I decided this weekend to enjoy a wonderful cup of tea at an outdoor cafe in Ballard. As I sat enjoying each sip, I watched the colorfully dressed people walking while texting on their smartphones, completely immersed and oblivious to their surroundings. I wondered how they could coordinate walking and texting without tripping on the weathered sidewalks. Was this being “mind – full”? Which brings me to my next story.
As I drove home, I stopped momentarily at a light and observed an incident which left an indelible memory about true mindful practice. I watched a blind woman walk on a broken sidewalk with her guide dog at her side. I noticed the blind woman was about to trip over a six inch raised surface on one side of the sidewalk. I realized that I had moments to warn her. But in seconds, her faithful old guide dog stepped in and assuredly pushed her body over to a place of safety. It occurred to me the dog was being present and mindful of each step.
The example of the watchful dog protecting the blind woman holds a powerful message for us. Rather than texting or being distracted from what’s around us while walking, the dog was watchful and present, protecting what was valuable. The aging dog was faithful to his task at hand, without being distracted by extraneous stress that is the product of our fears. Irene Claremont de Castillejo said that emotion always has its roots in the unconscious and manifests itself in the body.
So how does this relate to our ability to transform our relationship with food? We can begin to deliberately listen to what our true needs are, and find new ways to fulfill them. Our relationship with food is an extension of how we live our lives. Yet, when we get stuck in impulsive eating patterns, we can instead become more watchful with our inner guide like the helpful, loving dog.
In my last blog, I wrote about ways to move beyond our eating patterns that have become “ritual-habitual” or “unconscious food habits” in response to stress and anxiety. As we deepen our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with our food, we start by paying attention to what we are feeling.
At Nova Wellness Counseling in Shoreline, together we explore ways to transform self-blame and judgment into self-compassion and self-discovery. Build your self-esteem and know yourself. Be mindful and compassionate. Start by learning to prioritize the most important area of your life: taking care of yourself.