Environmental: Internal & External
The environments that we work in, live in or pass through daily have a significant impact on the way we feel about ourselves and in our bodies. Dr. Maslow brilliantly pointed out that human beings are herd animals — interdependent beings who seek the safety and comfort of the tribe.
Belonging, being a part of a family or faith community are important needs of all human beings. When we are living or working in environments that do not value us, do not reflect back to us our contributions or embrace us as
belonging to the group, we suffer from alienation and a sense of loss which can in turn lead to self-soothing behaviors such as starchy carbohydrate over consumption, smoking,drugs or alcohol abuse.
Likewise, we must be able to slow down and listen to what our body’s internal environment is telling us, such as when we have eaten too much or too little of certain foods, when we need to rest, relax and take time for self-care. When we choose to ask questions about what might be the unconscious cause of our behaviors — either emotional or physical — we can process this information to liberate unwanted unconscious conditioning.
One of my patients recently had a transformational experience using this listening exercise. A devoted environmentalist, Linda would become angry and upset whenever she saw someone throwing away bottles or cans instead of placing them in available recycle bins. She would pick up the discarded container and boldly put it in the recycle bin, glaring at the offending stranger as she did this.
Unfortunately, her anger and frustration would leave her with an emotional and physical “hangover” — upset stomach,aching head and a strong desire for chocolates and anything starchy.
In facilitating Linda’s process of understanding her pattern, she was invited to explore the question, “What does it feel like when I see someone ignore recycling efforts?” The answer surprised Linda because what she felt was that she, personally, was not being valued or respected. She was able to trace the feelings back to having her “Earth Mother” values mocked in high school, not only by her peers but by her siblings as well.
She was then able to understand why she reached for chocolate, which contains phenylalanine, an amino acid our brains produce when we are feeling loved and satisfied. This is the reason chocolate has long been associated with Valentine’s Day, because of its biochemical mimicking of the “love protein.”
Next Installment: Part VI- Spiritual World View
With all good wishes,
Copyright 2010 G. Donadio