I am not afraid of the dark. But, boy oh boy, I used to be. I was so scared of my own darkness that I would do anything to avoid it. When I was covered by the shroud of suffering, my go-to method to deal was to gorge myself on chips and chocolate. FYI: this didn’t work very well at all.
Everything just got darker and darker. But I kept at it for many years, eventually ending up with a full-blown eating disorder. I had no clue how to break free from the suffocating suffering I found myself experiencing every day.
Now I understand that the moment of inner turmoil right before I would binge is exactly the place to look for what I need to know about how to connect with myself so that I can live the free and fulfilling life that I yearn for.
The hard moments in life, when I used to try to ignore and push away my experience by eating, are now the ripest, juiciest opportunities to explore my deepest yearnings. With this information, I understand how to honor my desires in a way that is in alignment with what I really want for my life.
Step 1: Become a Scientist who Studies Yourself
When you notice that shit is falling apart, imagine that you are a research scientist. Pull on that lab coat and roll up your sleeves. (I actually embody this by “grabbing” the collar of my coat and “pull it on” over my shoulders.)
Take on the thoughtful and non-judgmental awareness of a scientist. It is absolutely key to remember that scientists are non-partial and dedicated to the process of uncovering the truth.
Here are a couple questions you can use as the scientist:
- What was the triggering thought or action that launched me into the darkness?
- What does this trigger make me want to do now?
- What is the emotion that I am feeling?
- What sensations do I notice in my body?
For the sake of example, let’s say your scientist learns that you were triggered by a friend canceling on you at the last minute and that all you want to do now is to eat an entire chocolate cake. You notice that you are feeling sad, frustrated and lonely and you feel an ache in your chest and a knot in your upper stomach. This is all great information.
Step 2: Listen for your Deepest Yearnings
Once you have gathered all of this information, it is time to take off the scientist coat. Now is the time to wake up the part of yourself that is intuitive, soft and in tune with the part of yourself that knows what really honors your highest self.
When you really listen to the darkness, you will find the answers for what will bring you into an experience state that is in line with what you value. If you find that all you want to do is to eat a whole chocolate cake when your friend cancels, then perhaps there is a deeper yearning for acknowledgment, for support, for connection.
Start by acknowledging to yourself that things are uncomfortable and out of balance. Then ask for your intuitive and connected self to help you figure out what you are really hungry for.
Some questions to ask yourself that will help you find out your deep yearnings:
- What does my trigger tell me about what upsets me? (Often the opposite side of the coin of what upsets us is what brings us positivity.)
- What does my initial desired reaction show me about what I am really needing right now?
- What can this emotion teach me about what I really want?
- What would make my body feel good at this moment?
Step 3: Take the Micro-Step
So you figured out that the chocolate cake was really a substitute for feeling acknowledged, supported and connected. Awesome. What great information!
Now the next step is to take a tiny action that starts to move you towards what your deep yearning really is. What is the first tiny action you would need to take in order to bring what your deep yearning is into your life.
I am a major fan of the micro-step because, by design, it is an easy action to take regardless of your emotional state. Envision micro-steps as putting the key in the ignition. Not hard to do, but absolutely the first necessary step to starting the car.
Perhaps in this situation the micro-step is to open up your contact list, and look through it. The next obvious step would be to see someone else’s name who you want to hang out with. And then the next step, send them a text.
And poof. You have transferred the triggered reaction of wanting to eat an entire chocolate cake into creating the feeling of being supported and connected by creating an opportunity to be with a dear friend.
My journey with food was the door for me to walk into expanded consciousness. Each time I faced the darkness without bingeing, I became more aware. With each new level of awareness, I would understand more deeply what I really needed. And as I took steps to move towards really fulfilling these deep yearnings, life just got better and better.
The darkness is no longer scary. I welcome it. Now it is the opportunity to learn more and open up into an ever more fulfilling life. I am so deeply grateful to all of those years of struggle because each moment of suffering gave me more information about how to show up and really live my life.