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Week One: Hurry, Urgency, and Initial Exploration

My Encouragements


emergence character type babies All 1 AI
Food Month Index

Day 1: November 1

Day 1: I almost forgot. Please know, if you have any questions or need any help at all, please do not hesitate to write to me, and I will do my best to help.

Be well,

Steven

Day 2: November 2

Day 2: Good morning. Did you see the sunshine yet? And are you at all worrying about today's assignment or about eating in general?

Please don't. Just let go and trust that everything you need to discover in yourself will emerge. And remember; Conscious eating is mostly about giving yourself gentle attention and not about self criticism nor will power nor controlling what and how you eat. Even more, though, it is about reclaiming your birthright, the loving enjoyment of food and eating.

What BLocks this ability in us? Mostly having experienced painful events when we were very, very young, during times in which we were eating. And although the scene I am about to share with you is probably more extreme than most of those which injured you all, let me share with you the first such scene which emerged in me on my journey toward conscious eating, the scene, in fact, which began this journey on September 7th.

Again, know that many of you will have no such scenes emerge in you, at least none this serious. None the less, it takes but an instant of being startled during eating for an infant to be permanently injured.

What emerged in me that day back on September 7th was this: As I began to notice my hurry and anxiety around eating, and as I allowed my imagination to explore what I was feeling, within less than a minute I saw a scene emerge (This scene is literally what I internally pictured).

I see myself as a boy about eight years old. I know I am about eight because I see myself standing behind my chair at the dinner table pushing it in, and I can easily see I am not yet as tall as the back of this chair.

Eight years old. And I am very afraid. And anxious. I see myself stare for a moment at my empty plate, whitish with little pinkish flowers on it. I stare intensely at it for this instant in fact, making absolutely certain that it is indeed empty of food.

As I look, my head is bowed down, and my seeing this plate is only a stolen glance, an act of bravery for any child at my dinner table. n that glance, though, I see the evidence I so desperately seek; my ticket out of hell is finally there right in front of me; my plate is empty.

At this point in my emergence, I recover a thought: Oh, God, tonight, I do not have to see it happen again, I do not have to sit and silently watch my little sister being beaten.

Now, this morning, November 2nd, almost forty six years later, I cried for my sister and for the aloneness she must have felt as I left her there. And for myself, for having relived this experience each and every time I ate for all the years that followed.

For most of this past September, then, I had to literally reassure myself each and every time I sat down to eat that I would let no one hurt me during this time; that I was finally safe. And this reassurance only felt genuine after weeks of doing it.

Clean plates. Being in a hurry to finish. A child deserves a safe secure happy scene in which to eat. And so do you. Please give yourself this comfort today. You, too, deserve it and so much more.

Be well,

Steven

P.S. Should you wish to share these assignments with anyone, please do. And encourage those you may send them to, to respond to my e-mail as well.

Also, please know that you can return your comments to me either daily or at the end of the week.

And again, thank you for helping me.

Day 3: November 3

Day 3. I find myself wishing we all had a way to share our replies with each other in the present as you all seem to have so much in common. Anonymity first, though. And the summary will come eventually.

One thing which seems to be a theme for many of you is that you offer explanations as to how and why you eat the way you eat and why you experience what you are experiencing.

Please, try to let go of these explanations and just be gentle observers of what your internal experience is like, before, during, and after eating. And try to notice any scenes which may pop into your consciousness. And be patient.

A scene which popped into my consciousness about a week into my own journey here occurred as I was on my way to meet a friend for brunch.

I realized I felt very rushed and was driving very fast despite the fact that I had nothing important to do that day and nothing I would miss. I did notice I felt the feeling that there would be no food left when I got to the restaurant.

This theme, that there will be no food left, has been one I have been carrying for a long time. I realize I often eat as if there will not be enough. Yet the restaurant I was driving to never runs out of food. And they stay open 24 hours, seven days a week.

It was then, as I let this internal discomfort flood me on my way to the restaurant that day, that I had a scene emerge, one from when I was about four or so. In this scene, it is night and I am in the kitchen with my mother and younger sister. The only light on in the house is a candle, and the rest of the house is dark, something about saving money.

I remember nervously telling my mother how hungry I was and somehow I knew I would still be hungry after supper: supper was a single saltine cracker with a piece of cheese melted on it, the only meal that day.

Sounds like Dickens, huh? Not really. And this experie nce is the only one I can remember like this one. Still, it only takes one experience for a child to get wounded for the rest of his or her life.

Now, almost two months after having this scene emerge, I am just beginning to feel comfortable with the amount of food in the world, and in my world, to be more precise. I have just about stopped looking at other peoples' plates to see what they have and if they have more. Just about. And I have, for about a month now, been able to see normal portions as enough food for the first time in my whole life. Amazing what a little conscious noticing can uncover.

As of this morning I have lost seventeen pounds. And I am not on a diet nor am I hungry or eliminating any food. Amazing.

Is what you eat enough? Do the portions seem big enough or do you have to mentally limit yourself?

Whatever the answer, please, treat yourself with love today.

Be well,

Steven

Day 4: November 4

Day 4. Already, I am so touched by all of your honesty. And courage.

Yesterday, as I thought again about how nice it would be if we could share our responses during the month, I decided to post what we are doing on my site (TheEmergenceSite.com) anonymously, of course. At the same time, I do not wish to inhibit anyone or have you worry as to what I might post, so if there is anyone for whom my posting discretely edited comments would be a problem (with the goal of sharing with each other, bits and pieces of what we find) please just let me know and I will be glad leave your responses out.

I have also come to realize that there are many of you for whom consciousness, as I refer to it in the Emergence sense (i.e. in the "Conscious Eating" sense), is a seriously unclear goal. Thus, today, I thought I would try to help with this.

What is the goal here?

The goal is to reclaim, meaning, to restore our natural access to, our ability to eat consciously, the access we were each gifted with when we arrived on the planet. What do I mean by "consciously?"

Let me start by telling you this: very simply, I believe we will never fully know what consciousness is and yes, I do realize what I am saying. But what we can do is we can use metaphors to describe this concept which is, for us humans, essentially beyond our grasp. In other words, the idea of consciousness is so big, we go into shock just trying to comprehend it, but we can use metaphors to grasp a good deal of it because metaphors are our way of accessing things beyond our understanding.

What metaphor can we use here? Try this one.

We all have three seats of consciousness: the head, the heart, and the combination of these two which I call our "nature."

The head "informs" us of our existence with mental inform-ation; the heart, with emotional / intuitive inform-ation; and our "nature," is simply the combination of these two inform-ations taken both in the same instant.

What is consciousness then? Consciousness is simply being aware of all three in the same instant. So, in any given moment, being conscious means knowing what we think, knowing what we feel, and knowing what is created when we think and feel in the same instant (knowing our nature.)

Sound deep, doesn't it, and perhaps somewhat unscientific? Actually, this metaphor is both these things. But it is also the door through which I have discovered ways to heal what have been believed to be unhealable injuries, such as learning disabilities and prejudice.

Now, how can you use this metaphor to help you during food month?

You can start by realizing that the experiences you are gathering can be sorted into three piles of stuff; your thoughts before during and after eating, your emotions before during and after eating, and your recognitions of your inner nature before during and after eating.

The following are several very good examples of the first type of consciousness; mental inform-ation:

"After much thought, I realized a few things about my eating habits;

1)I always eat while watching TV, so I really don't pay much attention to how much I'm eating and I'm not in much of a hurry.

2)I almost always eat everything I make , whether it's 1 small pork chop or a whole pound of pasta. I eat until it's gone, not until I'm full, and at times until I don't feel well.

3)I snack all evening long, and out of boredom, not hunger. If I'm watching a hockey game and it gets boring, I go look for something to eat."

And another:

"my portions never seem like enuf, no matter how large. I always eat past fullness. I feel more "satisfied'' when I feel stuffed... unable to comfortably move, but over saturated feels necessary. go figure! so if I eat fast, then I can eat more!"

And another:

"Breakfast-- buttered toast and tea-- thinking that I don't feel like eating or being awake so early in the morning even though I like what I am eating. Worrying about if it will be enough food to keep me going till 12 noon so that I can get all the critical stuff out of the way."

And another:

"I am in a tremendous hurry. I don't sit down on the entire chair surface, so my body is not balanced to receive the food. I am leaning to one side (left) and notice that I chew mostly on the left side. I am hungry but don't really taste the food. Cleaning up is done in a hurry also. I've got to get everything "back in order" including getting rid of all crumbs and garbage. Once everything in the kitchen and dining room are cleaned up, I can breathe again!!!!!! OH DEAR"

Very good observing! And courageous in that these self examinations can be both painful and disturbing. But they are also steps on the path to reclaiming your ability to eat consciously.

An example of the second kind of consciousness would be:

"Anyway: back home in AM waiting for ****: make oatmeal with raisins and feel anxiety and urgency that I will be interrupted/rushed by outside influences or people, tasks, whatever and that I will not have a chance to finish and enjoy my food. Am usually not aware of texture just in a hurry to swallow. when I become conscious I am aware of texture and taste and I don't gulp but recognize when there is a need to chew and it feels good. soothing. sense of dread that I will have to "fight" for the right to take my time!"

Yes, there are thoughts here too, but the primary focus is the heart and emotions. The thoughts really just set the stage for the emotional information.

And another:

"I am having performance anxiety!!!!!!! Should I e-mail you comments on a separate page or should I e-mail them on your form???? Please respond or I might go CRAZY!!! It is a little hard to share the information, I feel vulnerable, afraid of not having a good enough response."

Off topic? No, not at all. This is a very good example of gathering emotional inform-ation in and around eating. Why? Because this person's anxiety IS somehow connected with eating. Otherwise it would not exist (for the more scientifically minded individuals present, please allow this concept to develop before dismissing it <grin>).

And this is one of the best e xamples of emotional inform-ation I received:

"Day 1-- I don't like this assignment. I always have hurry because I am always hurrying to do something, go somewhere, etc. It is uncomfortable to have to pay attention to my internal response. I barely know I am eating, it goes so quickly.

Day 2-- It is more than uncomfortable to pay attention to what is going on inside, it is almost disturbing. I feel resistant to doing it and have been feeling irritable all day. I noticed that when I swallowed, it was a large amount going down in my throat. Either I take big bites, or am in such a hurry, I barely chew. (sorry for the graphic nature of my swallowing, just thought it might be important)."

To those whom I have quoted, please forgive me if I have pre-empted your permission here. My heart just so connected with these responses that I wanted to share them with everyone.

As for the third type of information, examples are much harder to find as these are actually the moments of emergence I am trying to help you all have, the inner "aha" realizations which actually change our very natures. And most times, these realizations take the form of scenes which "emerge" rather than any particular thoughts or feelings. In fact, all emergences are so profound and personal that for the person themselves, there usually are no words and in fact, people often tell me this very thing, that their experience was beyond words.

Here, describing the scene is usually the only way to convey to others a sense of the experience. An example would be:

"When I read what you wrote today about your memory at the dinner table it reminded me of a memory that flashed through my mind either yesterday or today when I was in one of my schools... I had forgotten about it 'til I read yours...

I don't know what made me think of it... but I was three years old and just woke up from an afternoon nap... I was soooooo hungry... STARVING... I was crying for food and standing at the stove in the kitchen... my Mom said it wasn't cooked yet and I'd have to wait... we had to wait for the food to cook and my dad to get home and we'd all eat together... if I had anything to eat then I'd ruin my dinner... I just remember being sooooo hungry and crying and crying... I think that happened a lot..."

Is it the remembering which heals? No. In fact, often, people have scenes emerge which they have known about their whole lives. So what is it I am referring to here? It is the conscious experience of this scene, in a sense, the conscious experience of a life event which was previously only in the first or second ways, meaning, only mentally or emotionally but never both in the same moment.

This conscious experience of a previously unexperienced scene is what heals.

Another wonderful example would be:

"Re food: two memories emerged: being in the crib and crying and crying and no one coming. Now I see I was not wet but hungry and no one came. I finally fell asleep exhausted. Also this one is now vague but came late last night: being little but all different ages: asking mommy for something to drink or eat "I'm hungry can I have something?". Being told sternly "It isn't time yet; you'll have to wait". Over and over, and I HATE whenever **** tells me to "come up and get something" or "It's ready now""

And another:

"the thought of breakfast makes me nauseous. I'll eat when my blood sugar bottoms out. 11:30 A.M. - faint, I gobble a chunk of Swiss cheese and a couple of crackers. I think the cheese tasted good, I'd like another piece... "no don't be a pig". I feel like I'm going to be caught doing something I'm not "allowed" to do. Shit.... I'm nine or so, it's a weekend, I'm real hungry. Lunch was past, dinner still to come. I sneak into the fridge and grab the first thing my hand feels... a piece of cheese and I stuff it into my mouth. Just as I'm turning to head back outside I'm hit on the back of my head with a force so strong my forehead slams into the counter and the cheese falls out of my mouth. I try to get the cheese back in my mouth, no luck, the hand grabs it, it's my dad?? Holding the cheese he quietly says "what are you doing? You know there's no eating between meals." He then calls my mother who slaps me in the face calls me a sneak thief, grabs me by the hair and forces the cheese back in my mouth telling me I might as well eat it because it's the last thing I'll eat until the morning. I'm crying, apologizing, saying I don't want it. Mom tells me that if I don't eat it I won't eat for a week. I can feel that damn lump of cheese in the back of my mouth, mixing with the saltiness of the tears...

Steve this is one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. It doesn't help that I had to write this one twice. (There's more but I need a break. I'll try to get the rest to you tonight."

God, talk about courage! Just reading what these brave explorers have discovered fills my eyes with tears. And my heart hope. Hope that we, together, can help each other to heal these painful BLocks.

Will everyone have such scenes emerge? Of course not. And to be honest, these people have been doing emergence work for quite a while now. But these examples, painful as they are to even read, are the kind of life changing realizations which alter a person's very nature, specifically here, their natural internal responses to food and to eating.

Finally, for anyone who tends to get stuck in the "head with feet" category (the cold hard facts scientific view) please ask that wonderful scientist in you to briefly step aside and allow that brilliant, sparkling, innocent little boy or girl in you to have the floor for now.

Bless you all on this, Day 4.

Steven

Day 5: November 5

Day 5. I am so surprised at the wide range of experiences being reported. And I am learning so much from all of your courage and openness.

One question which now stands out in my mind is: are the people who are not reporting the experience of hurry not experiencing it based more on the fact that this experience is buried in them (unconscious) or is it truly not in them?

At this point, I do not have this answer, nor do I think the true answer is an all or nothing answer. Further, I know all to well not to assume that everyone IS having this experience, whether conscious or not. And as I think about it, I have, since my own journey toward conscious eating began two months ago, noticed (always with surprise) that several of my closest friends seem to never have had this injury. No coincidence, they are and have always been thin. More so, they have always seemed to me to be weird in this aspect, as they have never seemed to be at war with food and eating.

Obviously, we all do not get injured in the same life areas, but injuries in this area (eating) are so common that it almost seems miraculous to me when someone does not get injured there. This and the fact that I always envy them greatly. Sometimes, even hate them. Less today than ever though.

A second realization for me has been that the way I originally designed this first weeks' assignments, I focused on hurry when in fact, I probably would have gained more insight if I had widened this focus to include any and all discomfort with regard to eating.

For instance, the following two replies clearly shows the value in this widened focus (and thank God this person is so open by nature):

"Day Three:

I'm continuously amazed at how much anxiety I have while eating. I think I might be experiencing more because I'm concentrating so much on my eating habits. I do notice that I am constantly hurrying throughout the entire process. I never really take the time to taste the food. It's like eating is something I have to do, whether I'm hungry or not, and I do it as quickly as possible to get it over with.

Drinking was another interesting experience. I really think that the only reason I drink is to push down my food. I realize that I really only drink with meals because I'm in such a hurry to swallow; I don't chew that well and take big gulps to push the food down."

And on the next day she wrote ...

"Day Four:

While thinking about the time preceding my meals, I noticed that I don't feel an urgency to eat because I'm afraid there will be no food left. I do usually experience feelings of guilt about what I'm eating-- it's too fattening, not healthy enough, etc. And even though I have these feelings, it never seems to have much impact on the food choices I make. I just seem to eat what I want and then beat myself up after. I also noticed that I eat no matter what. I don't have to be hungry, I'll just eat because it's lunchtime or dinner time.

The only meal I seem to not have difficulty missing is breakfast. There seems to be no guilt surrounding this meal for me. I'll definitely have to do some more exploration around this."

To be honest, I am amazed at the degree of detail in this person's observations, especially in light of the fact that this is someone I have never even met let alone taught emergence to. And to have difficulty with most meals but not with breakfast? And yet, another woman reports having the extreme opposite reaction ...

"Day 2: tried to eat breakfast (bowl of oatmeal 6:15 am) unsuccessful. I experience fear and violent nausea. I love feeling the texture of the oats in my mouth, the taste and warmth; but I can not swallow with out gagging. I'm the only one awake at this hour and I can't help but feeling like I'm doing something I shouldn't be. There's no real place to sit and eat, so I stand at the kitchen counter, constantly looking over my shoulder waiting to get "caught". I give the dog the bowl. (She has no problems with eating). I can not figure why I have such an aversion for breakfast. I "know" it's importance and as a child (with the exception of weekends) it meant that I would soon be leaving for school and 8 hours of freedom from "them".

As I said, I am seeing an incredibly wide range of reaction in only four days.

Another thing which is surprising me is that some people are reporting changes in their eating already; this at only day five. For instance ...

"There was a change: tonight **** and I went to the Mall by us and got something to eat. The mall was closing and he eats faster than I do. We were told that we didn't have to hurry but our car was parked at the other side of the mall and the gates were being shut down which meant we would have to walk around the entire mall area to get to the car.

Well, I didn't rush, didn't feel panic, just ate my food. I chewed and tasted. The cleaner cleaned under me! I still sat and enjoyed my food. **** can't walk well and was feeling sick. I didn't feel anger or meanness or anything. Just a lack of hurry! Yea! Choice that I never saw before."

And this next one so touched my heart that reading it caused me to immediately burst into tears, so much so, I had to stand and walk and cry for a few minutes.

"Good Morning Steve;

I'm trying not to make any excuses for being behind on this project. My time to access the computer is limited. I have been carrying a memo book to record my observations. The most interesting thing that has come out of these past four days is that I'm sleeping through the night. I have not had an unbroken sleep in years."

What is significant here is that the changes these people are reporting are not coming from the use of will power to enforce new mental information over their behaviors. They are coming from new choices which have emerged in them and so, these behaviors are now their natural responses in these particular situations.

This, by the way, is the main difference between emergence and other helping disciplines: with emergence, the only change which is seen as genuine healing is that a new, more loving self behavior becomes natural, as opposed to a new, more loving behavior appears because the person uses will power to override a non-loving behavior.

Exhausting, this will power thing, and for those who are new to emergence, I call this use of will power, "doing damage control"; hardly the way for a person to live a happy life.

Finally, the following two, "third type of consciousness" replies come from a man who has been seeing me only a few months and yet, his ability to see details related to his eating are incredible.

"I noticed when I take a bite of food I tend to look side to side to see if anybody saw me take the bite. I also noticed I tend to hurry to get the food, swallow before I fully chew and feel guilt afterwards. Scene emerged: I was about 6 years old standing in the kitchen of our home. The kitchen has dark brown cabinets with this orange flowered wall paper. I am standing in front of the double oven looking up at the cabinet above the oven, as this is where my mom kept the goodie food like cookies, potato chips, etc. It was after dinner and my bath as I can see myself in pajamas an my hair is damp. I was wearing white pajamas. I can remember asking my mom for the cookies, feelings of fear to ask. Standing there looking up like a dog begging for some scraps at the table. I remember my mom getting annoyed and opening the cabinet abruptly and getting three cookies out and giving them to me in a non-loving way and saying 3 cookies is all I was allowed to have. There was a whole package of cookies in the cabinet} I can remember the feeling of "I just did something wrong" and starting to cry. Now I hear my mom getting "annoyed" with my crying and telling me to stop crying, what are you crying about, there is no reason to cry. I am having a difficult time seeing my mom i.e. what she is wearing, her face, her eyes, hair or facial expressions."

And ...

"I noticed I tend to focus on my food-zero in-go into shock while I'm eating. Tune everything and everyone out and concentrate, really concentrate, on my food and finishing my food. Scene emerged: I was about 6 years old again, and I was watching TV with my dad in the bedroom. I am sitting on the bed and my dad was laying to my left. My mom just made this big pot of popcorn and my dad has a big bowl and I have a smaller one. The popcorn did not have butter and very little salt. I don't remember what we were watching. I can see my father eating the popcorn. he is putting it in his mouth a whole hand full at a time. He is laying there with the pillow propped up behind him, his hair is damp from his shower and he is laying in his underwear half under the covers. I am watching him eat his popcorn, his eyes focused on the TV now I can see the news on TV. I can remember watching him as he finished his bowl and him turning to look at mine. oh boy I see black circles for his eyes. That's when he started to eat mine. I can see him taking the popcorn a whole fist at a time. I had a small bowl and with about 3 or 4 handfuls my bowl was gone. I just remember a feeling of sadness and loss."

What will be the ultimate outcome of this man's experiences? I can not say as yet. I only know, five years into my work with emergence, that experiences such as these inevitably mark new entries into healing and increases in the person's levels of self love.

And to all of you on this, Day Five, I wish for you the experience today of gentle attention, both in and around eating and around the whole rest of your day.

God bless,

Steven

P.S. I almost forgot. I have begun to post our experiences on my site, as best I can. To be honest, there is so much I am a little overwhelmed. But in the very best way possible.

In any event, the URL is: http://TheEmergenceSite.com/TransFoodMonthMain.htm . Know that you will be able to access the whole month's experiences through this page.

Day 6: November 6

Day 6. Day Six begins. What an amazing experience this is becoming for me. And although I am no newcomer to miracles, still, I had no idea how wonderfully this event would unfold.

Back on day one I mentioned this month's goal; to reclaim whatever conscious access we each lost to the joy we experienced when we first ate. I also mentioned I had lost quite a bit of weight but said I mentioned this weight loss only because it flew in the face of what people believe as far as nutrition and weight and all that.

I, myself, have not been any where near as concerned with weight loss during this journey as I have been with learning to love eating consciously; in effect, to emerge from the internal war I have been in for so many years. Despite this fact, though, that this month is not focused on weight loss, yesterday, someone else reported what may be the beginning of a similar experience for her as far as weight loss. Her comments say it all:

Hi Steven,

Sounds like you're BUSY... but happy! I'm glad this is going so well for you! :) It really is soooooo interesting! Thank you again for all of your help! You really are a WONDERFUL PERSON! <g>

GUESS WHAT????????????? I already lost 2 pounds... isn't that amazing!!??? I haven't been walking or dieting or limiting portions or anything! I've even been eating "junk food" and all the food that's considered "BAD".... and I still LOST WEIGHT!! HOORAY!! I sure hope this continues!!

I'm not ready to send you my day 5 report yet cuz I haven't eaten yet but I wanted to tell you some things I've been thinking... if that's OK?

The thing that helps me most of all is reading other people's observations because it makes me realize different things I've observed and scenes I've seen... and have forgotten... until I read what other's have written.. and then it reminds me... I really think I go into shock as I am actually eating because I remember so little of the actual experience of putting food into my mouth and swallowing... I usually only remember actually trying to swallow when I'm going so fast that it's difficult to get the food down... then I'm aware of it... otherwise... nothing... 'til the food is gone... then I usually feel guilty... guilty about WHAT I ate or how much I ate... and saying over and over... I have to do GOOD... I have to lose weight!!

AND... scenes have been popping into my head left and right... at all times and places... so many that I forget half of them... until I read someone else's and it triggers my memory... ALSO... my scenes aren't as horrible or traumatic as other people's scenes... my parents were very loving and it makes me feel guilty to share such little things that put me into shock when other people were treated so badly... I'm sorry!!

Of course, her emergences also say a lot is happening for her, and most likely, these emergences are responsible for her weight loss. Or maybe not. Admittedly, it is far too soon to draw any conclusions. But shock is shock, and anything or anyone in shock, no matter to what degree they are in shock, will lose access to some degree of their normal life skills, whether this refers to a single cell, or to a whole country, or to a human body trying to handle food.

This leads me to what may be the next obvious place to learn about; the other end of the continuum of consciousness; shock. So, we have been looking to discover things we have never consciously noticed before; to become conscious of the details in and around eating. And what has prevented us from seeing these details? Again, shock.

How, then, do you know when you are in shock; meaning, when you are to some degree not conscious? Let's start with the simplest thing to know about shock: that shock is simply any detachment from the current life event. This detachment can be mental, or emotional, or the combined experience that I call nature.

Thus, any and all detachment is shock to some degree, which is essentially why people can have such a hard time knowing they are in shock. For example, the most common experience of shock is when someone is mentally aware but emotionally unaware. Many of the reports you all are sending me contain discoveries which became visible only when you momentarily saw though the emotional fog which has obscured these details for all these years. These discoveries, then, often involve events which you have mentally known about for your whole life. They simple never had much significance.

Actually, though, for now, it would probably be best if you just gave this idea, that of being in shock in and around eating, a little time to sink in. And for those who are somewhat further along in knowing when you are in shock, it still wouldn't hurt to set aside what you already know and look deeper for a bit. You never know what treasure you might find.

Changing the subject now, another thing which has surprised me is the content of peoples' reports. I expected (but not necessarily wanted) many, many more disclosures like the following one:

I don't like to eat in front of other people... especially people I don't know very well or people I don't like very much (people who are critical and always make comments, etc.)

I've always... since I can remember... joked about food... and how much I eat and WHAT I eat... it's like I have to make jokes about it before other people get the chance!

I've always been obsessed with food... either talking about it, or cooking it or EATING it, or joking about it, or DIETING, DIETING, DIETING (I've been on diets since I was in 7th grade!)... and telling others about this diet or that diet... cutting out recipes, reading books, watching TV shows and info-mercials, etc.

I ALWAYS FEEL FAT!!! No matter how much or how little I weigh and I always defend (quite vehemently) people who have problems with their weight!!

I always thought food was my only friend... and I always thought I enjoyed eating so much... UNTIL NOW... ever since making these observations before, during, and after eating... I'm starting to realize that I don't enjoy food anywhere near as much as I thought I did... it seems to be more of a source of discomfort and sadness... and hurry up and get it over with and feel guilty after... type of thing... than a source of comfort and of joy... as I once thought..."

Here, actually, is where the work really belongs for many of us; healing the self hate which lives and speaks so loudly inside many of us.

Can you imagine an infant being worried about weight gain? Or about the nutritional value of what is being eaten. Ridiculous. So why is it so many of us come to feel this way? (and please, don't even think of actually answering this question.)

Here again, if you actually did have answers come to mind, please just set them aside for now and allow for the possibility that what we all discover this month may possibly change some of these beliefs. And heal some hidden heartache. I certainly hope so anyway.

In truth, if the answers many have already offered us as to why we struggle with food were true, why is it so many people still struggle?

In truth, these answers almost always include some form of blame, regardless of whether it is dressed up in kindness or not. And anything which blames anyone or anything is at least partially false. Certainly, conclusions based on such beliefs are flawed to say the least.

If you are now having trouble understanding what I am saying about blame, try picturing the little boy in the next report:

Steve, I may be jumping the gun a little but I believe I have started this at the perfect time with the perfect meal. First of all I was feeling a little anxious about the thought of eating and remembered t check your e-mail. I read though your introduction and the first 2 days assignments. I knew before reading that I was hungry and 'anxious' because the meal was to be stew. The feeling of anxiousness was definitely in my stomach, nervous energy and a feeling of hurry to eat. The feeling grew as I read to a point as to compel me to print out the rest of the week instructions so I could heat my meal and eat. Why so much and strong an urge? There is a connection with the stew itself and its meaning?

My mothers stew was a family favorite. The experience of getting enough of what I liked in the stew came to light. I remember being very careful when taking the stew out of the big bowel, being very nervous, with all the family watching to make sure I did not take to much. Also of waiting my turn to take from the big bowel to my plate. True anxiety was experience in the act of taking the stew from the bowel. The next experience came with the ketchup. I never noticed the anxiousness and hurry over getting and feeling embarrassment over the amount of ketchup I took. There was hardly ever enough ketchup in our house as a child. The act of taking ketchup was probably observed and scrutinized more closely than anything else at the dinner table. How many times did my mother add a little water to the bottle to make it last through dinner? The whole meal was experienced 'in shock mode'

The only real taste I was most able to experience tonight was the ketchup. Of course, at home, I remember eating fast in part to be able to get the 'seconds' I wanted.

There is more to this however that needs to be explored. However the stew meal tonight was a great place to start. It is so tied in to family. Take care, ****

So many of us as children suffered in and around food. And most of this suffering had little to nothing to do with being "abused" by anyone. In fact, most of these wounding scenes are relatively ordinary events.

Why, then, has no one seen this connection before? Perhaps, because the theorists which try to tell us what to do were hurt just as badly as the rest of us.

And why have I been the one to see it finally? Only the Universe knows for sure.

Finally, please remember to be extra kind and gentle to yourselves today, especially before, during, and after eating. You may be the strong competent adults you have all worked so hard to become, but this does not heal or even honor the wounded little boys and girls who live inside of you all.

Be kind to them. Be kind to you.

And God Bless you all,

Steven

Day 7: November 7

Day 7. What an intense experience this first week has been, even for me, a person who is used to being knee-deep in life experiences and in other peoples' emergences. I also feel so privileged to be having you all share so honestly and openly with me, and to have access to your responses all at once.

I am also feeling a little guilty for not being able to post all these responses in a more timely manner. And for not being able to answer them all personally.

A little guilty is better than a lot, though. And I will post these responses eventually when I can get the time to organize them.

By the way, once again, for those interested, the address for the Food Month Index page on my site is: HTTP://TheEmergenceSite.com/TransFoodMonthMain.htm .

In my own work this week, I had an intensely painful and totally unexpected realization, this one in and around taking vitamins. Those who know me personally know I am into taking the vitamins and nutrients I need for the day twice a day, morning and night, and that I keep them, the whole slew of jars and containers and such, on the shelf over my kitchen sink.

Part of why I do this is because I do not want to worry about whether I am getting enough nutrition from the food I eat, thus, taking these supplements actually helps me to eat more consciously as I do not have the question, "am I getting enough nutrition?," rolling around inside me as I eat.

Anyway, my emergence centered around the little ritual I have in the AM in which I lay my vitamins and nutrients out for the day. I usually divide each day's capsules and pills into two Japanese tea cups, one of which I take in the AM and the other which I take at night. And for some reason, over the past few days, I have increasingly noticed how nervous and anxious I get as I reach for the containers and put the pills into the tea cups. In fact, in the past two days, I have actually noticed that my hands shake a little and that I often drop some of the capsules on the counter top. Also, sometimes, I drop the container lids in the process of screwing them back onto the containers. Weird.

Yesterday, then, I decided to slow this process down a bit and to try to be more conscious as to what was behind all this anxiety. As I then reached up to get the next container, a scene emerged.

In this scene, I am fourteen. It is late at night and everyone in the house is asleep. I see myself standing in the bathroom and as I stand there, I see myself nervously reaching into my bathroom medicine cabinet, taking jars of prescription pills down and hurriedly opening them.

I realize that this is the night my first serious girlfriend had left and that in this moment, I was deciding whether or not to kill myself. I guess my plan was to take as many pills as I could, hoping I wouldn't wake up. Obviously, someone intervened as I am, thank God, still here.

But I must have been wounded in the moment in which I reached up to grab the first pills, and I think what happened was I became suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I really did want to die; that I was about to kill myself and did not want to be saved, and every time since, when I take my vitamins or pills of anything similar, I must be reliving this terrible moment, hands shaking and all.

How was I this morning after having this scene emerge? Better. But the nervousness is still there to some extent. Even so, I know all to well that this BLock will continue to heal each and every time I pay conscious attention to my actions in this scene.

On a much more positive note, some people are already sending me things in which the evidence of healing is there, slow though they can come at times. And although few people actually recognize these moments as true healing, still, they are healing none the less.

The following is a good example:

Steve: This is actually day three of my exploration. I am much more aware of 'hurry' surrounding eating. ... the hurry was still there but probably not as much. I was also more aware of eating as well as my surroundings.

I had stew again last night. Less hurried and slightly more enjoyable than the night before. Certainly more aware that there is no competition for food. This morning I had an image of how my brother cleans his plate using his finger and how much that bothers me, even as I write this.

These changes in this man's consciousness ARE the healing, and the proof is the increase in self love apparent even without the word, "love" being written.

Another example is:

**** is happy with our compromise and we finish the meal. But I realize the eating got lost in the small conflict about the air conditioners.

In retrospect, looking back at this, it reminds me of my parents arguing and fussing about their plans for the day. They never could agree on their plans and so the breakfast table was a good place for them to start their fights, which sometimes could last all day.

And from the same person:

I feel that I eat to get energy, because I must. Sometimes it's a chore. I don' t like the stomach aches I get sometimes. Most of the time, I'm too involved in something else to concentrate on food.

I was always like this-- almost never focused on food. It's boring to think about food. It's necessary; that's it. It's a royal pain in the butt. I would much rather eat just when there's something nice to eat and I want to eat-- not because I have to eat because I need energy or have to stuff my face in order to go out.

The EMOTION I feel is annoyance, anger. What a bother. I don't know why eating should make me angry except that it's such a waste of time. I could think of many other things I would rather do, such as sleep, talk, read, work, whatever.

And I hate it because of the stomach aches. The image that comes to my head is waking up in the middle of the night and trying to make myself burp or throw up by sticking my legs against the wall with my head on the bed and trying to get rid of the stomachaches. Those stomach aches make me very angry because it's not fair to have to eat and then get these pains.

Realizations such as this, wherein something painful from the present gets connected to something painful in the past are almost always doorways into healing. Is this the actual healing though? Sometimes. But only if the experience is both head and heart in the same instant. In this case, then, I am pretty certain that having these recognition's emerge has helped this person to heal at least some part of her wounds in and around eating.

And yet one more evidence of healing is:

Day Six

When I am eating alone, I have a tendency to concentrate more on the experience of eating. At first I thought it was because when I ate with others, I was just distracted with conversation. I am realizing now that it is pretty uncomfortable to eat in front of others. I am always feeling like people are judging what food choices I've made, as well as the ridiculous thought that others are keeping track of how much I've eaten. When I am in a group, I'll always eat less because I'm thinking that others will think things like "what a pig!". I think I am finally beginning to make better choices because I am becoming more aware. Tonight I had the opportunity to eat much more for dinner than I had, but chose not to because I didn't want to feel bad afterwards. I also chose to eat a healthy snack instead of cookies for the same reason. In addition, I found enough motivation to exercise tonight, something I haven't done in months!

I don't know about you all, but every time I hear people say, I did something I haven't been able to do in ...," my heart just fills with beyond words stuff. Bravo to all of you brave explorers.

And finally,

Hello Steve ...

I want to express to you how beautifully intense this first week has been for me... I had always felt that eating was not an issue that I had addressed as deeply as I would have liked in my therapy... this has been so deep for me... each time I write, it's a discovery... an unveiling... having your daily encouragement and seeing other peoples experiences has been so comforting...

I have always had an aversion to keeping a diary, so this has been a new discovery for me... the discipline to just sit down and reach for myself...

this is beautiful...

thank you... thank you... thank you, Steve ...

And thank you all, for taking the time to give so much to me.

God Bless,

Steven


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