Intuitive Eating & How to Hush the "I Deserve It" Voice
4 Minute Read: Mental health, mindfulness, meditation, dharma practice, addiction, recovery, habit shifts, transformation.
When working at addiction treatment centres a few years back, part of my job was performing group acupuncture – where everyone sits or lays on the floor, and I walk around placing needles in ears, hands and foreheads.
While letting the needles do their thing, I’d play music…and offer guided meditations. Eventually, I started using these meditations elsewhere: in clinic, at in-person workshops, during Deep Dive Intensives, with my coaching clients, with my Chinese Medicine students.
I thought perhaps I’d start offering them in this space too, every once in a while. Won’t be the same…since you’ll be reading rather than listening (though plans are in the works for that too, so stay posted!).
Still, I invite you to turn on some soft music, get super-comfortable, read the words slowly, and imagine I’m in the background guiding you through.
If you do, pease let me know how it goes and whether you’d like more of these – after guiding hundreds of sessions, I have a huge collection!
Breathing in, consciously feel your chest open up to the rear between the shoulder blades, to the sides, under the arms, exhaling smooth and easy to the front.
Allow your breath to expand the chest in all four directions, filling evenly in the front, back, sides of the body. Creating space there. Inviting spaciousness.
In the centre of this space, in the centre of your chest – at your centre – is your heart. Breath into this space and see your heart there.
From this place at your heart centre, connect with some part of you that’s always been there. Since your beginnings. Through your continued becoming.
Some part of you that‘s always been there and will always be there, whatever rises and falls.
From this place of spaciousness…this place of touching into your True Self: Connect. Open. Soften. See and be seen.
Know that you are safe in this space. Know that you are enough.
And now, within this safe, connected, held place, ask that true part of you:
What do I deserve? What do I truly deserve?
And…where can I get it? Where do I get it?
Also…where do I try to get it? From food? How’s that going?
Does the food you choose when the “I deserve it” voice arises come through on its promise? Does it truly give you what you deserve?
In the moment?
As you’re trying to fall asleep that night?
The next day?
Overall, in how you feel in body and mind?
Does your food make you feel better? Or worse?
My approach to eating patterns, habits and addictions is premised on 3 circles.
These circles have a lot to do with how we try to get “what we deserve” and get our needs met.
Circle One holds “Fear of Too Much.”
People existing in this circle fear too much coming from the outside (or too much feeling within).
In an effort to feel safe, they turn to restriction, elimination and deprivation.
Circle Two holds “Fear of Not Enough.”
People existing in this circle are suffering from a lack, hole or wound.
They are trying desperately to fill it…but with a poor substitute for what’s really needed.
People in both circles are coming from a place of fear and pain…plus trauma, abuse, heartbreak or loss.
Some part of them is trying to take care of them in the best way it knows how.
Some part of them is trying to get them what they truly deserve.
Problem is, when we exist in either of these circles, we’re cut off from the third circle – the Circle of True Self.
In that circle, we are not controlled, defined and extinguished by our addictions. We are connected to True Self. To our true needs.
When we inhabit that circle, we eat for nourishment – and natural enjoyment. Not out of fear of too much…or fear of not enough.
We can listen to – and trust – our bodies. We eat intuitively because we’re not caught in an addictive cycle.
How do we get there?
The first step is seeing and naming. Ask yourself, with an abundance of compassion and honesty, whether you exist in one of those addictive circles:
Are you eating out of Fear of Not Enough?
Is your eating (or not eating) sourced from Fear of Too Much?
Does the food you eat – or your avoidance and restriction of food – bring you what you truly deserve?
Does it make you feel good? Not just in the moment, but after?
Give these questions lots of space. Lots of pause.
Then, when you’re ready, touch back into your breath…and the true part of you that’s always been there and will always be there.
Allow a full inhale and a full exhale. Allow the breath to fill you. No rush.
Offer yourself thanks for showing up with honesty, curiosity and compassion. Offer your True Self thanks for anything it showed you. For anything you saw, learned or even just asked today.
Some questions…and steps.
How’d it go?
What answers did you get to the question: “What do I deserve?”
Does your food and way of eating (or not eating) get you that…or something different?
Do you exist in one of the three circles? Or move between them?
What comes next? What’s your next healing step?
In truth, the “next right step” depends.
It will differ depending on which circle (or circles) you inhabit…and on all aspects of you, as an individual.
It will rest on finding your right balance of surrender + sovereignty.
But seeing and naming comes first: This is where surrender comes in…and in itself is profoundly healing.
What then? So much! I walk you through five in my free ebook Eating Addiction: Three Circles, Five Healing Steps:
Seeing and naming (surrender)
Deciding and making the simple choice – declaring 100% responsibility for your choices (sovereignty)
Chopping wood, carrying water (next right, healing steps)
Pulling toward (finding what you love to do…and pulling towards it)
Getting support (including by choosing your “advertising” when it comes to people and messages…both in person and online)
And, as you likely gathered, these steps and circles apply to patterns, habits and addictions of all sorts, not just relating to food.
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Here’s to your next healing step.