Saying No to Unaligned Yeses￼
Before there is a human story there is a ground of being. When I fast I come to this ground. Subtle waves of identity evolution reach me. Not only do I cleanse my body and its miraculous biochemical pathways, but I also detox my life story. Who I think I am. Who I thought I wanted to be based upon my inherited microbiome, my familial beliefs, and the fears of culture that have accumulated. In fasting, I become clearer and can better connect the dots. I come to own more of my lived experience as a Human. I discover, again, precisely where I hunger to go next.
And when I do this in community with my intentional health inspired comrades, it’s lightning for the soul—we strike it rich, finding new vitality and direction together. In a word, it’s electric.
This time I’m also reflecting on Easeful Living as a keystone Body Thrive habit—a choice to be softer and more gentle with my inner boundary setting during intentional detox time. I have the archetypal Inner Rebel always within me. She keeps me focused on my freedom. How can I become even more sovereignand self-loving within all of my cells?
Getting lighter with meals I come to these memories: I am 12 years old when I first gather in my rebellion the ability to say NO to over-eating. It’s 1991.
My dad regularly demands that my brother and I finish all the food on our plates. Food is important to him. He genuinely puts his love into it. He’s grown up in a poor immigrant family and his mother is in the habit of saying “You don’t have a pot to piss in” like it’s her number one mantra.
One evening at dinner my dad drills us with his usual finish your food speech.
But this time I say, “NO!”
He says, “Finish your food; there are starving children in China!”
I grab a manila envelope, dump all my chicken and pasta into it, address it to “CHINA”, lick it shut, and toss it in the middle of the table. “Fine! Send it to CHINA!”
Clearly, “China” is a space inside my dad’s mind, shaped by past lived-experience, an ethos about food or the lack thereof. There are ancestral stories upon stories in this encounter. But my truth is that overeating is not working for my body.
A few years later I am with my first boyfriend. His parents are divorced and his dad is emotionally checked out after three tours in the Vietnam war. Their empty refrigerator makes a deep impression on me. There is nothing in it, save for a bottle of generic mustard or a Diet Coke. He comes to our house to eat. Maybe my dad is right, maybe I should eat all the food on my plate.
I’m 19 living in Thailand after I graduate from high school. I stay for a time at Wat Pah Nanachat International Forest Monastery. I walk barefoot at dawn through the nearby village with the ordained monks receiving alms in giant brass bowls. We bring the abundant food offerings back to the monastery to distribute for our one meal a day. In my first week I take too much food for fear of becoming hungry. I force myself to eat it all. I am sick for five days. I cannot breathe to meditate. My tissues gasp in the discomfort of excess.
I am 21 and living in a college dormitory at the University of Wisconsin. I dine three meals a day on Food Service of America cafeteria food. The trays are large. A mountain of food enters my experience. I fall asleep in composition class after overeating. I realize that food consumed beyond fullness is food wasted on my body all the same. If the food is heading to a landfill and I overeat it to stop it from going there, then I become the landfill. No thank you. Game changer!
These memories come to me as I make space in my body to redefine my identity according to my inner NO—with foods, relationships, with tasks and activities and the timing of them. Why is the NO sometimes harder to define and stand tall in? Excess appeals to our sense of value in yes and more. For me, the desire to please others has led me to many unaligned YESes. The fear of not-enough makes me say yes to things I’m not actually yearning to experience.
During this detox I arrive at my truth. No more unaligned YESes. They just become messes. And it doesn’t have to turn into a fight inside of myself, a throw down, a food stuffed envelope smacked on the table with shouting and pinched faces. Or a sacred duty to accept more into my experience than I need. Or a self-hatred induced impoverishment of imagination. I can become who I want to become.
Rhythm brings peacefulness and ease. And with ease, my Inner Rebel becomes a willing disciple of aligned FLOW. And it’s an undomesticated, uncultured flow. My flow. Inner Rebels help us keep our innate wildness intact.
Who are we now? We are the supple, unadulterated ground of the Cosmos choosing its future shape.
Go detox revelations! Go steady, ever-ready identity evolution!