This was the second Nu-Lax wrapper I’d found desperately shoved into the side of the pantry like the chocolate wrappers and empty chip packets crammed into the door of her car and handbag.
That handbag was literally bursting at the seams, a poignant metaphor for the way she treated her body and lugged it around.
Overstuffed. Overtired. Overwhelmed.
A telltale sign of truth bubbling below the surface ready to erupt.
A secret fear of being unloved and alone saw her tighten her grip on everything and everyone around her.
Clothes never worn and sizes too small hung in her closet. I’ll get into them one day. Supermarket receipts and expired vouchers squashed desperately into her wallet. But I might need them. A strained marriage that had past its expiry date. It’ll be better once I lose weight.
Excess weight was her security blanket, the subcutaneous suit of armour protecting her scared heart from the things she craved most.
Easy love. Validation. Sanctuary. Belonging.
She wore her baggage on the outside. It slowed her down, tired her out and kept her stuck. The perfect alibi for a sad, heavy and stagnant existence.
Sometimes we hold on for way too long: to excuses, friendships, marriages, jobs, habits, beliefs and stuff. Despite the niggling inner pleas we stay when we know we should go. Eat our words. Choke back anger. Pile more onto already full plates. Stuff our feelings down. Suppress our desire for change and feed fear. We think we’re thriving in the false sense of security we’ve built out of things and people that make us comfortably numb.
Habitually we choose familiarity over freeing ourselves.
Nothing changes if nothing changes
It’s startling that so many of us are blissfully unaware of the symbiotic link between our inner and outer worlds. We’re blind to the logic that our external circumstances reflect our internal state, that we’re walking gold mines, but instead of turning inward to fossick for answers we fall on familiar people, familiar food and familiar surroundings.
Often we prefer to bounce right back to into old habits while hoping for a different outcome and claiming to be clueless when we realise we’re back where we began.
Here’s the thing: Nothing changes if nothing changes.
Our environments and how we behave within them tip us off to what’s really taking place behind our mental curtains.
I’ve seen walk in pantries so full you barely can walk in, bulging deep freezers and wardrobes filled with outfits that don’t fit but remind us of times when we felt good. All tangible testimonies to the thought patterns of the person creating them.
We’re over-consuming to compensate for what we know will bring fulfilment but we’re too fearful to strive for. Staying stuck beats committing to the internal shift required and holding onto things makes our repressed emotions tactile. They form the perfect scapegoat to pin our excuses to, so we keep collecting.
Louise Hay made the insightful suggestion that all dis-eases stem from emotions being imbalanced. This ideal has since been echoed many times by mind-body researchers and free thinkers and proven by people who’ve put in the work.
As easily dismissed as this theory is consider this: just because you can’t see stress doesn’t mean it’s not causing the internal chaos that leads to many of the dis-eases that kill us. We’re swift to judge the simplicity of the solutions for issues we claim are plaguing us.
Why? Could it be that we prefer the mountain to the molehill? Perhaps the events we’re manifesting in our lives: relationship breakdowns, familial drama etc serve as a convenient distraction from dwells beneath the surface asking to be seen and released.
I’ve had clients look at me dumbfounded when I start a session asking them to talk about how they feel about their bodies without justifying why they feel that way. Even more so when I ask them to talk about what they can do to feel the way the want.
And I do it because here’s what I know to be true:
Tell yourself you look like a whale in that dress, regardless of your size, and you’ll never look in the mirror with profound respect for the vessel that keeps you alive.
Berate yourself for the size of your legs and of course you’ll struggle to appreciate the way they’re always carrying you forward despite your disgust at the sight of them.
Pinch the soft skin of your stomach while declaring you’ll never wear a bikini and you’ll never fully appreciate the vastness and power of your inner intelligence.
Emotions as food cravings
Buried emotions come to the surface in the form of food cravings. One by one they move forward into the light, asking kindly for our attention so they can move on. The more intense the emotion, the more hell bent the craving feels. Food transmits energy and mood-altering properties not unlike those found in drugs, and we abuse it to experience what we want to feel, albeit temporarily.
Distorted body image, weight issues and shattered self-esteem are a long time in the making. The inception of these mental hang-ups is at childhood and they’re often reinforced by our role models, the media, our peers and society.
Throw away comments about eating habits, snide remarks about size and subtle food based conversational undertones carry an energetic vibration that we pick up on and subconsciously store. The power those words wield hold us in their grips on many levels.
Making food choices and eating isn’t merely the act of choosing, chewing and swallowing. It is a complex journey that reaches right down into the concealed insecurities and as far back as your first memories of being fed.
Paradoxically, we need to unlearn all we’ve been taught to foster real change on our terms.
Reminder: we are all made of stars
Contrary to what the fitness and food industries tout, your body is not a mere sum of what you eat minus how much you sweat. Your bones carry the stories of your ancestors, your veins are brimming excitedly with untapped potential and your muscles hold precious memories of all the times you have done yourself proud.
Any barriers you feel are keeping you from reaching this sacred place within you are almost always a defence mechanism. The good news? You can always reconstruct as you please because this is your temple.
The mind-body connection is all-encompassing, endlessly fascinating and its significance for each of us is wildly undervalued. This post is a small intro to this incredibly powerful topic before I get into teaching how we can use our own inner connections and clues to clear the patterns that hold us back.
The areas I will explore are:
+ An overview on how our environments impact us.
+ Steps to whittle down your self talk, tease out sticking points and clear them up.
+ An accompaniment to The Alignment Project, we’ll talk about how using visualisation, changing your vocabulary, releasing toxic behaviours and committing to change influences everything!
Know what it’s going to take and decide that you’re worth the commitment.
I hope to see you there.
If this post struck a chord with you I’d be grateful to hear about it in the comments.