go of what doesn’t work – and no matter how much sugar we eat, it doesn’t work: it doesn’t bring the lasting relief, ease, and joy that we imagine it to – there is space for new life to birth what longs to arise on the other side.
On the other side of this sugar “death” there is satiation, rest, connection, belonging, and ease – what the heart thirsts for. There is rest from the pursuit of what doesn’t work, and what will never work. There is rest from grasping after fruitless pleasure. There is rest from striving – all the exhausting, painful trying to “fix the self.”
This rest is out of our grasp as long as we continue to obsessively pursue and fixate on sugar.
And so, we rise, and we walk – we walk through the dying, the letting go of sugar, and into the land of the living.
The deeper story: the third thing to transform your relationship with sugar
And…that’s not all there is.
There’s a third thing that you’re being asked to do to foster a transformation in your relationship with sugar.
This is not something that you do but, rather, something that you open to.
For there is something else that is coming through your willingness to walk with sugar, your willingness to shine a light on what lurks underneath, and your willingness to journey through this valley of healing, death and letting go.
It, too, is a profound and deep mercy, and I’ll try to paint this third thing, this “something else” in words. It speaks to the very soul of sugar, and how it is trying to speak to you.
Here’s a go: what if your sugar journey is not there to punish, but to help? What if your wrestling match with sugar is not an aberration, but something consequential, something meaningful, and even, dare I say, intentional?
What if there is something that sugar is asking of you – that you are powerfully needed and being purposefully called, through sugar – and that your response to this need and this call is what you’re facing, right now? The choice that is in front of you?
And what if you’ve wrestled with sugar long enough to get to this very point, where you’re able to look sugar squarely in the eye, and see this need, this calling, how it longs to speak to you and use you – and that being able to witness this is, itself, a gift, and a blessing upon your head and heart?
What if something has lain dormant in you for a long time now – a spark, a seed, a hidden potential. This hidden potential longs to sprout, and rise, and bear fruit. So it is restless, and roaming. It seeks a worthy and sacred labor, something that would allow you to rise up, to bring the most deeply human and holy aspects of your being up to the surface of your life, and to bring them into form, into being, into this terra firma.
What if this “something” – this seed – is sprouting, is being nourished, and is being sown in you through this thing called sugar? What if sugar is what is calling this hidden potential forth?
What if your wrestling match with sugar is a holy and sacred labor, and you, by submitting to this labor, become a midwife – a midwife of qualities – things like strength, mercy, love, compassion, commitment, gratitude, forgiveness – that would not be born had you not agreed to this wrestling, to this sacred laboring?
What if your soul is longing to grow down, into its most beautiful and holy aspects, through sugar?
And what if that is where you find yourself today, and what is being asked of you?
What if you are being asked, first and foremost, to love?
And what if you’re being asked to do this through sugar?
What if, indeed, “you are the one you’ve been waiting for?” That as Rumi said, “what you’ve been seeking is also seeking you?”
And how, my friend, will you answer?
This “third thing,” this call to love, to serve, and to allow yourself to be birthed through sugar, is, I believe, the angel that walks with you through the dying and letting go process with sugar. It’s what makes the dying process doable and feasible and even, dare I say, welcome.
This call to love transforms how we look at our necessary death with sugar, to see and know and taste the profound mercy at its core, and to walk towards the new life that awaits, fecund and arising.