Truth No. 3 – Eating for comfort

When I write, it’s usually in a cafe with a coffee by my side, sometimes it’s at home in the early evening with a glass of wine and a snack. Always it’s with pleasure. Pleasure in my surroundings, pleasure filling the blank page, pleasure sipping my chosen drink and eating my chosen snack.

I write mindfully, in the moment, aware of my feelings and emotions. The words may flow and I flow with them, but I observe myself as I am writing; where my thoughts go, what I am experiencing in my body and what I am feeling. I am aware as I take my sips of coffee or wine and eat my snack,

I am aware of me. I know myself and it fuels my writing.

It hasn’t always been this way. Emotional intelligence and self awareness developed later in life for me, only when my mother passed away in 2007 and I was able to move away from her shadow.

Lisa stepped inside the pantry and closed the door behind her. It was gloomy and smelt of grannie’s coconut cake. She reached for the tin and cradling it in her arms knelt down on the floor. She prised open the lid, peered inside and with her fingers and thumb picked off a bit of cake and put it in her mouth. It was still warm. The moist, sweet sponge melted on her tongue. Licking her fingers, she pulled another bit off and then another bit, bigger this time and then another bit more and more. Lisa  forgot to swallow, her cheeks bulged with deliciousness. Hmmmmmm … patting the side of the cake, smoothing it over, Lisa closed the lid. She stood up. What next? As she hooked her finger into her mouth, gouging out the stickiness from behind her teeth, she looked around. Sugar puffs. She reached for the box, pushed her hand in and, grabbed a handful, stuffing the honeyed loveliness into her mouth. Hmmmmmm … she breathed a silent sigh and dived into the box again and then again. One more time. One more time.  

This was me sneaking into the pantry and gobbling whatever I could find, sticking my fingers into jars (peanut butter a firm favourite), my hands into cereal boxes and peeling open blocks of jelly.  I had no idea I was eating to fill the void, seeking comfort, looking for the love and security I craved from my mother.

Much later, in my twenties, thirties and forties I ate for punishment as often as I ate for comfort. Rarely did I eat for pleasure. Was I aware of this? No, of course not.

The ancient Greek aphorism ‘Know Thyself’ was later expanded upon by the philosopher  Socrates who taught that the “unexamined life is not worth living”. Today we understand the process of examining our lives as moving towards “Self actualisation”. To self-actualise, we strive to expand our horizons as a human beings. To achieve success (being the best that we can be), we must always seek it. The potential to self-actualise lies within us all.

Take the journey. Become self aware and discover the real you.

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