Our relationship to food and our body is a rather complex one, layered like the proverbial onion, and concealed from what lies beneath like a mountain of meringue on lemon meringue pie. Naturally, I don’t profess to have it all figured out. It’s complicated (and I’ll tell you more about that later…). But I do know that nothing is as it seems. It turns out most of us have been living our whole lives following the wrong teacher. So it can come as quite a shock to learn that most of what we’ve been taught…just isn’t true! How can it be when its modus operandi is fear, often disguised as something else (another proverbial) a wolf in sheep’s clothing – so it’s not always easy to detect. Most people still get conned by it. That’s how sneaky this sleazy sheep really is!
Deep down we all know there’s something fishy going on, but we don’t want to be the one shouting, “The emperor has no clothes!”. It takes the eyes of innocence to do that.
Instead, we wear a mask, many actually, convinced as we change roles and masks, that this is just the way things are. Showing anyone, including ourselves, what’s behind the mask, what’s really on our mind buried under clouds of meringue, is just too scary. If you’ve ever spent a chunk of time watching your thoughts, you’d be amazed at the stuff you think, that you don’t know you think!
Not that a thought has the power to bring you down, but a thought, thought, again and again, becomes a belief, and those can do some serious damage if they go on undetected. Usually, it’s not until things in our life begin to fall apart that we’re finally willing, really willing, to look within.
Until then, until we get a wake-up call, we’re happy to wear our masks, afraid if we look too deeply within we’ll find ourselves seriously lacking. We’re so convinced we’re not good enough – even if we’ve achieved great success – that we dare not dig through mere clouds of meringue, so certain we’ll find mud. Now, if you’re ever bitten into a delicious piece of lemon meringue pie, you’ll know it never fails to awaken your senses with its perfect balance of tart and sweet that so innocently seduces you in sweet surrender.
Food makes a wonderful muse. I once wrote a story about the ugly tomato…you know those tomatoes with the odd shapes and forms that look nothing like the perfectly round unblemished tomatoes that get all the attention. Yet, anyone who knows and loves tomatoes knows it’s the misshaped ones, the ones that get hidden in a basket instead of getting their own display at the local supermarket, that taste the best! And those who hunt for them are willing to pay a premium for them…worts and all!
Ugly tomatoes are like the people I like best. These are the people that are so willing to show their warts, that they inspire the rest of us who don’t even want to go out of our house on a bad hair day! They demonstrate the courage we lost one day on the playground when we were provoked by the class bully. They’re not afraid to act differently from others. They know they march to a different drummer and wouldn’t want it any other way. They’ve hurt so bad, they know first hand the power of forgiveness and so they’re not afraid to love.
I didn’t fully embrace the gifts of being an ugly tomato until I was broken open one day. It was shortly after I got married to an old love who miraculously came back into my life after my husband and children’s father died. I had very different expectations of how things would be and…lets just say they were not that. I was about 38 years old and for the first time in my life, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I had everything figured out all wrong. I began to question my judgement, my faith, and just about every belief I had. I didn’t know then that this, being broken, questioning my beliefs, was a good thing. In my mind, I was Humpty Dumpty who had just fallen off the wall that was built with everything she believed in, and now she (and her beliefs) lay broken into a million pieces on the hard ground. I can be quite dramatic when I’m down.
I’ve been broken open many times since, but that time is pivotal in my memory and storyline. Since then I’ve learned not to pay any mind to anything it may think while shattered. All of our insanity comes spilling out, regurgitating nonsense embedded in our DNA from generations of shattering. And if I could remember this when in the midst of a melt-down…I’d cheer it on! I’d get up and do a happy dance. I wouldn’t be shattered longer than a moment because I’d know that something big and good would come out of this.
Now I know that my insanity, your insanity, our collective insanity is merely fear talking. He’s the monster under the bed, the “powerful” oz behind the curtain, the voice in the head that says we’re not good enough; the trickster pretending to be us! Wouldn’t you want this heist broken open? I do. The only reason it’s painful is because we resist him…just like we did the bully in the playground.
“You can’t engage crazy.” I heard a wise man once say. Surrender without a fight and watch how the shattered pieces of our lives get put back in the most perfect and miraculous ways.
Would love to hear your thoughts!
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