This article also appears on the Huffington Post.
One time a colleague of mine, who was based out of Amsterdam, went on a summer road trip with her husband and two young children. They had a camper that the kids had helped to paint and spent their two weeks vacation at various campsites in Europe. When they returned she described the experience with great joy. She said it was a carefree time, and then said the following:
We ate when we were hungry.
This comment really stood out for me. It is remarkable because so much of the time we don’t eat when we are hungry. We eat when the clock tells us it’s time to eat. Or we eat because we are worried or troubled or depressed.
My point here is about time, not our relationship to food, per se. Eating when they were hungry was so remarkable for Henriette and her family because normally they ate, as many of us do, according to a schedule. A schedule dictated by work and school obligations. However, they had a different experience on vacation and ate according to the cues from their bodies.
In the wellness world there is a frequent rally call about listening to your body, however, our modern world is really stacked against making that something that’s viable and easy to honor. Our obligations to schedules dictated by others are so large and confining that listening to your body may be a lovely thing to do during a yoga class or Reiki session, but really is not an option during your work or school day. We listen to the clock more often than we listen to our bodies.
As Diana in the latest Wonder Woman movie reacts to Steve’s wristwatch, “You let this tell you what to do?” Indeed, we let our schedules and the clock tell us what to do. What if instead, we listened to a wiser voice that is expressed by our bodies – that spirit that lives inside of us that connects us to all that is? What if we let that tell us what to do?
What if today, you eat when you are hungry, pee when you first get that cue from your body, walk when your body craves movement, create when the spirit moves you, and hug when love fills your heart? I invite you to take one step forward to living by the signals of your body and spirit.