To read Part 1 of this article, please CLICK HERE.
Wisdom, these days, seems harder to come by. There’s all kinds of information being hurled at us from every direction. Sometimes it feels like every human on earth has a newsletter, a blog, and something to sell that will make all the pain go away. So, whenever I encounter wisdom and insight flowing from someone whose heart and mind are aligned with something greater, it feels as if the lights come on. I recently had a rare personal and professional opportunity to interview over 35 amazing people, each dedicated in their own unique and compelling way to uplifting others. I invited this amazing cast of soulful characters to help advance the field of eating psychology in an ambitious Online Eating Psychology Conference that quite frankly, made more of a splash than I could’ve hoped for. I’d love to share with you some of the highlights that I’ve pulled out from the many nuggets of wisdom that were offered. Specifically, these are 8 key lessons which emerged that I strongly believe reposition the field of eating psychology in a very positive and powerful way.
I think you just might agree. Let me know what you think…
But first, some very brief context:
I have noticed over the years that researchers, experts, and various practitioners have focused their energy and attention strictly on the nutritional metabolism of eaters. Largely absent from the equation, however, has been a deep dive into the mind, heart, and soul of the eater. What’s more, even the nutritional science that we’ve invented has been limited in its scope and effectiveness. For decades now, I’ve been doing my best to bridge this gap and to bring an enlightened approach to eating psychology and nutritional science to the forefront. I’ve done my personal best through my books, writing, and through the Institute for the Psychology of Eating to share the kind of eating psychology that invites all of who we are to the table, and that includes the challenges not just of clinical eating disorders, but all the trials and tribulations that each one of us faces as an eater.
So far, so good.
My idea for this conference was to invite leaders from various disciplines who even though they aren’t necessarily experts in eating psychology – would very likely have some great “consulting” and advice to offer. What follows here are the remaining of the 8 Lessons that emerged, themes I noticed that feel like guiding stars to better understand our relationship with food, and with life.
Lesson #5 – Being a Health Innovator
We live in a time where the science of nutrition is more like the wild west then some age-old field of study where all the experts are in constant and perfect agreement with one another. Because the field of nutrition is still evolving, it takes a courageous mind to be willing to push the envelope, generate new insight and ideas, and put out information and wisdom that’s edgy enough, and smart enough, to advance the field of nutrition and our relationship with food, to a new and better place. And indeed, it takes a very open and willing mind for each one of us to stay humble enough and remember that our understanding of both the science and psychology of eating are still hungry for new ways to grow. In other words, let’s be nutritional innovators for our own body, and for the world. Let’s be daring enough to break new ground and not worry about the uniformed or unkind opinions that may come our way. A few of my favorite innovators are Donna Gates, Dr. Mark Hyman, and Sayer Ji of greenmedinfo.com.
Lesson #6 – Return of the Wise Woman
It seems to me that the fields of eating psychology and health are too often lacking the voice of the wise woman archetype. Especially when it comes to our relationship with food and body, it’s essential to have a balance of masculine and feminine approaches. Far too many women suffer from the challenges of disordered eating, so it behooves us as community of professionals and educated laypeople to value the insights and contribution of women who have followed a path of inquiry, healing and wakefulness. Traditional cultures around the globe, and throughout history, have understood this quite well, and have had a special reverence for an enlightened feminine perspective. Such women have gone through the fire of their own transformation, and have often traveled a hard road to arrive at a place of heartfelt wisdom and giving. Some of my favorite wise women include: Nicole Daedone, Daphne Rose Kingma, Pat Ogden and Vandana Shiva.
Lesson #7 – Embodying All of Who We Are
We live in a world where it’s pretty standard to feel alienated from others and disconnected from our own emotional ebbs and flows. We’re often taught that the body is something to drag around, that eating is something you squeeze into the schedule, and that our true inner feelings and desires are to be kept a well-guarded secret. What’s more, some of the most common strategies that focus on unwanted eating habits simply look to change behavior rather than take a deeper look into our inner world – the place where all the action is. Feelings, deeper soul urges, and a sense of embodiment are forgotten when it comes to our eating concerns. The lesson here is this: the more we bring our whole self to the table – our shadow side, our frailty, our humanity, our power and our greatness – the more likely it is for healing to finally occur. Some of my favorite spokespeople for embodying all of who we are as a way to heal and grow include Ana Forrest, Seane Corn, and Diane Israel.
Lesson #8 – Spiritual Hook-Up
When all else fails us in our attempts to manage or heal our body image concerns, our eating challenges, and even our health issues – it may be time to set our sights on something higher. It may be a hidden cue from the universe to consider connecting to a higher power, to something greater, to explore what a spiritual perspective to our life could even look like. It’s time to bring a healthy dose of spiritual insight and practice into the field of eating psychology. Of course, this is a very personal exploration for each of us. And it just might be the place that was waiting for us all along when it comes to the healing we’ve been hoping for. The body is sacred. It’s more than a mere biological machine, and more than a bunch of chemistry randomly produced by the cold and impersonal forces of evolution. We are far more glorious and intricate creatures then we could ever imagine. How is your relationship with food a great teacher? How might it be designed to help you grow and mature? And how is it here to teach you?
Which of the 8 Lessons is asking for your attention in your life at this time, and how will you answer it?
This article is concludes a two part series. To read part one – click here!
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