It's hard to admit openly with people who have never gone without that you struggled to eat in certain periods of your life because there was nothing to eat. And bringing up the conversation could only happen when I trusted the person(s). So my feeling around food for many years was strained.
In some of those tough periods I would drink the pickle juice from the empty pickle container in the fridge to satiate myself or I would put the salty meat rub into my palm to slowly lick the crystals up to fend off the feeling of my hunger. It was never a happy time or place then and it breaks my heart to re-live it in my head but I think it shows a creativity to survive. These periods were thankfully never too long.
My single mother did her best with us. And you can imagine someone putting themselves through school and trying to maintain a home where there were three of us behind her (before my sister came to join us) and doing the work of two.
I am so grateful she held on to us and showed spirit of life even in the hardest of times. We also found ways to ease her suffering as we knew no parent wants to do this to a child. Over the years, we would ask for credit at our local corner grocer. I mentioned him in a pervious article. He was a Korean man and I was, for a period, a pen-pal with his niece back in his homeland. He did what he could for us as he and my mother had a cordial relationship. I had a hard time having to go there for credit but we needed the help and being the eldest, I was put to the task when my mom couldn't do it.
I understand, so well, the dynamic of being poor and not having a lot in terms of feeling hungry and feeling full of fear about what will happen next. I remember when in school at UMD learning about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and completely realizing where I was on that chart. I had spent up until that period in 2008 always in that state of fear in the bottom row of his chart with safety. But from 2008 and on I was pushing up into the top four as I was feeling safe, loved, I felt good about going to school and running marathons and doing yoga and I felt I was starting to realize myself on another level unlike any other period of my life. A spiritual awakening.
But when I get stressed sometimes, even now, I can easily drop all the way back down into the first part of the chart and feel scared. It's less and less of a plunge than a remembering these days now.
And I know that I am not alone when it comes to feeling safe whether you've experienced something similar to me or you had access to more food, stability or whatever you want to label it. During our lives, we have experienced our own great losses and our own feelings of instability, uncertainty and free-falling. I think overall, we don't learn the proper tools to handle life stresses well or the tips and tools are not as readily available as say junk food, alcohol and shopping are. So for many people, food becomes something strained. The path for each of us will always be different but we can work to make our lives more meaningful and full by committing and connecting to people and relationships. And at the same time learn how to really take care of ourselves. Putting yourself as accountable to someone allows you show up for them and YOU.
Most of you know my struggles and the pains and sufferings I have felt either in my writing or when attending my classes and workshops - I can be VERY open. I share as a way to help to heal my own wounds but to also let you see how vulnerable we need to be in order for us to fully heal. You SEEING me gives you more trust to open up yourself. And when you do open up, another person sees your vulnerability and the chain of open-heartedness keeps going down the line. It's like magic!
Last week I spent a week at the Raw Foods Institute learning everything I could about preparing raw foods BUT I received so much more. People came with tumors and cancer and wanting to lose weight and wanting to be free from the shackles they feel they are tied down with. I was inspired by the resilience and strength of all of the participants , staff and of Lisa Wilson the founder of RFI.
And over the course of the summer and into the fall I will be sharing more about what I learned and how to heal yourself with food. I also will be incorporating my national and international yoga retreats with some emphasis around eating well and EASY food prep.
In that short period last week I became even more in love with my own history. It is so unique and all of the hardships created who I am today. They have become true blessings. And me not sharing what I know and have learned in my life would be doing a disservice to you and to wo/mankind.
There is nothing like feeling completely nourished by what life has on offer. AND WHAT YOU CAN CREATE BY SHOWING UP!
Do not give up. Love your life for what it is. And use your pain to help heal you.
P.S. I will launch a full program of health coaching for clients wanting support to strengthen their health and life in mid-September. I will update my website to reflect the packages on offer quite soon so you can shop and share with your loved ones. We can communicate about what you are looking support for. WOOT!