On Healing the Split
Updated: Oct 1, 2022
There you are eating “clean” by day, and stuffing the body with food by night.
Or perhaps you live out the “clean” side for weeks or months, then you flip to the other side for a while.
Or you’ve got it together most of the day, then at 4pm you’re a different person. You’re off the plan.
The assumption is that severing off the bad habits via a new diet, a new gym, a new resolution, etc will finally rid you of your troubles. The problem is, in many cases, it doesn’t work.
The “fix it,” clean-it-up, look good, be your “best self” attitude, from a polytheistic perspective, pays homage to only one god. Like any one-sided position, what’s often left in exile doesn’t simply go away, but gains energy and finds it’s way to us sideways or from the bottom up.
Embodying health, and wholeness specifically, calls us to bring our awareness to the periphery, the sidelines, the underrepresented.
Jungian analyst, Marion Woodman, often wrote that the issues we’re facing today with eating and the body are the feminine form of God, Sofia, making Herself known….in painful ways, but ways that get our attention nonetheless. Eating disorders still run rampant and disordered eating plagues many without clinical eating disorders that are simply trying to "be healthy." Jung and Hillman have said, the gods now come to us in the form of disease.
Here we’ve got some very wise people drawing attention beyond the surface of things, to our "multiple" nature and the consequences of ignoring this complexity. They’re not racing on buckled knees to get us fixed or cured, but offering a type of attentiveness and sensitivity to the many side(s) that influence us, within and without.
Many worthwhile invitations come to us through our peculiar and unwanted eating habits if we are willing to wake up a bit around it.
Are we even listening?
Many women have so deeply internalized an inner patriarch that has contributed to an ongoing and unexamined split between the mind and the body. We say: “I’ll control this body.” And then something in the body says “I don’t WANT to be controlled.” You know what I’m talking about. (Obviously this does not just affect women). Have we ever bothered to ask WHO it is in us that wants to control and WHO in us doesn’t want to be controlled. What does each side want? What is each side trying to protect and advocate for? These questions take us farther than the dead-end and toxic, "What's wrong with me?" which has no capacity to shed light, only to amplify shame and control.
You might consider that the future of eating does not lie in excessive control, but relationship. I know I risk a few eyes rolls on that one, but it’s true. This is what most women want anyways; To have a better RELATIONSHIP with food, with their body, with themselves.
The irony is, the more a woman can drop below her neck, the place she’d rather not go, and learn that it is safe and fruitful to do so and learn that (unlike what so much conventional thinking led her to believe) her body will not betray her, she is actually well on her way to the type of eating that she was striving for so long. I know. I’ve seen it happen. The worst fears do not come true. I’m not saying you won’t ever get sick or run into a strange eating habit or experience a weight fluctuation. I’m saying in a simple way, that the inner work you do around your eating, body, feelings etc. could bring you to a moment where all the interesting food is around and you find you could take it or leave it. Or you’re in some other similar situation. But the energy has dissipated. You have more of a choice in the matter either way. It seems simple, but for some, a life changing moment. You are not overrun by the mind with all of its lofty ideals toward perfection or completely blended with animal impulses to devour.
You've worked those energies and stand in the center.
This is grown-up stuff as far as eating goes.