The holiday/end-of-year season can be fraught with so much, including extra temptation for those of us with an unwanted overeating habit. Here then are three tips for navigating this time of year, including remembering your innate peace and how it is always with you.
- On remembering that you are never broken, even when overeating
- Remembering that whatever you’re experiencing is temporary
- How peace is always available in any moment
- On our feelings, including cravings, being a perfect feedback system
Transcript of episode
Hello explorers, and welcome to Q&A episode 43 of Unbroken.
The subject today is, how can I be at peace with food during the holidays?
As I record this, it’s early December, and this will be going out on December 11. And of course, we’re moving into holiday season and whatever way you celebrate – and maybe you don’t, and that can sometimes be a challenge as well – what I wanted to talk about, what I wanted to give you today is three tips for being at peace with food during the holidays.
The first tip is to remember that you are not broken.
So even when you’re feeling an urge to reach for that second piece of pie, or second helping of mashed potatoes, or whatever it is, whatever your favorite food is, if you’re feeling tempted by things or challenged by having a lot of food around, the best thing you can do for yourself in those moments, if you can, is to remember that you’re not broken, that there’s nothing wrong with you.
The urge that you’re feeling to overindulge is pointing directly toward your innate well-being and your perfect design, and perfectly kind design.
And the reason for that is, is that the desire to reach for food, or whatever it is, it can be anything to comfort ourselves is, is pointing directly at the fact that we’re always searching for a good feeling. Because that’s what we’re made of. Because that’s our baseline way of being, that’s our innate state. When we’re not feeling that way, the desire to get back there to what Amy Johnson calls home base is, is really strong.
And the way that we do that, and it’s an artificial way but it’s the best way we know in the moment is to reach for things that give us that feeling. So the desire that you might have, at the holiday time to have a second piece of pie, or to have a few too many chocolates or whatever it is, the best thing you can do for yourself is to remember that that’s not pointing toward some sort of brokenness within you.
You’re not flawed. There’s nothing wrong with you at all.
It’s actually pointing out that you are perfectly well and perfectly whole, it’s a sign of your well-being that you’re doing that. So that’s the first thing to remember you are made of a good feeling. And you are made of well being and peace. And any time we reach for some sort of substance, and it feels like we’re over indulging in that that means that we’re trying to have that good feeling. So that’s the first tip to remember that you are not broken. In fact, you are working in perfectly well you are in perfect working order.
The second tip I want to give you is that every storm runs out of rain.
That’s a quote from Maya Angelou and it’s one of my favorites. As we move into this holiday season, and emotions are running high, sometimes there can be a lot of pressure, there can be more activity in your life, more people, maybe more stuff going on. And if you get caught up in indulging your overeating habit, it can feel like it’s never going to end. And so the second tip I have is just to remind yourself, if you can, every once in a while, it is going to end everything is temporary.
That’s true in a macro sense, in the sense that of course the holiday seasons will end we will come into the new year and it will be it will be different. Things will go back to normal, whatever that means for you and this season will come to an end.
It’s also true on a micro sense. Whatever we’re feeling, whatever we’re experiencing, whatever emotion and thinking that sort of combination is moving through us, in any given moment, that too, will end.
So if you’re feeling stressed in any given moment that feeling will rise up within you and it too, will move on.
When we understand that, that’s the nature of our thinking, and our experience of life, that these things rise up within us, and then they move on, that it’s a continually flowing river, of experience of life coming to life within us, then we don’t have to hold on so tightly, to anything that’s happened happening in a given moment. Because that given moment, that experience in that moment, isn’t the whole truth about you, it isn’t the whole truth about life or about the world. It’s a moment, and it will move on.
And like I say, the less we hold tightly onto those things and make them turn them into a big problem, the more easily they can move on, and the river can continue flowing through us. And along with this, too, I want to say that if things are feeling stormy, within you, I just want you to remember, this is kind of a bonus tip, I guess for tip number two is:
Peace is available in any given moment.
We can be feeling really stormy and churned up and having a lot of feelings about whatever’s going on and being grumpy or unhappy, or whatever it is. And peace is always available in any given moment. Knowing that isn’t necessarily enough to make it happen. But knowing that that’s available to us, and is an option, that peace of mind is as close as the next thought, or the next insight that you have, it helps us to relax into the moment whatever’s happening. Because we know that it’s not the entire truth. So that’s tip number two, just if you can to remember that every storm runs out of rain, every feeling will move on through us in the river of life and the river of feelings that we’re experiencing.
Tip number three is that if you can just remember that our feelings are always giving us feedback about our state of thinking.
And this is true, no matter what we’re feeling, and no matter what we’re thinking, and especially at the holidays. They it can be a really charged time. Like I said a little earlier, there can just be so much going on. And there can be a lot of pressure. And I think too, we have a lot of thinking about this holiday season. And it’s in the media all the time. There are articles about people feeling pressure, and all that kind of thing.
And we can also have a lot of associations from the past. It’s just one of those times of yearthat seems to have a lot of connection to it, in terms of our emotional experience of what’s going on. And we tend to give it a lot of meaning when we think about it, really, Christmas Day is just another day.
Whatever way that you celebrate in your spiritual tradition, Hanukkah is just another few days. These days have been marked off in the calendar. I tend to think of when I’m feeling a little fraught about the holidays, I tend to think about animals actually, in the wild. We have where I live there are sea lions in the inlet. And there are deer around town and bears occasionally and cougars and stuff. To them one day is just the same as the other.
It’s really our human thinking or human construct that has given meaning to any given day, during the year.
And now of course there’s an upside to that. There’s the nice parts of the holidays, the celebrations and the getting together with family and seeing people maybe that you haven’t seen in quite a while and doing special things. So there is there is a real positive aspect to the holidays. And also like I’ve said they can have a bit of pressure attached to them, they can have some emotional charge because of things that have happened in the past.
I just want you to remember that, if you’re reaching for food at this time of year, that’s perfectly natural.
That desire is giving you feedback about your thinking in the moment. So if you notice yourself, feeling like you’re reaching for food a lot, rather than beating yourself up about that, or thinking that it’s a problem, one thing you could do is just remember that that’s the natural feedback system that is in place within you. It’s part of your perfect design, like we talked about earlier, it’s letting you know that your thinking is really busy and churned up. And that kind of insecure, busy thinking is taking you away from your natural state of peace and calm.
When you see that, I hope that remembering that just allows you to ease up on yourself a little bit. And maybe not lean into the tendency to beat yourself up about what you’re eating, and what’s going on with you around food, that it is always this perfect system that gives you feedback, and lets you know what’s really going on with you. So that’s tip number three, your feelings are always giving you feedback about your state of mind.
I want to give a little bonus tip about this as well.
Simply understanding these things isn’t necessarily going to shift anything right in that very moment.
But staying in this conversation, and continuing to explore, as I always say, what this Three Principles understanding is pointing toward, that is the thing that is going to create change in your life. And it’s important to know, so the metaphor I want to use is that if you go outside and you start getting wet, and after a second you realize, oh, it’s raining.
Just knowing that it’s raining in that moment doesn’t make the rain stop.
So given that I’ve given you these tips, these three tips for helping you to understand what’s going on with you during the holidays and feel more peace with food. Just knowing them isn’t enough usually, to create a whole bunch of dramatic change in the next 10 days.
I’m not saying this to try to be discouraging. What I’m actually doing is saying it so that you don’t create an expectation.
People come to me and say well, I know it’s my thinking, so why can’t I stop?
Knowing it’s our thinking isn’t enough to create that kind of change. Change always comes via insight. And like I said, you might have a big insight during the holidays, and see something new and fresh in what’s going on and deepen your awareness of how these things work, which is fantastic. And I’m thrilled for you if that’s the case.
And like I said, we can always know that we’re just one moment away from a new insight, from seeing something in a fresh way. And this may not be the time of year to expect yourself to, to encounter a big shift or a big change. You’re doing the very best you can. And just by listening to this podcast, you’re doing something for yourself to expand your understanding. And I think that’s great.
So those are my three tips and a bonus tip about finding peace with food during the holidays. I hope you found that helpful. And of course these tips are helpful at any time of year, so if you’re not listening to this in December 2023, if you’re listening to it some other time, that’s fine too. It always applies.
So that’s it for me here today. I hope you are doing well and taking good care and I will talk to you again next week. Bye.