Our first food choices generally came from parental conditioning. Then, as a teen, we often ate what everyone else ate, in order to fit in. Mid-life stress, anger, frustration, and various relationships, led to unhealthy choices, because of stress, frustration, and anger..aka hangry. Now it's time to get in touch with yourself, not a list of diet foods.
Most often one’s mom offers the first food that we take in. This act most usually takes place with love and joy. There is so much beauty in the moment and it drives the mom to a deeper place of seeing and feeling. She has given birth to a new life. In many ways, the baby’s presence leads the mom to see life through a new lens. It’s her self-discovery and a redefining moment from within to be more loving and intuitively wiser, while most everything previously adhered to is closely re-examined.
Many times, I vividly recall my mom describing me. She’d say, “When I first looked at you all I saw was a long scrawny-skinny baby, with straggly hair!” That scrawny-skinny baby quickly grew into the filled-out baby she expected to see. It took years to move past her description of me. Fortunately, her account led me to question who and what I was really supposed to be.
How true is this scenario for most of us? Our mom’s words stay with us. Together we begin a new journey seeking to understand the what, who, and why of being. In the context of body and self-awareness, I invite everyone to reflect on first foods or moments of body awareness, in order to gain insight into what shapes our thoughts, food related habits, and mom-memories. For example, I now remember my mom always saying “I’ll walk.” Looking back, I see how she valued walking. At times, she may have gained five pounds, but it was never there for long. She cooked pies and ate one piece. She fried chicken or mixed-up home-made bread and ate one piece. However, I never really paid much attention to her eating and exercise habits until I was an overweight teen. My mom was clearly aware when I gained weight, although she didn’t verbalize her dislike of it, but I felt it. Today, I call it mother’s critical eye.
Looking back, I see her as a great role model and I missed the cues! For most of her adult life, she biked or walked every day. She cooked the best chocolate pies and fried chicken for friends and family. I don’t recall her ever having a second helping. She followed intermittent fasting before it was ever named. My mom didn’t eat after six o’clock unless she was playing cards, and then, it was a light snack of popcorn or a bit of ice cream. Later in life and up to her last day, her caretakers commented on her body and her skin’s radiance.
Sharing this reflection is an invitation to examine first comments, who said what about you and how they describe you. Reflect on the what, who, and why of your lived experience. In what way does mother’s critical eye impact your self-awareness today?
My Me-Mom story is a testimony to the value of self-inquiry, self-awareness, and self-discovery. These questions and what they offer inspire me to dedicate the framework of this program to my mom.