Today, in Part Two, we are focusing on the signs and symptoms of inadequate soul demonstrated in eating. (You find Part One on Structure here)
When we say something like “she’s got soul,” we know what we mean. In some ways we’re saying, although indirectly, she’s got substance, there’s depth there, there’s feeling there, this is a flesh and blood woman right here in front of me.
Soul has much to do with your time here on earth. It includes your biography, your wounds, your heart’s longing, your physicality, your sexuality, what you like and dislike, vocation, and anything else that influences your time here in this lifetime.
As I’ve learned it through the likes of C. G. Jung, Rita Navarette, C. Michael Smith, Thomas Moore, Marc David, Marion Woodman and others, when we don’t acknowledge and tend to our soul life, soul will find its’ way to us.
Say a couple times a week you go on a sugar bender or drink too much wine and feel terrible the next day. Instead of being too quick to sort this out as bad behavior that needs correcting, it’s still useful to see “soul presenting” here.
Something is percolating under the surface.
Soul seems to present itself more in our problems, inner conflicts, losses, depressions, fantasies, and emotions, than our greatest accomplishments or highest ideals.
Consider, when you act out a familiar pattern, when you self abandon, when you feel obsessed over a person or physical possession you want to acquire, when you restrict food or over-indulge….
…what might the soul expressing here?
Since I’ve worked with many people around their eating, I’ll give you an example from a handful of years ago:
One client, who I’ll call Nancy, was either counting calories or watching carbs or both, meticulously. When she found herself still hungry after her allocated meal portions during the week, she felt anxious. Any time a social engagement with food came up on the weekend, more anxiety. In both cases, she buckled and gave in to many of the foods, drinks, and portion sizes she was trying to avoid. She absolutely HATED that this kept happening. To Nancy, overeating carbs and drinking was the problem. Cutting them out again was the solution.
Taking a larger perspective it seemed like Nancy wanted a way of eating that was absolutely devoid of soulfulness. No nuances, no fluctuations, no emotions or feelings, no appetites, and no nutrient-deficient substances allowed. Only predictable, pre-measured ways of eating were welcome.
For health-conscious, diet-conscious people who feel attached to nutritional ideals, some version of this story might feel familiar, yet may present differently.
Here are other signs that eating may be a bit soul-deficient.
Eating Quiz: Do you need more soul tending?
Always deny certain favorite foods due to their lack of nutritional value?
Binge eat off-limit foods for a period of time, to “get it out of your system?”
Eat quickly much of the time, even without actual time restrictions?
Find it difficult to just be, and eat?
Fear or judge your own pleasure or fear or judge others indulging in it?
Feel aggravation for having to live in a physical body that is wired for eating and sex and other earth-bound things?
Have a past experience of having eaten in a relaxed manner while on vacation and noticing how nourishing this felt, and how different than everyday life?
Believe following the rules is the only way to eat successfully?
Have unwanted habits with eating?
Feel disconnected from body signals and body feeling?
Tend to notice controlling eating or indulging in eating is a distracting drama in your life?
Have no value or context for struggling or pain around food?
Feel attached to doing the “healthiest” thing?
We are human beings.
This means that each of us will be impacted by this human life, by interactions from the day, by possible triggers, by loneliness and joy, by inner conflict, and then, at least a few times a day, you’ll eat, and some cocktail combination of the aforementioned might be with you.
A Soulful Approach
Our friend Nancy was bypassing soul through her focus on a troubling symptom. In a way it seemed there was no room to be human or okay with deeper feelings. When we stayed with the problem, overeating and over-drinking, we found a woman who was fearful of the unpredictably of change (in her body and in her life) and pleasure (and what would happen if she really let herself explore it).
Within the problem there was also an invitation – to learn to be in relationship WITH her body and her inner world, rather than attempting to gain control OVER it.
Over the course of several months, and through specific practices and assignments, Nancy learned to eat in a more integrated way. It wasn’t either “all right” or “all wrong. ” We explored this in a variety of ways, through conversation within sessions and “field work” in between sessions. The most fruitful part was taking a deeper look what all this work pointed to in her self development – who was she when she was at her most natural?
Can you feel how big this can be?
With love and respect,
Would you like to connect? Reach out HERE.