My Soul's Cookbook

How many of us struggle with our relationship with food?  We are told that obesity is a major health issue in the USA.  Of course there are many reasons for this, but how can we address the emotional component of this love/hate relationship we have with food and our bodies?
Food, love, mother, and nurturing weave together to create a nest in our hearts. The comfort and security of home are invoked by certain smells, tastes, textures and the combination of these that occurs when we are eating dishes that brought us happiness as children. Ask ten people what they would want for their last meal on Earth, and you would  likely get ten different answers.  Most would  choose foods that evoke a memory of feeling at home.   I have many inner children.  These are the Committee members that show up in my SoulCollage(R) deck , or the ones that show up in non-dominant hand drawings for example.  Several years ago, I had the idea of asking each of my  inner children (those for whom I had created a SoulCollage(R) card) what they like to eat.  This began an ongoing project of creating my Soul’s Cookbook out of an actual vintage cookbook.  I painted and collaged the cover (see image).  I allowed the younger parts of me to cut out images of favorite foods from vintage magazines and let each of them direct me as I glued and painted on the pages of the old book.  So far, my cookbook features lots of cookies, cakes, peanut butter and jelly, pancakes…all things I no longer allow myself to eat!  Choosing, cutting and pasting the images of these favorites  is fun and satisfying. I can feel  those yearnings that live within me  and I sense that they are honored when I create a page for them in my book.  It is almost as good as eating the forbidden foods…the cravings are awakened, but also fulfilled.  I remember where I was, who I was with, and how old I was when these tastes and smells brought me happiness and so a deep memory is felt and sensed.  (See Marcel Proust’s immortal memories evoked by madeleines in “Remembrance of Things Past“)
This altered book project is ongoing.  I will be sharing the pages, and some recipes, in future blog posts.  Hopefully, you will be inspired to try it!

The One Who Doesn't Trust Me

Even though I am loving creating this safe inner hearth for my Self, I sense that some parts of me are saying “Not so fast!” I feel the resistance in my neck.  It is stiff, knotted, and relentlessly reminding me that I am not so comfortable. Is there anger in there?  You bethca.  I think it is coming from the part of me I call, “my reptilian brain”.  She protects me from being vulnerable, open, and loving toward anyone, including and especially my Self.  She is all about survival and safety.  She says:  “I am one who guards you against any feelings of “softness” or “warmth”.  I am here to keep you strong, stoic, and on alert.  You willl not survive if you allow your self to relax into a goopy state of lethargy. You must be ready for fight or flight at a moment’s notice. ”  I don’t like this idea of becoming “comfortable” with your body.  You must maintain discipline and awareness of all that goes on outside of you.  What your body needs is protection on the outside, and toughness on the inside.
Whew! She is tough, and will not just “go away”.  How can I help her get on board with my quest?

My Quest to Create a Home for my Soul on Earth

Like many of you, I have spent most of my life at war with my body.  I didn’t like it.  It seemed to make me a target as a child: for teasing, for abuse, for criticism from “well meaning” adults and from myself.  I remember being 8 years old, sitting next to my mother in our Oldsmobile, and showing her how I wanted to cut off the fat from my belly.  I can clearly see myself gathering the extra layer of skin with my fingers, holding it tightly and wishing I could just take a pair of scissors and cut it.  I think my mother said something like, “wouldn’t that be nice”….This war escalated during adolescence, when I tried starving myself, which lead to binge eating, and to extreme disgust with this out of control thing that seemed to determine my ability to be loved and accepted by others.  In adulthood, my body has served me by giving birth to two healthy children and by remaining healthy and able to perform all that I ask of it.  Still, I have continued to exercise, diet, and push my body in an effort to look and feel lovable….
Some part of me, living down in the first or second chakra, knows that I am ready to really, truly, learn to live in my precious body:   The place where all of my memories are stored as energy.  The place where my vitality lives.  I couldn’t write, think, move, or breathe without this amazingly efficient place that my soul calls home on Earth.
My body deserves love from me.  I know this.  My body needs to be accepted, felt, seen, and even celebrated.  My body has been through hell, and she has survived and served me for over 50 years.  It is time for me to take the journey inward, into her.  How can I do this?? This blog is the beginning step of my quest.  I intend to experiment with ways to create a comfortable home within that I will not feel like leaving.  A home within that soothes and renews my entire being.  My body, my home, my friend: I pledge to take a step toward you each day.  I will share my creative experiments on this blog…and I invite anyone who would like to join me, to feel free to try these ideas along with me.  Let’s see if we can find our way together.  This could be fun!