This week, while engrossed in a nutrition book, the notion of connection emerged and triggered some reflection. I began to think about what connection has come to mean for us today and of all of the ways that we can reclaim true connection.
Nowadays when we hear, “Are you connected?,” visions of LinkedIn, Facebook, cell phones, laptops, and emails swirl. And, yes, we are completely connected, all of the time. So much so that the idea of disconnecting conjures a scenario of turning off all of our devices and escaping into nature. Even detoxes and cleanses that are marketed for weight loss incorporate a suggestion to detach from social media, email, television, and cell phones. Could it be that the more connected we are to technology, the more internally disconnected and scattered we become?
I’d like to reframe this phrase and return to a place where “Are you connected?” meant something else, specifically, connection of body, mind, and spirit. Disconnection can occur on so many levels in our lives. Lately, I’ve found this disconnection revealed in conflict among our various parts and in how these parts choose food. I’ll also make a leap and suggest that when we lose sight of ourselves as one complete being, other parts of our life become fragmented too. As a whole, we are so much greater than the sum of our parts. The danger in dissection is that a hierarchy forms; one part of self becomes superior over another. The mind becomes the primary decision maker and aims to control the body and soul. When making food choices from an analytical, logical place, we tend to miss the whole point of nourishment. By being drawn to food simply for its protein content or avoiding food for its fat content, we lose sight of how food in its entirety and quality can nourish us and influence our feeling state. Or, when the mind selects food based upon what we think we should eat rather than listening to our intuition, a type of mind/body control emerges. The body becomes an object or nuisance, and this is where we can become restrictive with our food choices.
This dissection of mind/body/spirit can fuel emotional and stress eating as well. When we feel scattered or out of control, we tend to exercise a sense of control by denying the body the pleasure of food or we create specific food rules. Additionally, we tend to tame our feeling state with food in efforts to numb feelings that we deem too unpleasant to actually let ourselves feel. Alternatively, by letting go of the need to control the self, we can shift to a way of selecting food to nourish and support optimal wellness.
When we begin to view ourselves as whole and connected, we live from a place of empowerment, compassion, and love for ourselves and for others. We are able to embrace our ever-changing thoughts, moods, feelings, and physical health and remember our true nature that is beyond compartmentalization. Nourishment then takes on a more complete meaning as nourishment for body, mind, and spirit. We shift from emotional eating and step into eating for nourishment.
Body: I love the Ayurvedic practice of self-massage with sesame oil after showering. Not only does it keep the skin hydrated, but, with this simple act of nurturing touch, I find a renewed appreciation for my body. From this place of gratitude and love, I’m able to make the best decisions for myself and act in a way that is nourishing. The choices that I make regarding food, relationships, and how I choose to spend my time originate from a place of compassion. I can be honest when asking, “Does this food or relationship or activity really serve my highest self?” Caring for self in this way is not selfish, but necessary for creating bonds with others.
“A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror.” – Ken Keys
Breath: Get the most out of an early summer sunrise, relish the most peaceful time of the day, and create a ritual to connect, ground, and center yourself for the day ahead. Step outside, sit in the grass and just breath deeply, go for a walk, or sip some tea while sipping in the fresh air.
Intuition: Reconnect, remember, and trust that you already are the highest version of yourself that you dream to be. Get quiet, listen to your gut, and answers will continuously reveal themselves.
Food: Take advantage of the summer and pick locally grown fruits. This instills a deeper connection with the food that nourishes us.
Allow yourself to savor a whole meal, not gulp a protein shake. Practice slow, mindful eating and give thanks for the nourishment you’re receiving rather than calculate your food’s fat, calories, or vitamins. Appreciate the entirety of food, realizing that it’s so much more than the sum of its parts. Feel nourished by food for its energetic properties as well. Notice that when a food is accompanied by a traditional pairing of another food or spice, there’s deeper sense nourishment.
Others: Make eye contact, touch, smile, and become completely engaged in listening to others.
When we reconnect, so much opens up: we feel balanced and in flow, and we drop the struggle of having one part of ourselves dominate or control another part.
Other people or even the other sides of ourselves—our own thoughts, behaviors, actions, and feelings—lose their otherness and become easily relatable and embraced as parts of the whole. As such, we come to understand ourselves in our environment as perfectly complete.