Are you quenching your thirst?

Posted on March 24, 2014 by Mary Patterson

I know what you are thinking... Here we go again. Mary is going to tell us to drink more water. Blah Blah Blah
Nope. We are not talking water at all.
Many of you have heard me talk about primary food versus secondary food.
Primary food = life, lifestyle, relationships, work, spirituality, fitness, etc.
Secondary food = food (carbs, fat, protein)
I get many nods when I bring this up to people in discussion and I recommend some things to do (journaling, meditation, think about some questions); however, 90% of us still avoid going there. Today, I challenge you to go there. Yes, really go there.
To inspire you, I am going to share a story with you that starts 5 years ago. (I will try not to take 5 years to tell it.)
5 years ago, I sat in one of my classes with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Joshua Rosenthal started talking about this concept of primary food. I thought, Oh man, don't make me turn to the person next to me and start talking about myself. Please no. Not again.
We didn't. Well, not yet anyway. Instead, we had to pull out this circle and place dots around it and then connect the dots. It was not just any circle. It was cut into slices and in each slice it had a different part of you life. You were to "rank" each part of your life. The more satisfied you felt, the closer to the outside the dot was and vise versa. In a perfect world, we would all have these big perfect circles. OK, so we know it is not so perfect and I am pretty self aware and could have predicted at that time in life what things would be a little wacky. (Note: I had a 2 year old and 4 month old at home, was working close to full time hours, but at odd times so I could also pretend that I was a stay at home mom too, and my husband commuted into the city every day on the train. Life was far from balanced. ;-))

When I completed my circle, one part of the pie was way off and shockingly way off. It was a part of my life that was always so fulfilled and complete. I mean, I had a mostly catholic school education, at one point taught CCD, was OK, confident and at peace with parts of Catholicism that I "believed" in and didn't believe in. I felt good with my faith. If you have not guessed yet, the part of the pie that was shockingly wacky was Spirituality and it hit me hard like a brick. I made a mental note that I needed to address it and avoided it when it came time to the dreaded partner sharing. I filed that mental note far away in a hidden place and avoided it for years to come. 
Then, my family moved South where the second question many people ask you is, What church do you go to? Well, the filed away spirituality problem was no longer in a deep place because I was now stuck with answering questions about it almost daily. (To my northern friends, I am not exaggerating - daily.) In all honesty, people were OK with the answer of we just moved here or even that we didn't really go. I never felt judged by another, but I did feel self judgement. It wasn't that catholic guilt kind of judging. It was why have you not addressed this? Why are you filing something so important to you away?
I started to feel the pull to go back to church. There are many options where we live and none of them felt quite right until I saw a post on Facebook about The Good Shepard Club of Daniel Island meeting once a month and trying to build a community and a Catholic Parish on the island. I finally went with that pull and attended a service and then several more. This past weekend, the priest talked about Thirst and being thirsty no more. All his words meant so much to me. I sat their feeling at peace. Feeling that I was in the right place and for the first time in 5 years, I felt my spirituality. My Circle finally took a major step in becoming more balanced.
Now where am I going with this you may be asking. I am not telling you to go to church. I am not telling you to become catholic. I am telling you to take a look at your circle. Spirituality wasn't my only piece of the circle that was off and lacking (remember that infant, toddler, husband that commuted, work, oh and school).
When I went home that day from church, I felt fulfilled. A piece of my circle balanced out a whole lot more. My circle is far from complete and balanced and to be honest, I know it will be off balance more than in balance. But I know I need to stay aware. Stay aware to what is throwing me off balance. Don't tuck it away. Don't be afraid to think about the uncomfortable. The problem may not get fixed right away, but if we stay aware we will be open to the path that will bring it back into balance.
It is so easy to look for the perfect diet, the perfect combination of foods. And this all has a place with our health. But while you are on your journey to learning what feeds you - don't forget to look at both your primary food and secondary food. Because when that moment happens, that moment to when you are no longer thirsty or hungry, life will make a lot more sense and will feel oh so good! ;-)

Posted in Charleston, Daniel Island, Institute for Integrative Nutrition, James Island, Mary Patterson, nutrition, pursuit of happiness


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