Hunger* is My Teacher

I have a reason to be thankful for my eating compulsion. It is a roadmap to my emotions. This isn’t a new discovery, however, it is usually so ever-present that I cannot pinpoint the reasons.

I know the standard instruction: sit with the feeling, don’t feed the compulsion, and you will discover the reason behind it. That takes time, though, and in my normal frenzied state, I don’t take the time. I take the bite.

On my retreat I have no real stress. I have no responsibility other than to myself. I have no schedule. After five days, I am relaxed. What fascinates me is that when I reach this place, I am scarcely hungry. For the only time in my life, I eat to live rather than live to eat. Okay, so the food is a bit boring, too. In my home environment this wouldn’t stop me for a New York minute!

So today I had a compulsion to eat. I ate my breakfast, wasn’t satisfied, and began rummaging for something to eat. I waited anxiously for lunch. I wanted a snack, to be chewing, to be doing SOMETHING. It took until mid-afternoon to recognize and validate what was going on. I had made a commitment. It was something that I had loved doing in past years.

Here’s the “aha” moment.

I don’t have to do it anymore. No matter how much someone else enjoys it, I don’t have to do it. If I care that it gets done, I can arrange for someone else to do it.  It was my idea in the very first place and I have a right to withdraw. Wow!

I’ll gear myself up when it’s time to go home. I bet I can eliminate a ton of self-imposed rituals if they no longer serve.

BTW, I’m not hungry anymore.

The Student

*I’m not sure it’s fair to represent a compulsion to eat as hunger.

Originally posted on My Life Class January 11, 2012


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