There is a huge disconnect in our culture between the mind and the body. Very few of us recognize that the body is a part of who we are. We don’t think “my body IS me.” Rather, we think “my body AND me,” with “me” being the mind.
If we don’t like our bodies, what we are really saying is that we don’t like ourselves. This disconnect started when we were young. We weren’t told that our feelings were okay and normal, and that feelings are actually experienced as physical sensations within the body. And so we retreated to the safe refuge of our minds at an early age. Combine this lack of framework for understanding our physical selves with the “quick fix” advil pain-relief society we grew up and live in, and no wonder we don’t know how to live as one in our bodies.
I remember when eating was the only way I knew how to calm the sheer panic being experienced in my body. It literally felt like a giant wave was building in size and gaining momentum, ready to crash down upon me at any moment. I really didn’t know how to be present for this – it was terrifying! I had no frame of reference to understand that what I was actually experiencing was a feeling trying desperately to get my attention so it could be felt, healed, and released.
Similarly, when I had issues with my thyroid, I remember framing my language as though my thyroid had taken on a life of its own, an independent entity, and I was simply a witness along for the ride. “My thyroid is going too fast and I’m working to balance it” I would tell friends. But a quick look at my life would suggest that what I really should have been saying was “I am going too fast and I need to find balance in my life.”
We are one and the same. We are not separate from our bodies. When we detach and try to silence our bodies, we abuse them. We overeat when we aren’t connected to sensations of hunger and fullness. We find ways to numb because we don’t know how to experience emotions that are expressed through uncomfortable physical sensations in the body. I heard a wonderful quote recently at a talk given by Guru Dev Singh that speaks to this detached relationship between the mind and the body: “Pain is okay. It is YOU that is not okay [with pain].”
Be aware of your language and how you self-identify. Is your body YOU, or is it a separate entity? Then, start to listen to what the body is trying to tell you. You’ll realize it is actually on your team! When we listen, we discover that our bodies are a source of valuable information, and a wise guide to healing and wholeness.
How are some of the ways you can be more present in your body? Pausing throughout a meal to check in with how full you feel? Long deep breathing? Yoga? Stretching? Find a way that feels right and try it! And then try these lentil cashew burgers – they’re delicious!
Curry Cashew Burger Extravaganza
The original recipe for these came from eatingwell.com – I’ve tweaked it a bit to be a tad less complicated and higher in protein. These patties won’t be seeing a BBQ grill, but they still make a tasty summer dinner in a pita with veggies and a cool coconut raita served on top. Bon apps!
2 medium sized carrots, grated
1 ½ cups red lentils cooked and cooled
½ a red onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp curry paste (or try making your own using 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp curry powder and 1 tsp salt)
½ cup raw, unsalted cashews
½ cup bread crumbs (I make my own using sprouted grain bread and always have some on-hand in the fridge.
Get out the old food processor; it’ll make these a cynch! Whiz the onion and garlic until finely minced. Add carrots (or grate them in using the grater blade – love those food processors!), lentils and curry paste. Whir until ingredients are well-blended. Add the cashews and pulse 3-4 times to gently chop the cashews (you still want them chunky).
Empty mixture into a bowl and mix in 1/3 cup of the bread crumbs. Heat some olive or grapeseed oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Using your hands, form the mixture into patties, then coat both sides with remaining bread crumbs by gently pressing each side of the patty on a plate of the crumbs. Place on the hot pan and cook for 5-7 minutes until brown and crispy. Gently flip burgers and cook on the other side for another 3 minutes. Remove and serve!