Food is More Than Food
I've come to learn that food, like drinking, smoking, shopping, or any other "vice" (I put the word in quotes because I don't love its connotation) is more than food. What do I mean by that? Well, food is something we fill ourselves up with. It's something we choose, something we can control, something that we've loaded with judgement: protein is good, and sugar is bad; mashed potatoes are comfort food, anything with the word "vegan" or "gluten-free" in its name is pretentious; this particular food is associated with my culture, while this food over here--whatever that dish is called is strange/exotic/I'm not eating it. Food is punishment. Food is guilt. Food is pleasure. Food is something we think we "deserve" after a long day. It's a reward. It's a way we express our love, when we prepare it for another human being. Food is loaded. It's like a gun.
When I was a child, I ate whatever I wanted, and because I have a fast metabolism, I never thought about food. Ice cream for breakfast? Yes, please. Then, I got older, and somehow, like so many, food became a way to punish myself, and I stopped eating. Not altogether, but I ate very little. The truth is, looking back, I thought I didn't DESERVE food. Ouch. That's a rough one to admit. And it's true, the real reason people develop eating disorders is because they hate themselves. Why else would someone, quite literally, deprive herself of the very thing she needs to live? Actually, I took pride in how little I ate, how disciplined I could be. I'd run a few miles and then eat a bit of pineapple and a small piece of chocolate. I'd wake up with stomach pain because I was so hungry, but I wouldn't keep food in the fridge, so I'd have to wait till morning to go to the supermarket. I didn't know how to exist in this world, and so some part of me wanted to disappear.
And then, I discovered a spiritual path. I started meditating and reading books about God. I fell in love with someone, who, actually, was quite kind to me. I began to like myself. And I came to enjoy food again. I ate! I adopted a very "healthy" lifestyle, and I believed that all was well. But like the haunting, popular children's rhyme about the decomposing corpse that's rotting, unbeknownst to the narrator: "All was well for about a week, and then your coffin begins to leak..." Three years ago, I began to develop a series of food allergies "randomly". Symptoms included stomach spasms, an inability to digest most foods, anxiety, severe acne (all over)....I even believed my hair was falling out.
So, I developed all of these symptoms, and I started digging..what could it be? I went to doctors, none of who could help me, and while I wanted to see a naturopath, Aetna doesn't pay for a doctor who doesn't prescribe medication readily, so I was left with the only option I believe I had at the time: to read lots of books and figure it out on my own. Pretty quickly, I discovered the link between hormones and digestion, and this thing called leaky gut syndrome and the link between the health of one's microbiome and one's overall physical, mental, and emotional well-being. I learned why I suffered from insomnia for a few years. I learned why I was tinged with anxiety for most of my twenties. I learned why the enamel had disappeared from my teeth.
I changed my diet. Also, I meditated for long periods of time, during which I envisioned streams of healing white light pouring into my crown chakra and flooding my body. I did forgiveness meditations, and I sobbed and curled up like a baby and released my fear and egoic story. I changed my diet AND I changed my spirit. I slowly began to shift my consciousness. Whenever I would think something critically of myself, I would follow it up with, "That's not right. I love myself. I love myself." I'd repeat it even if I didn't believe it. I was determined to reprogram my subconscious mind.
And the spasms went away, and I could eat most foods without having major stomach issues. From the outside, I looked normal and healthy. I suppose I was normal and healthy, whatever that means. I decided that I would stick to an anti-inflammatory diet, meaning, I would eat foods that didn't seem to have any negative impact on my body. This omitted many categories of food, like seeds, legumes, dairy, and cruciferous vegetables, and I was okay with that, as somehow, I found comfort in having fewer choices, in saying, this is okay to eat because my body doesn't revolt after it's ingested. It doesn't cause me any PAIN.
Now, since I am divulging all, I must say that I am a student of "A Course in Miracles," and I don't even believe the body is real... so where do I go from here? Where do I--someone who has been learning to love herself, someone who has been living this "spiritual" life of making subconscious thoughts conscious, someone who has been actively choosing fear over love, someone who is rooted in prayer and consciousness--where do I go, when there are issues with my body and food, STILL? Still. Even that word is riddled with judgment. As if I, the conscious awakened one should harbor no fear in her body; I who tells others to love themselves shouldn't manifest a face full of acne.
And yet, here's another truth: food is more than food, and yet it is not. It is just food. It is just energy. Like my body, it doesn't even exist. It carries with it only that which I imbue it with. It only has the meaning I ascribe. In quantum physics, it has been proven that the judgment of the observer has the power to change that which she is observing. We are creating our own realities. We have the power to give everything we are manifesting all of the meaning it has for us, and we can choose differently. We can choose health. We can choose wellness. We can choose to love ourselves so deeply that anything that enters our bodies becomes something that only benefits us and provides us with exactly what we need. That is the path that I am on: the path of self love, the path of healing, the path of discovery; and all of these "things" that arise, all of these fears that bubble to the surface, be it my insecurities, or doubts, or inability to digest lactose--they're all my call for love; they're my body's way of telling me to realize the truth more, to treat myself with kindness, and to allow myself to be well, because my mind is creating everything as a way of showing me where I need to heal next. Food is more than food, and yet it is nothing. Everything in this life is a paradox. "ACIM" says we are not IN our bodies; we HAVE a body. We are consciousness; we are one; we are made of the dust of stars and meteors, and we have this communication device because that is what consciousness created as a means of experiencing itself in this illusion of separateness.
And lastly, TRUTHFULLY, if I'm really being honest here: food, like everything else, everything that exists, is God... because everything is God--you, me, the mountain, the chair, your friend, your neighbor, that enemy you have, that hamburger, that milkshake. It's all God; it's all love energy. Everything else is ego and story and judgment. My favorite prayer is: I am willing to see things differently. That prayer allows for the creation of an opening in my consciousness. That prayer allows for change. That prayer allows for healing, and I can get on board with that.