Thoughts on #intuition #meditation #mindfulness #mindfuleating #intuitiveeating #solotravel
First off, I would like to apologize for my absence. As some of you know, I have been on sabbatical this year.
I packed my carry on suitcase and left the good ol’ US of A in January to travel to 7 countries in 5 months. My incredible solo journey took me to: Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.
Now that I’m back, I’m excited to share some insights and lessons learned along the way.
As the title of this blog states, “ Wherever You Go, There You Are.” This quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn captures the notion that we can’t hide or run from ourselves no matter how hard we try; that all of our “stuff,” or “baggage” will also check themselves onto our flight. Even if that flight is destined to some island paradise.
When I decided to take a sabbatical, I knew I wanted to travel alone, and I also knew I did not want to do a lot of planning. This was quite intentional because in my default life, I am very much the planning type. With that, I wanted to challenge myself to sit with the uncertainty of not knowing where and how and what was going to happen next.
At times, this felt quite uncomfortable and I sat with a good deal of anxiety at times, but somewhere, somehow along the way, I surrendered. I gave in to really listening and trusting my inner guidance system- my intuition. Traveling alone forced me to rely on trusting my intuition and my intuition became my greatest ally in guiding and protecting me along my journey.
But, here’s the thing. You don’t need to quit your job and travel alone like I did to find your intuition. I do however, highly recommend it! But, seriously, you can re-connect to yourself anytime, anywhere. Your intuition follows you wherever you go. That's the good, and bad news!
If you are new to the practice of intuitive eating/mindful eating, you will know that ONLY YOU can hear your voice, your signals of hunger and fullness. And, only when you are still enough can you access that wisdom. Too many distractions in your life can pull you away from your inner compass, and this can lead to feeling lost or confused- especially as it relates to mindful eating.
About two months into my travels, I decided to attend a silent meditation retreat in Bali. The first rule was no talking. And, there was no cell service. This experience allowed me to deeply drop in so that I could explore areas of my psyche that needed my loving attention.
What I came to learn from a week of silence is that when we are surrounded by almost absolute stillness, our intuition has the chance to come out and play. And, it plays pretty hard when given the chance. This prolonged period of silence really helped my intuition to grow stronger, sharper and louder.
One of the things I most loved about this experience was its emphasis on Mindful Eating.
At this retreat we ate all our meals in silence- without the distraction of noise from television, music, people talking, cell phones, reading etc.
At first this was a little awkward, and I noticed my habitual pattern of wanting to distract myself. I wanted to read and eat. I wanted to let my mind wander instead of fully being present with the food. There was something inherently uncomfortable about the silence.
After a few silent meals however, it did get easier. And now, months later, I actually prefer to eat with very little to no distractions. With the exception of social eating.
As with any new behavior we are attempting to learn or change, we will eventually be successful with practice, patience and kindness. The same is true as you un-learn old patterns of relating to yourself and begin to apply new skills with mindful eating.
Practice, patience and kindness.
There are several principals to mindful eating. Here are a few of the basics to start with:
1. Eat while sitting down
2. Eat without distraction
3. Eat what you most want, and without judgment
For many, eating without distraction is one of the more challenging behaviors when learning mindful eating.
So, try this…
The next time you eat, stop and check in to see if or how you might be distracting yourself from eating.
Please try to do this without being too hard on yourself. Just begin to notice where your attention drifts to, and then gently bring yourself back.
- When you sit down to eat (first off- please sit down when you eat), just check in to see if your mind wanders somewhere. Get curious. The wandering mind is often a great distraction.
- Do you want to grab your phone? Do you want to turn on the TV? Is the TV already on? Is loud music on? Are you eating with a partner or friend? Is there a way you can minimize distractions and just focus on EATING.
- What does the food taste like when you eat without distractions? What does the food taste like while distracted?
If you are new to mindful eating, this principal can be excruciating difficult. So, again, just notice the part of you that wants to distract. And, as soon as you notice, you can bring your attention and awareness gently back to your plate, to your body, to you breath, to the tastes and experience of the meal.
Remember that learning how to eat more mindfully is a practice and with repetition does get easier as your muscle of tolerating silence and less distractions gets stronger.
As always, be patient and be nice to yourself!
Lastly, I will leave you with some nuggets-o-wisdom shared from power of positivity from the Bali Silent medition retreat (posted on the wall in the common kitchen area); Enjoy.
- Always, always, always be thankful.
- Sometimes silence is better than being right.
- Love is not what you say. Love is what you do.
- Let go of what's gone, but keep the lesson going.
- If it's what you love, never give up. Keep going…
- Don't let others steal your peace.
- Be patient. Things will get better.
- Integrity is everything!
- It's OK to be afraid, but don't let fear stop you.
- Live in the moment, but look forward to what is coming next.
Please share this with a friend or loved one who might benefit from our mindful eating/mindful nutrition community. Thank you!
We can save the world, one bite at a time.
Much love, light and good food,