I am grateful for craving and its deeper parent emotion – longing.
For the last 30 days, I have cut out food that could be inflammatory to my system: sugar, caffeine, alcohol, grains, dairy, nuts, legumes, eggs, nightshade vegetables, and most fruits. I lived on herbal teas then decaf coffee, kale citrus juices, meat, fish, fresh greens, and root vegetables with avocado oil potato chips as a treat. (I did have one cheat when I had a croissant at the Baby Show. It was a conscious choice because I wanted to show appreciation for my friend’s Angela’s generosity at supplying these gourmet goodies for those of us who helped. I didn’t feel guilty and it wasn’t hard to return to my eating regimen.)
The first week was difficult. I had headaches and my energy was low. I craved every single thing I couldn’t have every moment. My body was aching for a cup of coffee and a small piece of chocolate. My mind started to talk me out of this endeavour. It said things like I didn’t have to do this because this was really just to support my husband and his goals so I could sneak a little something. It said that life was too short to deprive myself of yummy food. I doubted my will. But my resolve strengthened when I tuned into what I was really hearing from my thoughts: I needed to eat certain foods to be happy.
Could I be happy during this month? Could I see this as another part of my journey into self and a way to become aware of my attachments as opposed to a dietary challenge and an act of deprivation? Could this be an opportunity to fill myself with other types of nourishment? What if this wasn’t starving myself off of food but a way to commit to feeding my soul?
It became easier as the month progressed and as I informed all the people around me of what is going on. Both my husband and I made it clear to our children that we were doing this to clean our bellies out. My children understood all too well what life was like when Mama’s pancreas became inflamed – chaos and uncertainty. They ate what we ate and added grains and all fruits and vegetables to their meals. They tried the camel, ostrich, emu, and wild boar that my husband made into hamburger patties for breakfast. We had discussions about conscious eating. The important thing was to be aware of what you were putting into your body and how it made you feel.
Whenever the cravings became strong, I focused on gratitude. I sat with what I was feeling and I went to my Book of Hours and would lose myself in a quote and a drawing. I would move through the moment completely aware of what was going on inside. Sometimes a glass of water would be what I needed. Sometimes a walk. Sometimes a sun salutation. I became more and more mindful of my actions and my thoughts this month. The cravings became a reminder to stop and listen and go inside that instant.
Longings can be beautiful reminders of the present and a doorway into gratitude if you don’t cling to whether or not your longing may be fulfilled. My husband has been away for four days and his absence allows a space for this longing. He comes home tonight but I can enjoy this moment of anticipation and urgency to see him again. At dinner, I will indulge in every food on the Thanksgiving table, savouring every bite – a fleeting delight for my senses, and grateful for being satisfied with it all.
42 days of gratitude…giving thanks to it ALL.