Sunday 15 June 2014

Why do we kill ourselves with food and drink?

So I’m lying in bed, scanning through my body.  It’s the start of a meditation practice I picked up from Arnie Mindell but today I’m not meditating, I’m just observing.  Yup, the torn muscle in my arm is still twinging a bit and there’s my Achilles putting up its, er, ankle to wave its discontent.  My jaw is clenched and my shoulders are tight (I’m not sure I relax even when I sleep).  And my arms are aching from yesterday’s kettlebell class (but that’s a good ache).  Mainly though I’m feeling dehydrated and my heart is beating far faster than usual.  Why?  The bottle of wine I downed yesterday in the sun. For the third day in a row. 
And I wonder, again, why do I do stuff to my body that it hates?  Why do I put stuff in my body that makes it weak and makes me feel crap?

I know it sounds a bit health Nazi-ish but pretty well all of us eat or drink stuff that we know isn’t great for us and it makes me wonder...  Do we have some kind of unconscious (or conscious) death wish?  I’m sure my father did.  The doctors told him that, if he wanted to live, he needed to lose weight,  he needed to cut out the heavy fatty food and the alcohol, and he really should do some exercise - but he chose to carry on regardless and dropped dead of a heart attack.  It was his choice of course.  He’d given up.  And, okay, so it’s selfish of me to think this way but it still hurts.  It hurts me because he could still be alive today; I could still enjoy his company; we could still be sitting and laughing; we could still be arguing and fighting (how we loved to disagree – on everything from politics to music).  
And, you know, I’m not one for telling anyone how to live their life, what to do, what not to do, but it does strike me that when one is seriously cavalier about one’s health, it doesn’t just kill them, it hurts those who love them.  So much.  But I guess that’s our problem, not theirs, isn’t it?
Of course, you could argue that we’re all going to die anyhow, and so why not enjoy yourself with food and drink and whatever?  Why die healthy?  J And, again, what kills one person will slide off the cells of another.  It’s not just food and drink, there’s a complicated equation of genetics and environment and mind that comes into play. 
But really, we all know, at heart/liver/lungs, what suits us and what doesn’t.  I know my body doesn’t run well on wheat – every time I eat it, I feel my pulse race.  It’s the same with wine. Sugar and caffeine buzz my adrenals.  Yet I love them.  Curious, isn’t it, how we crave the things that are bad for us? 

Try the scan thing.  It’s interesting, if nothing else.  Back in bed, I’m stretching out the fingers of my right hand.  Every morning I wake to find they have become stiff and sore (thanks a bunch, Italian guinea pigs) and I have to wonder.  Why my right hand?  My ‘write’ hand (and right/write now it’s so hard to write).  My ‘rite’ hand (and I have lost my belief in magic so that is right/rite and fitting).  Because bodies often talk in metaphors and, if I do slide into a Mindell body meditation my hands… clench into fists. 

What does your body say to you?  


Sandie said...

My body says "Jesus, woman, get some *sleep*" often. I think it occasionally nags about drinking less wine too.

The 'observing/scanning' thing sounds good though. I'll have to give it a try.

("please prove you're not a robot" it says below and I'm struck by an image of me as Stepford Wife and wondering hell, *can* I prove it?? Here goes...)

Exmoorjane said...

@Sandie - you'd like Mindell, I suspect. Interview with him here:

Nah, you're not a robot. :)

Sandie said...

If I am, I was very badly programmed... ;)

I read the Mindell page - particularly liked (and will aim for 'em all!) this:

"There seem to be a number of different phases or stages to the evolution of consciousness. There's a stage of analytical awareness, in which you look inside yourself, notice different aspects, have some insights, and start to think about them. At this point you might try to figure things out or apply a program to yourself; you might start meditating or get into Jungian analysis or some other form of talk therapy.

Then there is what I call the Buddhist stage, in which you notice things and let them go through you. Here you develop what the buddhists call the witness consciousness. After you've done this for a long time, you start noticing that many of the thoughts and emotions don't really go through, they get stuck. Then you might consider a process-oriented stage, where you notice things arising, but, instead of letting them go, you get on top of them and ride them, helping them pass through more rapidly by amplifying or intensifying them.

After that, there is still a further stage, in which you realize that everything you're doing is just a phase, and that the different methods work fine for different times in your life, depending on what is happening to you in a given moment. This, I think, is one of the highest stages."

Exmoorjane said...

@Sandie - He thinks a lot - maybe too much. :) But following the flirts and letting the body tell its own story is an interesting process. His stages theory is classic alchemy.

Biodynamic therapy does a bit of that too but in a less refined model.

Rachel Selby said...

Story of my life - or should that be death? Why are we so educated and rational about some things but not about food?

Ashen said...

I've both a death wish and a life wish, very confusing.
Being suspicious of authority, I tend to humour my rational prison guard.
I smoke more roll-ups and drink more wine when I need grounding.
Our irrational indulgences may also be influenced by the stars or, as I moan about in my last post, the weather :)