I’ll tell you about a student who was having some intense sweet cravings.
She’s been doing work with me for a while, so she has enough awareness and self-compassion on board to know it’s not about the food, but she could not figure out what it was about.
She really wanted to support herself, so one question she was asking herself was: “What’s something sweet I need in my life?”
It’s a beautiful question. Many of us need comfort, nurture, a soft, caring compassionate presence, and many of us turn to sweets for the earth element that we miss when we miss nurture.
Yet, no answers came to her when she asked that question. She was at a dead end and try as she did, she could not come up with anything else.
So I did what I always do in sessions, and with the humility of not knowing, offered to explore what was happening in her body as she was sensing the craving. There were many layers of sensation and emotion, but as each of them got peeled back, she was able to name what was really going on for her.
There was a new situation in her life that was asking for a lot.
She was stuck with having to make a difficult choice. She could not say Yes, and she could not say No. Neither choice felt safe. In addition, she was feeling a lot of external pressure to make that choice now.
Have you ever been there? Between two impossible choices? It’s a hard place to be.
Inner conflict and pressure made it very challenging for her to be present with her experience, and naturally, led her to a way she’d always coped in times like this – eating something sweet.
Our session continued to unfold. Together we were able to make space for fear, worry and doubt. She was able to breathe a sigh of relief and know in her gut she can make her choice when she’s ready.
Most of my students are like this amazing woman – incredibly intelligent and deeply caring for their bodies.
One thing they learn in the process of working together is that asking the right question is incredibly important.
Another incredibly important piece is knowing that your body might not give you the answer unless it feels you can process and handle all the emotional energy that goes with it. And for that, as human beings, we need togetherness, we need support, we need attunement, we need co-regulation.
My role as a as teacher, or the role of your therapist or coach is not so much to tell you what you are dealing with, because if you are lucky they will have the humility to know that they don’t know.
My role is to be with you, so your system knows we can handle whatever comes up together.
Here’s to asking the right questions, and here’s to being willing to not hear the answers alone.