As we begin to clean up the food aspect of our lives, other areas that need attention may come into focus.
For me, one of those major areas was money. It was an area I could not have dealt with before I became honest about my relationship with food and began doing significant work to solve for it.
Charles Duhigg developed the concept of keystone habits, and that got me thinking about the hierarchy of habits. (As it turns out, I’m not the first one to think of this).
In the hierarchy of habits, care for our bodies comes before care for the mind or the spirit. Have you ever thought that one of your problems must be psychological or spiritual – only to get enough sleep one night – or start eating healthy – and realize that the original problem is gone?
Sometimes going back to the base, or the foundation of our wellbeing, solves for much of what sits above it.
What can also happen, is that once we solve some of these foundational issues, we are shown issues in other, higher levels that were inaccessible to us until we solved for the more foundational piece.
For me, once I woke up out of the constant spell of food addiction, I came to realize that my money life needed serious care. I also realized that, now that my self-esteem was improving as a result of treating myself better, I was beginning to feel like I actually deserved to have a money garden – what Hiro Boga calls, “provision.” A supply of resources that were supportive to me, my dreams, and what I care about.
Money and provision, at their core, allow us to create more of what we deem important in this world. They can be used for further addiction – or they can be used as powerful tools to build, create, institute and fund what we believe to be of utmost important. We can use money to support what we value in real, tangible ways in this world.
And, many of us grew up with the message that money was the “root of all evil,” or that being a good person meant not desiring abundance in this area.
Now, as adults, we have the opportunity to ask ourselves whether we want to continue believing that assessment or not.
Now, as adults, we get to make our own values.
My main message in this post, I think, is even above and beyond money to communicate that inner work begets inner work. If we take the series of steps that it takes to heal ourselves from food addiction, true to the hierarchy of habits, we’ll finally be given access to other parts of our lives that we may have not even known were out of order or needed care. Even more importantly, we may not have even known we cared about them, but now we do.
Freeing ourselves up from food addiction frees up a lot of energy for other projects, and we are given the chance to experience what being human is truly about – to us. Our definition. Do you want to read or write poetry? Finally learn advanced calculus? Give a TED talk? These are all ways of enjoying being human, and using our energy in ways that lift us up without crashing us down on the other side.
I believe it’s not just self-identified food addicts that are taking this journey, this leap into using our energy in ways that don’t create pain on the other side. I believe it’s a global, human journey that we are undertaking at this moment in history. Learning to receive gratification from doing good in this world, uplifting others, growing something of value, and testing the limits of our potential – instead of instant gratification – is a path I believe we are collectively on.
More than anything, I want you to know that there is a life on the other side of food addiction recovery, a life that involves waking up to all the many gardens of your life – including money, relationship, creativity, and more – and becoming the loving tender of them all.