So much of this process is about learning myself, and being with foods (and ways of eating them) with which I can be at ease. Ease has seldom been a component of my relationship with food, myself, or much else, for that matter.
Buddhists talk a lot about how we humans want certainty, predictability, a stable ground on which to stand. And, they tell us, there is no such thing: Nothing is constant, the ground always shifts, and it is our hunger for that permanence which causes suffering. That we seek to fix: ourselves in time, the supply of whatever it is that gives us comfort or pleasure, our relationships with others and ourselves, and the way in which we view the world.
The word “fix” has been resonating for me lately. Of course I think about the way alcoholics and other addicts fix with their drug of choice. I’ve been thinking, too, of those delicate glass slides in biology classes, each with a specimen of something or other ‘fixed’ in an eternal, unchanging marriage.
And of course I think of the scores of self-improvement fixes on which I’ve embarked, and the driving way I’ve tried to fix friends and strangers by imparting (imposing) my opinions on them. So many years invested in holding ground, so many fears.
I don’t know why I was surprised to see this play out as I’ve been embarking on this new way of eating. Although I’m now eating few of the foods I used to, my range of choices is still small. I purchased the first fresh figs in my life just weeks ago. Before purchasing a new kind of squash recently, I looked around as if I was going to commit some radical act. I bought some leeks and circled them warily (as if they were space aliens: do you come in peace?) for weeks before cooking them.
Yes, I'm learning. I'm judging myself a lot less, and a lot less harshly, and that is all to the good.