I caught up on my blog reading today. These two struck me where I'm vulnerable right now.
I hereby agree, from this day forward, to fully participate in life on earth. I agree to inhabit the appropriate vehicle for such participation - a body. As a requisite for the sustaining of that body, and of the life that dwells therein, I agree to be an eater. This agreement fully binds me for the duration of my stay on earth.
As an eater, I agree to hunger. I agree to have a body that needs food. I agree to eat food. I recognize that as the biological need to eat is fulfilled with greater awareness and efficiency, the benefits of my well-being will increase. I further acknowledge that ignorance of the eating process may cause undesirable consequences.
Because the essence of my participation in life is one of learning and exploration, I agree to experience uncertainty as an eater. I recognize there are a great variety of foods to choose from, and I may not know which to eat. I may have a choice of different nutritional approaches, and not know which to follow. I may have an assortment of habits, and not know how to manage them. I recognize that my relationship to food is a learning process, and I will inevitably make mistakes. Therefore, as an eater, I agree to accept my humanness and learn as I go along.
I acknowledge that as the body changes from infancy to old age, so will the eating process change. I recognize that my body may call for different foods as the days, seasons, and years progress. My dietary needs will also shift in accord with changes in my life-style and environment. I understand that there is no one perfect diet.
As an eater, I accept pain. I recognize that I may suffer pain when the body is disturbed by my choice of food or eating habits. I may also experience pain when emotional and spiritual hungers are confused with physical hunger. I further understand that eating to cure a pain cannot be remedied by eating may bring even more pain. I further agree to accept a body that is imperfect and vulnerable, that naturally decays with the passage of time. I recognize there will be moments when I am incapable of caring for it myself. I agree, then, that to live in a body is to need the help of others. I also agree to be vulnerable as an eater. I acknowledge that I will be helpless as an infant and will need to be fed. I may be equally helpless when I am old and unwell. I further recognize that even when I am fully capable, I may still need the warmth and care of someone who can feed me. Therefore, as an eater, I agree to be nourished by others.
If I have a woman's body, I acknowledge that I have a special relationship to eating and nourishment. I recognize that as a giver of life, I am the nourisher of life as well. Whether through my cooking or the milk of my body, I acknowledge that the union of food and love is a quality that marks my womanhood and has a profound effect on human-kind.
As an eater, I acknowledge the domain of the sacred. I recognize that the act of eating may be ritualized and inspired. It may be given symbolic meanings that are religious or spiritual in nature. It may even be joyous.
I further agree that eating is an activity that joins me with all humanity. I recognize that to be an eater is to be accountable for the care of the earth and its resources. I acknowledge that despite our differences, we are all ultimately nourished by the same source. As such, I agree to share.
I recognize that at its deepest level, eating is an affirmation of life. Each time I eat, I agree somewhere inside to continue life on earth. I acknowledge that this choice to eat is a fundamental act of love and nourishment, a true celebration of my existence. As a human being on earth, I agree to be an eater. I choose life again and again...
Nourishing the Soul posted this response from a reader:
"This eater feels shaken. Feels jolted. I can intellectualize my body’s need for food — its inability to go on without nourishment. But I don’t like to admit it. I didn’t want to be reminded of my humanness — my weakness and fragility. So I manipulated it.
I used food to prove that my life was in my hands. I could choose to sustain it or to starve it away. And so I chose to waste. Waste my resources, my body, my relationship. Deprive them all as I watched them dwindle away. I learned that starvation takes away all ability — steals my capacity to move, think, sleep, love.
I can’t starve my body without starving my soul. I starve and I quickly whittle away my logic, my passion, my desire. I believe that I am mighty. That I don’t need the things that all others need — I am the exception in a scenario of no exceptions. I believe that I am not an eater, a feeler, a bearer of life, until I don’t want to be the exception anymore. I want to need food to live, but I don’t want to live.
And then I am re-introduced to life, and curiosity, and pain. To humanity, to weakness, and to strength. To the overwhelming world of eaters. My brain still battles my body. Once a month I am reminded that I somehow came to sustain my life again, and I feel simultaneous joy and suffering. Relief and fear. My heart beats, my hair grows, my body offers to house another. I am alive because I am an eater — or I am an eater because I am alive.
Perhaps the choice is not about eating or not eating, but about living or not living. Embracing life or rejecting it. itching in a basement, all sources of light blocked out by opaque bags installed, but failing to keep the bugs off of my skin, or stepping out into a lawn of weeds and blooms to feel the sun warm my skin.
I eat for that warmth. I eat to experience the sunrise reflected on the Rocky Mountains outside my window. I eat to stand at the tops of those mountains, and to rest peacefully in my bed afterwards. I eat to embrace my mother and connect with my father. I eat to laugh with my brother. I eat to accept I am imperfect, and to acknowledge the beauty of that. I eat to enjoy a moment. I eat to solve a puzzle, read a book, write a poem. I eat to be curious, eat to learn, eat to inquire and desire. I eat to believe, I eat to breathe. I eat to live.
I eat because I am an eater.
I eat because I have a soul, and I have come to learn that I can’t be a soul without a body.
I eat because I want to learn to celebrate my existence. I eat because it doesn’t matter who I was yesterday, and I want to discover who I will be tomorrow. I eat because some days, some moments I hunger for life. I eat to give the hunger space to grown until it’s satisfied. Reappear and be satiated once again.
And again. And again.
I eat to say that I am okay with this hunger.
I eat to say I am okay."