“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire Universe, deserves your love and affection.”– Buddha
Caring for Your Emotional Heart with Intimacy
Did you know that most heart attacks take place on Monday morning – at 10 AM? I don’t think it is a coincidence that this is happening when people are returning to work, mostly likely to jobs that are stressful and unsatisfying. Many of us respond by heading to the vending machine or Starbucks for a sugary, fatty pick-me up just to make it through another day.
Abusive eaters are often trying to fill an empty heart, soothe a broken heart, or nourish a hungry heart with food. Jan Chozen Bays, in her book Mindful Eating, suggests that what we might identify as heart hunger and try to fill with food, is actually a deep desire for intimacy and no amount of food will ever satisfy that hunger.
Heart hunger is satisfied by intimacy. Rather than using food to relieve loneliness, try developing intimacy in other areas of your life. Intimacy will naturally relieve feelings of loneliness. Intimacy can come from many places in our lives, not just from an intimate relationship with a spouse or partner. An intimate relationship can be with your self, with God, with friends and family, even with food.
Try spending a few moments before eating to look deeply into your food. Where did it come from? Think of all the different hands that were necessary to bring that food to your table. When you get that, you realize that you are in the company of many beings: the plants, animals, and people, as well as the earth and all of the elements: sun, rain, wind, and air, whose life energy is infused into your food.
Intimacy requires slowing down. Take time with yourself to sit in nature, go for a walk, listen to beautiful music, enjoy a pet, or smile at a baby – smell the roses so to speak. Nurture yourself with rest or a massage. These are deliberate acts of intimacy that can nourish and replenish your tender heart.