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Posts Tagged ‘food and culture’

McLovinLast Friday my husband and I were out at a local pub celebrating his birthday.  As it was the eve before Halloween the scene was hopin’ with costumes, laughter, and great music.   My senses were saturated as I surveyed the joint, taking in all the action.  Sandwiched between your average Joes at the bar, Beaker from the Muppets, a bumblebee in fishnet stockings, a gypsy and several naughty nurses, there was, needless to say, a lot to take in.  
But as the sea of cleavage and tight skirts parted, a fairly short guy, probably in his mid-twenties, caught my eye- or rather his T-shirt did.   He was wearing what at first glance appeared to be just a plain shirt with a yellow M on it, and the phrase “I’m lovin’ it.” It took me a second glance, but as I looked again I realized the golden arches were not the arches on your average Happy Meal, rather they were a pair of women’s legs in heals.. well you get the picture.  Instantly disgusted by the whole scene I felt like a lowlife just being there, but nonetheless it got me thinking about McDonald’s famous catch phrase “I’m lovin’ it.”  
 
I think it’s safe to say that it isn’t really a stretch of our intelligence, or experience, to see that McDonald’s food isn’t lovin’ us, and that we aren’t really lovin’ it. I know, I’m putting the kibosh on a good ‘ole American favorite, but times are a changing, or rather consciousness is.  As I consider what foods are worthy of my love I find myself looking to foods that resemble the values that I strive for, like integrity, vitality and higher levels of consciousness.  I know it sounds funny to think of food having values like this, but the deeper I look at it, the more I see that the separation between what is on my plate and who I am is dissolving.  

We’ve all heard the phrase “You are what you eat,” but how deeply do we really understand this statement to be true?  As co-creator of Eating for Evolution, food and our relationship to food, is on my mind a lot, and yet I continue to be amazed by the subtle and intimate nature of how profoundly food affects every aspect of our being.  
 
I’m finding that our relationship to food is just like a marriage.  And like in marriage, at least in culture I’m in, we choose our partner, just like we choose what we eat and what we don’t eat.  And similar to a wholesome “marriage,” we can choose partners that love us, give us tender care and support for higher development.  Contrary to an unwholesome “marriage” where there is lack of vitality, strong sense of separation and stagnation.  While society has gobbled this concept up intellectually, experientially it seems we are seriously lacking.  I say this because once we step beyond our cognition and become an embodiment of this knowledge; it isn’t just our diets that change, our expression in the world changes, and as this changes the culture at large does.  The vibration of cultural revolution is in the air but it has yet to blossom into a full fledge cultural movement.  

When we place emphasis on greater values and becoming the kind of people who live up to these values, the discrepancy between our unlived aspirations and our choices will soften, becoming perpetually integrated.  Then we can experience what it is really like to be “lovin’ it,” in the most wholesome expression possible.

-Amber

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See previous post for context.
What I experience with myself and with my patients is that we can have a cognitive recognition that this is true (what we eat affects not just us, but the “whole.”). But we don’t necessarily line our actions up with the fact that we believe this. So, either we don’t really believe, or we just don’t care enough. I think there is probably some truth to both of those.

So the question is, how do we take that on? “That” being our deeply, conditioned cynicism and our blinding ambivalence. You have to look into your own experience to see that these core beliefs/values are actually true about ourselves and the culture in which we live. So how do we change that?!

These are darn serious questions that encompass not just our relationship to food, but also our relationship to life. They will not be answered within this post. But we can begin to create awareness around them, and one way that we can do this is through a thoughtful inquiry into something that we are all quite intimate with… eating!

A good and practical place to start is by paying attention. Simply start paying attention to what you put in your mouth. “Listen” and find out if what you consume is helping to fuel not just your body, but also the conscious awareness that makes up the deepest aspect of who you are. If you really want to know the answer, I have no doubt that you will gain insight.

Once you start paying attention on this level, you will begin to see how food powerfully affects your conscious, and in turn has impact on the “whole.”

Tiffany

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I just finished reading an article “The Biocentric Universe” in the Discovery magazine, and while the whole article was fascinating, this one quote has stayed on my mind: “Today no one questions the immediate nature of this connectedness between bits of light or matter, or even entire clusters of atoms.”   The article goes on to discuss the nature of consciousness and the difference between our perceptions and absolute essence.  What I find so exciting about this, is not so much what the words themselves mean, they’re merely pointing to a truth that has long been understood in spiritual and philosophical realms, but the fact that they were published in a scientific magazine.  Surely this is the marking of a breakthrough in consciousness itself, but you may be asking, what has this got to do with food?  I dare to say the answer is everything!  

We are all aware of the affects food has on our body, mind, emotion and environment, but when was the last time we considered the affect it had on our consciousness?  I suppose before we could even ask that question we would have to know, to experience for ourselves, that food does indeed affect consciousness.  This past weekend I had a firsthand experience of this.  With relatives in town I spent the weekend eagerly showing them around town.  Because we were out and about so much we ended up eating out for most meals, and in turn my usual dietary habits were suspended and I indulged in unusual dining choices.   Early this week they returned home and I got back in the groove of work and school… or at least I tried.  I spent three days with brain fog so thick I struggled to see through it.  Directly affected my ability to communicate, make choices, discern, be active, plan, it was needless to say an uncomfortable few days.  But that was just on the surface.  By far the worst part was actually being responsible for hindering the emergence of consciousness.  I was literally taken out of the game by my own choices related to food.  

My point is that the choices we make around food, of what we eat and how we eat it, is not just a personal or environmental or even survival affair.  It has a direct influence on the ground of our being and our ability to manifest our deepest potentials.  But don’t just take my word for it.  I encourage you to check it out for yourself.  Here’s how you can do it:

1.        Notice how you engage with others after eating junk food, over eating, emotional eating or even under eating.  Pay attention to your ability to contribute to the conversations, generate ideas, and communicate effectively and authentically.

 2.       Compare this to the quality of engagement you have with others after eating a meal of high quality, pure and simple foods that are in more of a “whole” state.

As we strive to become more aware, more productive and conscious beings, we are faced with the challenge of living our day-to-day activities in a way that reflects our highest insights.  When we experience the truth of Oneness we can’t simply put this truth up on the shelf while we chow down on some grub and then take it down when we’re ready to engage spiritually or philosophically.  If we are truly interested in becoming more conscious, if it is our pure intention to evolve on the highest level, then we must come to realize that what we eat does not just fuel or hinder ourselves, it affects the whole.
 
Love, Amber

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The first step in the process of conscious change is having a desire to do so. This desire, this sincere questioning for the purpose of growth, has the ability to open portals to deeper and higher dimensions of being.

What does my relationship to food reflect? It does indeed act as a mirror for my/our core beliefs and values. How I eat is not separate from how I live.

What would it look like if I were eating in a way that supported my “inner” work as primary, knowing that my outer being (and the “outer” world for that matter) is an emanation of this?

What happens if I honor the wisdom gained from listening to something more than what my mind is saying when choosing what to eat?

What happens when what I eat is actually a reflection of what I profess my core values to be? Do they line up? This is a matter of integrity.

What happens when I put my attention on something other than my momentary perception of comfort?

What happens in my body/mind when I eat ______?

Do I pay attention to what I put in my mouth? What happens when I do, and when I don’t? How is this a real time reflection of my capacity to pay attention to and engage in a meaningful way with life?

What are my intentions?

This last one may seem general and not necessarily related to what or how I eat, but it has been becoming clearer and clearer to me that my intentions in regards to food, are a reflection of, nothing less than, my life intentions.

What is worth looking carefully into is this: The mind’s functioning is greatly effected by what you eat. Your capacity for intentionality is affected by the mind. So where does this leave us: Both intentionality and eating are means of expressing and manifesting who you are, and their interaction with each other is profoundly intimate.

As we move forward in life, with the genuine desire to help make the world a better place, to transform the very culture that we are growing in, it is of utmost importance that we consciously cultivate clarity. If we truly want to see, then an excellent place to start is by looking into the mirror of what and how we eat. Through this we will learn to see ourselves with insightful subtlety.

This practice serves to further fuel clarity of intention in life, and simultaneously our intentions influence what choices we make with food. And as we choose for integrity, in the moment, what is realized is that this could never be just about me, you, or one individual. It is literally affecting the Whole.

To clarity!

Tiffany

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