No rigid rules, labels or dogmas.... just REAL food, for your body, mind & soul!
Something I've been thinking about recently is how as certain alternative practices or viewpoints become more mainstream, the quality or feeling they hold or the values they are coming from can shift. I was thinking about how something like yoga, which used to be thought of as sedate and relaxing is now something some people force themselves to do because it's good for them. I sometimes have this "should" attitude towards it as well.
When I went raw, my father kept telling me how much he admires me because I have so much discipline. I found this ironic because he and I have always been at odds - his attitude towards everything is very much about pushing, exerting, forcing etc. and my preferred mode is about alignment, enlightenment and connection. He didn't get that for me, choosing raw food was a loving act for myself. In addition, it was a way of differentiating myself from my family's way of doing things - push through things at all cost, no matter what it does to your body or soul - 'Who cares, just get it done!'. I wanted to be grounded not rushed, peaceful not anxious, nourished not starving for nutrients.
This week for some reason I was reading about people recovering from eating disorders. I picked up a book about a dancer with anorexia who became an expressive arts therapist after she lost all the cartilage in her knees through undernourishing and overdancing. I also happened to read some accounts online of people who found a vegan diet part of their path to healing their eating disorders which isn't deemed the best idea because it also involves restricted eating. As I read their accounts I thought that whatever the diet someone chose, the important part is that it was coming from a loving nourishing impulse inside them rather than a controlling punishing one.
So people can choose what outside looks like the same "healthful" action, but the process can be totally different depending on the 'subpersona' that's driving the action. I suppose this is what differentiates an expertise or commitment to healthy eating from orthorexia (OCD-like obsession with healthy eating). If you are committed to a certain diet you have to find ways of sticking with your plan while in relationship with others, while from the other position you might be using your diet as a way of shutting the world out because it's not controllable. Some people have trouble sticking with the commitment and others need the commitment to cope. I think we all often have to negotiate opposing dynamics inside us.
A tool that I use in my own personal healing and embed in my healing work, is the inner voice dialogue model. It theorizes that we are all a collection of many (often archetypal) selves that have developed to help us survive at different points, but they don't all get along all the time. When we have inner conflict it's often because there is a gridlock between selves around a specific issue. They name these selves things like the Child, the Pusher, the Inner Critic. I've found selves in myself like the Monk, the Hunter, the Strategist. The idea is to let each of them speak and present their valid perspective, and to have an adult ego that stands outside of any one self but navigates between them, balancing all views.
I thought I'd put these thoughts out there in case it helps anyone, because the question of how do you do the inner work so that the healthy lifestyle actions grow out of a ground of loving yourself, could be helped along by talking to these inner personas. The parts that seem to be sabotaging us sometimes, are usually trying to help us, but they just happen to have a limited perspective.