By Molly Patrick
Oct 6, 2018
If you no longer reached for food when you felt lonely, bored, sad, scared, stressed or antsy, what would you do instead? Is there even a reason to do anything?
These are questions worth pondering.
We all get lonely, bored, sad, stressed and antsy from time to time. This is inevitable. It’s how we respond to these feelings that paints the picture of our life.
Do we grab a pint of ice cream and a spoon then plop down in front of the television when we feel lonely, or do we sit in that loneliness and simply experience the sensation?
Do we turn to chips when we’re bored, or do we go outside and observe nature?
Do we eat cookies when we’re sad, or do we get into a warm bath and allow ourselves to cry?
Do we avoid batch cooking, and instead buy packaged food when we have fear looming over us, or do we feel the fear and make the choice to take care of ourselves anyway by getting in our kitchen?
Do we eat the entire box of crackers dipped in cashew cheese when we’re stressed, or do we take a moment and do some stretches?
Do we pop popcorn in the microwave when we’re feeling antsy, or do we visit our meditation cushion?
A lot of people (including myself sometimes) try to make themselves feel better without thinking too much about it. We feel a feeling that doesn’t feel good and we quickly try to fix it, numb it, push it away, and make it better. And in trying to make it better, we turn to things that might actually make it worse.
We can never stop loneliness, boredom, sadness, fear, or uncertainty permanently. Even if we do put a Band-Aid on these feelings, they will eventually return. As long as we are alive, they must.
Relying on Netflix, potato chips, cookies, siblings, best friends, phones, partners, pets, chocolate, alcohol, cheese, and Facebook to make ourselves feel better when things get uncomfortable is an unfair and unrealistic ask.
We must find a way to fill ourself up with so much light and love and worth and respect that when we sense those familiar uncomfortable feelings, we relax, observe, breathe, feel, sit back and ride the wave until it passes and a new feeling emerges. Instead of reacting and trying to fix, we sit and breathe. We notice. And before we know it, the uncomfortable feeling changes and we carry on with our day.
How you go about filling yourself up with light and love and worth and self-respect is totally unique to you, and it’s a job that can never be checked off from your to-do list because for as long as you live, it will be ongoing.
What works for me might not work for you and what works for you might not work for me. And that’s just fine, we’re all different. Maybe going to church or temple fills you up. Maybe it’s walking outside in nature on a regular basis that does it for you. Maybe it’s going to yoga. Maybe it’s making steel cut oats. Maybe it’s sitting in front of your favorite plant and reading about Buddhism. Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s volunteering. Maybe it’s meditation. Maybe it’s stretching and breath work. Maybe it’s batch cooking. Maybe it’s setting healthy boundaries. Maybe it’s doing meaningful work that helps other people. Maybe it’s dancing naked under the full moon.
I don’t believe that one thing alone can fill us up with light and love and worth, it must be a combination of things that work in harmony together. If there are things in your life that are going against this harmony, that’s the perfect place to start letting go and making a different choice because these are the things (or people) that are no longer serving you.
For me, it was drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. After I quit those two things I moved closer to being in harmony. But like most paths of self discovery, this led to more realizations about how I was self destructive in ways I didn’t even realize. So I examined some more, tweaked, let go, and got even closer to being in harmony.
Bit by bit you go, until pretty soon you no longer search for things or people or food to fill you up and soothe you when you feel lonely, bored, sad, scared, stressed or antsy because YOU are already full and bursting with so much light and love and worth and self-respect that you can ride the wave and feel all the feels until they fade and a new feeling washes over you.
Talk to me in the comments below and tell me one thing that is getting in your way of filling your beautiful self up.
- 1 loaf 100% whole wheat or sprouted bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup diced yellow onion (130g)
- 1 cup diced celery (135g)
- 1 medium-sized fennel bulb (stalk, ends, and core removed), diced (shave off any brown spots on outside of bulb with a knife)
- 8 oz diced button mushrooms (about 2 1/2 cups / 180g)
- 1 medium-sized apple, diced (any variety will do, but Granny Smith, Macintosh, Honeycrisp or Jonagold work well)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (about 5 turns)
- 8 dried figs, diced (stems removed and discarded)
- 1/4 cup loosely packed chopped parsley (5g)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary (crush with the back of a spoon or with a mortar and pestle)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock or water (710ml)
- Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Place the cubed bread onto a baking sheet and spread in a single layer. Bake for 10 – 13 minutes, stirring once, midway through baking, so the bread pieces get evenly toasted. You want the cubes to be completely dry and crunchy. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. When done, remove from oven and set aside for now. Keep the oven set at 350°F (175°C).
- Heat a medium-large pot over medium heat and add the onion, celery and fennel and cook, stirring frequently until the veggies begin to soften, about 5 minutes. If the veggies begin to stick, add a tablespoon of stock or water and stir.
- Add the mushrooms, apple, garlic, salt and pepper and continue stirring until the mushrooms become soft and tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the figs, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and oregano and mix well. Add the toasted bread and gently stir.
- Pour the vegetable stock (or water) into the pot and stir, incorporating all of the ingredients together. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes uncovered, or until the top is lightly browned.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with taking responsibility for filling YOURSELF up.