Bottomless

Every day around three or four, I get hungry. When I tap into my core, it’s not so much that I’m ravenous; rather it feels like there is a need I’m trying to fill, and food is most convenient.

Perhaps you share my sentiments.

If I harken back to childhood where too many things tend to crystallize into patterns we later become oblivious to, that time of day points to when I’d return home from school peckish, ready to zero in on homework. My mom wasn’t so much the motherly type. I was never presented with a freshly baked snack, for example, nor much of anything homemade or substantial at all that could be construed as brain food. I usually opened up the refrigerator and downed all the milk I could, straight from its gallon jug. City water was horrible, and though my parents could afford the bottled kind, my father was adamant that, if he found it drinkable, all nine of us should. Thus it was that I grew up without much fresh water at all, and ignored a lactose intolerance that would plague me into later life. Maybe I’d add a slice of Wonder bread smeared with Peter Pan and Smucker’s jelly, maybe some American cheese. I remember spooning peanut butter straight from the jar; eating dry sugared cereal from the box.

Later while studying Jungian Psychology in college, Marion Woodman’s work entranced me. A former anorexic, she spent an entire career focusing on the connection between women and bodies and food and mothering. In shorthand: food=matter=Mater=Mother Earth=food. I found it compelling, coming from a family rife with eating disorders. It opened some doors, leaving others to be discovered – still firmly sealed – later on in life.

Like Alice of the famed Wonderland, I feel as though I’ve been holding the key to that tiny door forever, pacing back and forth while deciding if I want to be larger or smaller; usually smaller, but then again, I appreciate the merits of size, in the converse logic that comprehends the bigger I am, the less likely I am to be noticed. And I’ve never sought the spotlight. Thus there is a peculiar protection embedded in portly. I’m a female in Western culture, after all.

Meanwhile I continue learning from this blessed body, and am determined to get to the bottom of this late afternoon craving for something indefinably satisfying. Perhaps I need more nurturing, or it might be something deeper. I arrived into this life with my family of origin for a reason. My parents were the best teachers for me at that time. Call it karma – I do – and it’s easy to understand that the baggage I carried into this life contains valuable material for waking up as fully as I am able.

And I sure as heck am willing.

10 comments on “Bottomless”

  1. Calm your chattering mind, watch and listen. Eventually you will receive what you are seeking.

    • Ben, I learned mindless stillness years ago, was born attentive, and practice these qualities in my waking life. And though that small inner voice has given me many answers, including a plethora of them for clients over the years, this issue is especially recalcitrant. I suspect ‘now’ is the time to ponder it, and there are many facets to this particular gem. I look forward to unlocking this particular door at this point in the journey. Blessings.

  2. I’m looking at my clock right now and guess what? It’s 3:00pm CST. On our recent trip to Europe, I discovered “Tea Time” that is served at 3:00pm. So, I’ve been making a cup of tea (no scones,:) ) and amazed, for me,how that is satisfying. Don’t know how long that will last but for now I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
    I did like your connection about coming home from school and having to get your own snacks. I can’t remember getting snacks, but did do that for my own children. I guess I’m catching up. πŸ™‚

    • Haha, I think we probably did a lot of things our parents didn’t do, and some they did.

      It’s just that I walked a long way to school and home in the blazing sun, then had activites, to boot – never any money to grab anything on the road – so I was pretty famished when I got home.

      I like your tea idea. I drink it often during the day. I mean, it isn’t so much food or no food, I think that’s my point. It’s something more indefinable, really. Like a craving of sorts. Bottomless is the only word that comes to mind. When I was younger, I tried to fill it with food. Now that seems too much. Yet still, it persists.

      Going to stay with this one and see what happens!
      Aloha, Kenna! Good to see you here again πŸ˜‰

  3. (Gads, Bela – got carried away with this comment – while sipping my nourishing organic Yerba Mate from Paraguay. Your childhood had familiar rings and this comment ends up being almost as big as your blog.)

    Our mother enthusiastically filled our heads and souls with goodness, but not so with our tummies . Since she was a teacher, she stayed after school and would usually drag herself home around the dinner hour. One of us might have started dinner (I ate my last piece of fried baloney when I was 11 -yech ); otherwise mom would throw something together. I actually loved pancake dinners since I could say no to the sausage.

    As the youngest, I learned to cook my favourite dish – real macaroni, fried onion and hamburger, canned tomatoes, grated cheese. It became my offering and the huge bowlful was always devoured by siblings. I’m salivating as I type though I’d leave out the hamburger now.

    We grew a huge veggie garden every spring and it was my smorgasbord. If I wasn’t at home and became hungry and if there no berries to be had, I’d ask permission to graze a neighbouring garden. Veggies were abundant and always shared.

    Snacks at home were peanut butter sandwiches (always on brown bread), handfuls of walnuts or raisins or coconut. Sometimes I’d slip in a spoonful of powdered hot chocolate. There was never home baking.

    I loved it when Dad was home – often away for weeks, sometimes months. Not only did he cook good meals, mom put more of an effort into full meal prep. Sunday dinner was special – usually a roast of beef. I didn’t care about the beef, but I loved the variety of veggies and gravy.

    Since we didn’t run around with money, we had a charge account at the General Store. We were allowed to buy stuff at the store and put it on the bill. Oddly enough, we never abused it. We charged food, clothing or household goods – not candy or anything frivolous without mom’s okay.

    I never enjoyed preparing food for others – mainly because meals were built around some creature’s offering. I didn’t like even touching meat. The smell offends me. Fat makes me nauseous.

    During marriage, I couldn’t believe some women actually went to bed with cookbooks. I always loved good food, but I wasn’t built to wake up in the morning with a plan for the day’s dinner. It suited me that my career years were filled with restaurant meals though I developed some inappropriate tastes. I’ve had to learn how to manage carbs.

    The down side of all this? I have walked from relationships when seeing/hearing an indication that I would be expected to be THE cook. I love sharing duties, but not being sole chef. I’ll chop wood, dig trenches and mow lawns more readily than put on a dinner party. I am not speaking with regret, but I did forgo a marriage to a man who started a very successful airlines business that is still thriving today. I just could not imagine me being the successful man’s wife. As far as I was concerned, I needed a Successful Wife’s wife!

    Now in my later years, I live my niche. Veggies, veggies, veggies with the odd chicken or turkey dish. I love baked, steamed or raw veggies. I make salads out of all sorts of plant-based foods and the same with soups. I snack on nuts, seeds, berries, fruit, humus – and popcorn with coconut oil.

    A good cup of tea is remarkably satisfying…especially after a mouthful of almonds.

    For once, I eat what I like, as much as I like and when I like. I’m an endomorph which means my body is much happier – and healthier – with the way I eat now.

    Thanks, Bela, guess it was time to have a look at all this!

  4. There’s so much in your post that I can relate to. Your memory of coming home from school and eating sugary cereals is something I did too. I remember being able to polish off most of a box of “Sugar Pops” which has since been renamed “Corn Pops” to make it sound better for you.
    The image of the girl with anorexia nervosa is familiar in my line of work. I’ve learned it’s mostly about control and the fear of loosing it. Ironically the person with self-starving behaviors is so out of control.
    I think the late afternoon energy-lag thing is very common. I’ve heard it described as circadian rhythm, low blood sugar stuff. An alternative view I read about was the idea that chi energy flows along different meridians governing different organ systems over a 24hr period according to the position of the sun. The bladder meridian, which rules the back flows most strongly from 3-5PM. Muscular tension along this meridian may depress or block the natural flow of chi energy at this time and is experienced as fatigue. Although low blood sugar may be an issue at that time of day, that “bottomless” feeling may not be completely corrected by eating. Releasing back tension may also be necessary. (The book that I read this in recommends restoring balance with yoga postures and acupressure points.) So often when feeling tired it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that one must be hungry. I find that sometimes when I think I’m hungry, I’m really just a little dehydrated and need to drink water.
    Thanks for writing such thought provoking and diverse reflections!

    • ML, I appreciate the feedback regarding circadian rhythms. This is something I had not considered, and I do have low blood sugar at times, though it’s not bad. I also appreciate the dehydration thought, though I have tried that, as well, and continue doing so. But it’s a good point for readers who might not think of it. The back tension thing is moot for me – I’m pretty loose and sensitive to stretching when things feel a tiny bit tweaked. Both Chris and I get biweekly deep tissue bodywork as well as, for me, weekly acupucture. So care is taken, in any event, to maintain optimal health as I age.

      The TCM way of approaching this is familar to me, with one daughter about to graduate with her MCM and another a year from her DOCM. Here’s the chart I was given, years ago, in case anyone is interested. This describes the body’s rhythms with regards to its organ systems, which is helpful to know if one is a night eater, for example (which I’m not). The Chinese way is never to eat after 7 pm, as the body is in cleansing mode and can’t handle the excess work of processing yet more food:

      5-7 a.m. β€” Large Intestine β€” Drinking water triggers bowel evacuation making room for the new day’s nutritional intake. Removes toxins from the night’s cleansing.

      7-9 a.m. β€” Stomach β€” Stomach energies are the highest so eat the most important meal of the day here to optimize digestion/assimilation.
      9-11 a.m. β€” Pancreas β€” The stomach passes its contents on. Enzymes from the pancreas continue the digestive process. Carbohydrate energy made available.
      11 a.m.-1 p.m. β€” Heart β€” Food materials enter the blood stream. The heart pumps nutrients throughout the system and takes its lipid requirements.
      1-3 p.m. β€” Small Intestine β€” Foods requiring longer digestion times (proteins) complete their digestion/assimilation.
      3-5 p.m. β€” Bladder β€” Metabolic wastes from morning’s nutrition intake clear, making room for the kidney’s filtration to come.
      5-7 p.m. β€” Kidney β€” Filters blood (decides what to keep, what to throw away), maintains proper chemical balance of blood based on nutritional intake of day. Blood to deliver useable nutrients to all tissues.
      7-9 p.m. β€” Circulation β€” Nutrients are carried to groups of cells (capillaries) and to each individual cell (lymphatics.)
      9-11 p.m. β€” Triple Heater β€” The endocrine system adjusts the homeostasis of the body based on electrolyte and enzyme replenishment.
      11 p.m.- 1 a.m. β€” Gall Bladder β€” Initial cleansing of all tissues, processes cholesterol, enhances brain function.
      1-3 a.m. β€” Liver β€” Cleansing of blood. Processing of wastes.
      3-5 a.m. β€” Lung β€” Respiration. Oxygenation. Expulsion of waste gasses.

      All that being said, I do think there are layers of karmic and psychic residue that, at this point in life, are surfacing to be healed. I took a day off of all things including technology yesterday to sit at the ocean and pause to reflect on many things. More insights came, which is always good. Perhaps I will share them in a future post.

      Aloha, dear one.


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