Yes, the spirituality of food or the spirituality in food.
This title was inspired by a conversation I had with my husband this morning, over the course of which I realized that in the past 4 years I have managed to have breakfast at home every day and managed to have lunch wherever I was.
This must be normal for so many of you.
However, 4 years ago, when I was aiming for the corner office, working overtime to get straight As in the corporate world, food and rest were the last things on my mind. I remember rushing every morning to the office, shoving some bread pieces into my mouth and mostly foregoing lunch — unless a colleague would buy from the bakery downstairs a sandwich, which I ate in haste while staring at or typing on the computer.
But now, that’s all in the past.
Voila! So what exactly am I celebrating? And why is this relevant to you? Stay with me and I promise to share something that’s worth your time.
I am celebrating:
• Embracing things/experiences/people/ what makes me happy rather than others (read corporate, bosses, society, my own false expectations of myself)
• Self-care that I give myself through the simplest and most overlooked of things and experiences such as food. It could simply be just eating food on time, or making an occasional celebration of it by inviting friends and family over dinner or at a restaurant.
Food bonds people. Taste is one of the most tantalizing senses and nourishes our souls in more ways than just the chemical impact of food on our energy reserves
• Getting to know my needs more, respecting that, prioritizing that and serving those needs.
• Not wasting the learning that pain provided me. Yes, you read that right. Let me elaborate.
4 years ago, my petite 163cm/49kg/35-year-old body and the uterus within was ravaged by the second attack of fibroids (non-cancerous cysts), 20 of them, each the size of a lemon or more. My belly had enlarged to the size of a 4-5 month pregnancy. My periods were hell, I would bleed through clothes in a matter of minutes after changing my pad-tampon combination.
I ended up for a fibroid removal surgery for the second time in 4 years, which went horribly wrong and had to be rushed to emergency surgery within 2 days followed by an ICU stay.
Taking the Step to Change
I knew there was more than genetics at play here. I wanted answers and neither the doctors or scientific literature gave me answers that helped or that I resonated with. So I became a scientist in my own life. I took drastic, bold steps:
1. I moved to a largely vegetarian, dairy-free diet
2. Knowing that there’s more to my search than what traditional medicine or science would reveal, and guided by my intuition, I dived deeper into spirituality which in my definition means connecting to the true essence of who we are, connecting with our souls’ purpose. My coach back then and Kundalini yoga helped me unravel that process. I got most of my answers there, including the next one.
3. I identified my main stressor. I soon realized that I was being bullied at my job by my seniors. It was difficult to believe that this could happen in the well-polished corporate world and that even on raising such issues, other people would rather keep their eyes shut and ask me to be less “sensitive”.
I knew I was overwhelmed, overworked, under-appreciated and burnt-out which had a direct link to my health situation. I quit that job and started pondering over what really lights my fire.
I realized nothing could match my love for working with people and helping them explore their true potential. I decided to go full steam into coaching, set up my independent practice and it’s been one of the best decisions of my life.
4. I developed awareness (and am still a keen student at this) of the path I want to/am meant to take in life, pursue that, identify daily stressors and manage them.
As is expected, I fail at it more often than I succeed. However, the lessons are worth their weight in gold. As long as we maintain an intent to learn and grow from our experiences, we can only grow stronger.
The curiosity, exploration, learning and growing continues. The best exploration is the one we do in our minds.
Coming back to the title, the simple act of eating breakfast on time and without hurrying, having gratitude for the nourishment the food provides and prioritizing my self-care through food is something I’m celebrating today. That, in essence, is spirituality in daily life for me, acknowledging and being grateful for the experience of life and every moment I get to take care of myself. By taking care of myself, I am more energetic, available and supportive of the others in my life, my community and the world at large.
Now I’ll move to the most important question.
Why is this relevant to you?
I hope that by sharing my humble example, story and experiences, you may see that you’re not alone in your experiences. We all continue to evolve and are connected through a stream of consciousness, like leaves on a big, beautiful tree.
The essence of life might just as simple as sharing and growing together.