Staying Human

 

I’m just back from a training in Ayurveda, the 5000 year old Indian tradition of health and healing. The focus was on the balance of the mind from an Ayurvedic perspective, with much of it centered around understanding ourselves at the level of our most basic, elemental Nature comprised of Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Space.

In other words, the things that make up not just a human being, but all of Nature. With the understanding that unless and until we see ourselves through the lens of what we are made of and how to be in harmony with that, we will suffer. That our mind will be in a state of suffering because we won’t know who we are on the most fundamental of levels. Meaning, we will seek out all the wrong things.

Juxtapose this longstanding Ayurvedic knowing that to depart from who we are and what we are made of is to be ill, against the headline I saw when I got back: New research reveals that touch may help with anxiety.

My immediate thought was, How sad it is that we now need research to justify hugs. My second thought was, This is another example of just how far we have strayed from our very existence, caught up as we are in the world of the non-human. In other words, the machines.

We have truly fallen into a dystopian “reality” where we need research outside of ourselves to prove to us that we need touch. And then we wonder why we are not doing so well. While our inflated egos might say we are the most intelligent of any civilization, interestingly enough, we find ourselves on the brink of personal and societal destruction. And not because of some outside agent like a virus or a nuclear bomb, but because of our own denial of, and departure from, our truest Nature.

We see this in the fact that despite all the technological “advances” we have never been sicker, fatter or lonelier. We have never been more at odds with the Natural world, our own bodies and the bodies of others.

We have never been more confused, child-like and afraid of Life itself in the forms of the weather, bugs, animals and all things non-man-made. And therefore out of our control. Because we keep believing that it’s just because we haven’t found the right technological fix, and that it is the next generation of technology that will save us, we miss all the answers living right under our very noses.

The answers to what ails us being the breathing of fresh, outside air. Or the way it feels for your feet to be barefoot in the earth while you feel the joy of the sun on your un-slathered skin. Or how about the experience of being in wide-open spaces where there is not a man-made thing in sight.

None of this is complicated, and it’s all built right into our human-ness. So what’s the rub? It’s that we have forgotten what we never wanted to forget: What it actually is to be human. We are living as if we can bypass that. We are living as if we do not fall under the requirements of our deepest Nature. And we do so at great peril; the evidence of which is all around us for all to see.

Sometimes it takes getting so far away from what is real and true in order to see what is, in fact, real and true. Then it becomes the path of remembering. An intentional turning back towards your own skin and what it most hungers for. But of course, that would require that you stop being overly enamored with the world of the machines, believing them to be the highest of our expression. And instead, become entranced with your very own Nature in the form of your own body and what it needs.

Barking At The World

 

As I’ve written about before, I’ve had a cough that persistently remains despite all my tried and true remedies and approaches. Just when I thought it was on its way out the door, it has come back to teach me some more.

Now I know there are many who would say why not suppress it? Why not get some prescription to knock it back? Believe me, for the first time in nearly three decades of not using that kind of medicine, I have thought about it. I have fantasized about codeine cough syrup or some steroid. Really anything they have that would just make it go away. But I can’t stay there for long.

Why?

Because I know that when my body is expressing something, there is a very good reason it’s doing what it’s doing. And that’s a non-negotiable for me. Even if I don’t know why or how to resolve it. Even if it’s frustrating and uncomfortable. Even if it’s wearing my patience thin. Because what I know to be true is this: The last thing I want to do is to drive a bodily expression deep into my tissues; in effect, silencing its voice.

Which brings me specifically to the cough. If you are at all familiar with the work of Louise Hay, you know she brought forward a body of work that connects an emotional/mental/spiritual component to every illness  For a cough, what’s behind this symptom is a kind of barking at the world. A kind of see me. Listen to me.

So to suppress this cough feels like it would be a kind of re-traumatization to a part of me that didn’t get seen or heard in a way that felt good to me. Which is why I am wondering about where I feel unseen and unheard. Where it is that I suppress my own voice out of habit and fear. And where I am monitoring myself in terms of who I am and what I say around others.

Which means I am using this time as an opportunity to be with the cough and let it teach me. So far, every day has uncovered something new for me around being seen and heard. Feelings that have been unconscious and therefore unavailable to me before this experience. For me this is worth the frustration of something taking a long time to heal, because I can see that another part of me is getting a chance to be heard, which means it too will have a chance to heal.

To be with yourself and your health in this way requires a few things:

  • A willingness to see symptoms as essential information you do not want to ignore or suppress. Not easy to do in a medical culture based on symptom suppression.
  • A kind of presence to yourself where you are watching the thoughts and reactions that arise when something doesn’t feel good in your body. This includes your fears and your default tendency to look to an authority figure to make it better for you.
  • The courage to make connections to what may be behind the symptoms on the emotional, physical, spiritual and psychological levels. This takes practice and a kind of radical honesty with yourself.
  • An openness to learning about the part of you that is ailing to figure out what its most basic needs and functions are. This doesn’t need to be complicated. Keep it simple.
  • Finding practitioners who support this process in you and who include all of you in the equation of your health and healing. You’ll know them by how well they listen and by the questions they ask.

By the way, what do I think was behind the cough picking back up again with a vengeance? An intense experience last weekend of feeling like there are those in the world being seen and recognized even though they may be lacking in skill or integrity; leaving me with an old reaction of despair around the unfairness and injustice of a world that gives voice to so many of the “wrong” things. This one goes deep and touched a very, very old wound that seems up for some healing.

 

What Is Happiness Anyway?

 

If you were to ask the average person what they most wanted for themselves or their kids, I think many would say “happiness” topped their list. But I also think this is about as far as many people go with what one could argue needs to be a necessary examination of something so important to you.

For starters, do you even know what being happy means, what it costs or even how to get there? I don’t think we do. Which is why it’s so easy for us to be manipulated into believing all kinds of things when it comes to what happiness is and where it comes from.

“Good fortune, prosperity, a state of well-being and contentment” are what the dictionary has to say about happiness. Seems like something worth going for. These days though, this worthy state is fraught with all kinds of problems, misdirections and brainwashing.

In our heavily influenced and commercialized world we are being sold to by billion dollar companies what well-being and good fortune looks like. Guess what? Happiness looks exactly like having things. Their things in the shape and form of products and services. Or perhaps it’s all about having lots of followers or garnering lots of likes for curating your life on social media and exploiting yourself by posting it all to be used as a kind of fodder for your ever-hungry “friends.”

Then there are all the streaming and online services that make their images of other people look so enticing, while creating big feelings in you. These externally induced feelings are what you go on to equate with a kind of contentment and good fortune that compel you to sit and watch for hours on end as figures on a screen go on to have the life you want. Or maybe, being glued in front of a screen helps you forget the life you are living that you don’t want.

Either way, you call it happiness.

Of course we can’t forget about the drugs. All the wonderful drugs that will create a pseudo state of happiness that can be purchased in pot shops or through ask your doctor campaigns. And if that’s not your jam, your happiness can be bought by your next online purchase and delivered right to your door the next day. No effort on your part other than to push a button.

None of this is happiness and we deserve better. We deserve better than to believe our well-being can be bought and sold. We deserve better than to medicate ourselves into some false and illusory state that we now equate with contentment. But because so many of us are doing it, we don’t much question ourselves, and even if we do, we hide out under the cover of the herd.

As much as we may be going along for this ride, deep down, we know we are being lied to. More to the point, we know we are lying to ourselves. That’s why whatever we do in this modern day frantic pursuit of happiness always falls flat, always needs another fix, and always is at the hands and mercy of a thing that someone else is willing to sell us.

Happiness is an inside job. It doesn’t look like what Hollywood portrays and it definitely does not come in a pill. It is hard won. It is fleeting. It is honest. It is a choice. It is enduring in its simplicity and it is personal to you. What might it look like?

Personally, I take my cues here from a synonym for happiness. “Blessed.” What is it that makes you feel blessed? For me, it looks like watching the moon or your kid play t-ball. It looks like sitting down for a meal you prepared with those you love. It looks like being with a good friend for a walk in the woods. It looks like getting your chance to be here and learning and growing yourself into who you most want to be.

What Are You Following?

 

I was taking a yoga class this week when the teacher posed the question: “Are you following your thoughts or are you following your breath?” In other words, are you chasing the thought patterns you have been ruminating on for literally years? Or are you here now, in this moment, breath by precious breath?

Where we put our attention holds the very key to life on earth being a kind of heaven or living hell. And while many of us believe and live as if what is going on outside of us, what others are doing, an epidemic, what other countries or the politicians are up to, is what creates either heaven or hell for us, it’s just not true.

What is true is that what you are habitually putting your attention on, especially when it comes to what you are thinking about, has the power to bring you everything you never wanted. Or everything you ever wanted.

How could it be any other way?

Your thoughts are what create the words that come out of your mouth. They create which actions you will take on any given day. They stand behind the energy and momentum of how you do and live and believe and love and hope and fear and eat and negotiate and relate and…

For instance, if you believe that your medical system, religion or political party has the lock on the truth, you will use your words to condemn those who don’t line top with your narrative. If you believe that the body is a machine that breaks down easily and requires a mechanic to keep it in line, you will never be open to how your thoughts and your health are one and the same.

To decide for heaven, in other words all those things you most yearn for, is to become intimately aware of, and responsible for, every single thought you think. This is a big job. Especially in the beginning when it can feel like a circus on crack inside your own mind.

That’s why it can be so instructively sane to break down the thousands and thousands of thoughts you have each and every day into a binary choice; allowing you to step out of the oblivion or the tug-of-war relationship you have with your own mind and all of its unchecked thoughts.

Try this. Get in the habit of catching yourself throughout the day by asking, What am I thinking about right now? Once you are aware of the specific content, make a down and dirty assessment by wondering whether this thought creates a sense of safety or danger within you. Drop all the content and tune into the way this thought make you feel about yourself, others and the world.

And then make a choice.

If this is not a thought you want to harbor, put your attention on something else. Follow your own breath, look at the sky, smell something delicious. To choose where to put your own attention is to make the decision to stop following a thought that brings dis-ease, and to instead choose for a little heaven here on Earth.

Beyond Wrong

 

I’m in the middle of teaching my Healer Within program and I am prepping for the class that focuses on what I refer to as “Learning the Language of Your Body.” In other words, coming to see the symptoms and sensations of the body as vital and necessary communication you want to be in touch with. Working with this material keeps drawing me back over and over again to one essential truth: In order to learn the language of your body, you must be willing to go beyond “wrong” when it comes to what your body is doing.

This is not easy to do. In fact, it’s exceedingly difficult given the intense conditioning by our current conventional medical system that insists, despite any evidence to the contrary from other health systems, that any imbalance in your body is a problem, an inconvenience, a misstep on the part of your biology that must be addressed with pills and procedures.

There’s more. For you to suspend the belief that there is something wrong with your body is also to tap into another deep-seated piece of conditioning we are all subject to: There is something wrong with you. Something wrong with you if you think differently than your tribe. Want differently than what the culture offers up in terms of its insane pace and inhumane approach to life and living. Feel differently about what you are told and sold when it comes to who you are and what you are capable of.

In other words, don’t stick out, don’t be too great, don’t rock the boat. Instead, do all that you can to never be wrong in the eyes of another.

Bottom line? To even consider to begin to unwind from the wrongness you unconsciously direct at yourself and your body each and every day is to knowingly make the choice to depart from any and all of the places you make yourself wrong. Whether those places exist in your own mind, or are reflected back to you from a consensual reality that is predicated on you fitting into it. Even if that means it needs to snuff out any chance of you questioning the current reality by undermining you with a big dose of, “You’re wrong to step out of line as we have drawn it.”  

This can feel like an enormous task and even quite scary to take on. Why? Because we use making ourselves wrong to dim our light in order to belong. And we use something being wrong with our bodies as an escape hatch to avoid getting to know our bodies more fully, while learning how to claim full responsibility for them.

However. It can be simplified and made doable by asking one penetrating question:

If I wasn’t making myself/my body wrong right now, what would I know?

 

Do You Know What’s Creating Your Reality?

 

Every day we get to decide the quality of our lives based on one thing, and one thing only, our thoughts. As the old adage goes, your thoughts create your beliefs, your beliefs create your habits, your habits create your actions, and your actions create your life.

But in order to make use of this reality, we must first know what it is we’re even thinking about to begin with. This is not as easy as it sounds.

We have on average 60,000 thoughts each day, with the vast majority of them being negative, what we have been thinking about for years, and here’s the kicker, aren’t even aware of. Our thoughts being so “comfortable” and familiar to us, that we are mostly unconscious of what is going on in our own minds. Other than maybe, we’re not so comfortable after all.

In other words, not only are we often unaware of what we’re thinking, we believe all, or most of our thoughts, to be fact. Whether that thought is about who we are, who others are or how the world works; insisting that the thoughts we think, are in fact, the truth. Even when our current lived situation may be pointing to another reality entirely. Even when our thoughts are creating suffering.

This past week I caught myself in one of these places. Struggling with a lingering cough for several weeks, in a moment of rare clarity over this, I realized that with the exception of a few select moments, I have been locked in a very old, very habitual thought pattern without even knowing it. Every day for weeks now, I have been thinking the same version of the same thing over and over again.

In my world, what I think about manifests itself in my life. In this case, being the health of my body. Specifically, an unwanted cough that keeps repeating over and over again; wearing me thin on many levels and being driven by my repetitive thinking.

What was I thinking about? What has my mind been locked on? The fear that if I cough around other people, they will be disturbed and that I will be made to pay somehow for their disturbance. My thoughts have been telling me that to disturb another is to risk negative and even dangerous consequences of some sort or another. Maybe they will form an opinion of me I don’t feel is true. Maybe they will aggress on me with a cutting word. Maybe I’ll be kicked out of the relationship, or even emotionally annihilated.

I know this last part may seem overly dramatic. But it’s not. To the psyche that was forged in childhood, where all of our beliefs around safety, survival and belonging are formed, to fall out of the good graces of another, i.e the grown-ups in your life, is to risk everything from disapproval to the fear you won’t be loved or cared for.

Which is why so many of us, without even knowing it, are enslaved by our childhood beliefs about who we need to be. Unless, of course, we choose to pay attention to what we are thinking about and consciously update those thoughts to reflect what we really want.

If this makes sense to you, create a new habit of thinking by catching your thoughts across the day while asking yourself a question or two. What am I thinking about right now, and why? What does it remind me of? Is this thought true? Is it even mine?

I will say that when you tap into those thoughts that feel like your safety is at stake, like my fear thoughts that a cough will disturb someone enough to make them want to hurt me somehow, there will be resistance to being with that thought.

Deep in our own psyches, at a very unconscious level, is the belief that some of the thoughts we think and the behaviors we engage in, are what has kept us alive, safe, belonging and able to fit in. And on some level for many of us, this idea would not be untrue given our past circumstances.

But at some point, maybe we are at a place where we can begin to deeply question if it’s true that coughing is dangerous, and whether or not it is still worth it to manage yourself to keep another from being upset.

Personally, I am coming to the conclusion that it’s worth the risk to challenge something that keeps me trapped in a false sense of safety. Not to mention how at odds it puts me with my own body and my right to exist exactly as I am. No matter what anyone else might think.

What The World Is Really Here To Give You

 

“The world is not here to make you happy. It’s here to make you conscious.” I heard these words spoken last week by Eckhart Tolle, renowned teacher of Presence. It came at exactly the right moment for me as the words broke through the haze of being lost in a deep well of grief.

I am no stranger to grief and sorrow. They have been traveling companions of mine for my whole life. Grief over the ways of the world. Sorrow over missed and lost connections in personal relationships. Sadness over how we treat ourselves and others.

At times, I have felt broken and victimized by how grief-stricken I have been over the ways our children’s innocence is being violated via the screens. I have been filled with sorrow over how we allow our lives to be gobbled up by distractions. And I have been heart-broken over how often the wrong things are in charge; despite the obvious destruction they bring.

This and more is what I have been revisiting of late, being “stuck in a grief loop,” as one of my practitioners so aptly put it.

But when I heard Eckhart’s words, something in me snapped to attention. Something in me knew immediately the Truth of those words. And all at once, I could see that the lifelong suffering around the grief and sorrow I have always felt has been not just because of how devastatingly sad all these things are, but because I have been expecting the world to take this sadness away from me by being other than it is.

Now, I know that our minds might go immediately to Well, what sane person wouldn’t want the madness of the world to end? What sane person wouldn’t want more respect for life? 

This is not to negate that healthy yearning. But it is to point out that when we refuse to acknowledge how things are, not how we want them to be, we suffer; fighting in vain like a fish on a line.

To see that there is something greater at play than even your most heartfelt and noble expectations of the world is to step into an entirely new game. It is to open to your spiritual nature and the real reason you are here. Which is to grow in consciousness. Which is to walk the path of remembering who you really are, and why you are here.

When I look at my life through this lens, I can say with certainty that this is so. For each time the world has not made me happy, and I have chosen to let it grow me, I have changed. And always for the better. Every unfairness and disappointment that the world has ever delivered to me, a blessing.

I guess it’s time for me to step out of the grief loop I’ve been in.

Letting The Mud Settle

 

Each morning, I begin my daily practice in exactly the same way. I sit. I literally just sit. I breathe. I look out the window. I might sip hot water. But basically, I sit and do nothing as I allow myself to be exactly as I am. Whatever that might be. Sad. Unwell. Frustrated. Inspired. None of it matters as I do the most profound thing I will do all day; sit and do nothing.

What would possess a person to do nothing? 

The discovery that when all the mud settles, the mud being the difficult and troubling thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations threatening to take over, a sense of spaciousness washes over me; creating enough space for me to see, clearly and effortlessly, what is real and what is true.  

From this spaciousness, a greater connection to my body and its truths becomes available to me. This means that any problem I have, any solution I am seeking, or any balm needed for my broken heart or suffering body, is there. Always.

I first discovered this practice when my mind would kick into high gear in an absolute frenzy over everything I needed and wanted to get done after my kids had gone off to school. My mind hounded me about how much I had to do and in what order, how fast, and how well. It was maddening. So much so that I couldn’t settle into yoga or meditation because the demands of my mind were that intense.

Initially I sat, doing nothing, in protest. It was my way of saying to the thoughts, I want out. I am not playing anymore. I will not negotiate with you. 

And then, at some point, what began as an exasperated refusal to participate with an agitated mind, turned into a portal transporting me to a whole new universe I didn’t even know was accessible with so little effort. It turns out, I didn’t need to hack my way into the ease and peace I was seeking. It was already there.

Letting the mud settle does take time and some getting used to. Some days, it only takes a few minutes for everything to settle down. Other days, it takes a lot longer. But even on the days my mind pushes me to get going, to do something for god’s sake, I know better now. I know that in doing nothing, everything I have ever hoped for will show up when given the space it needs.

So sit back. Keep your feet on the Earth. Feel the warmth of the sun or the coolness of the air. Let your breath be where you put your attention. Breathe in a way that allows your body to be big enough to include all of what you are experiencing in this moment. 

Think of a candle melting and allow yourself to flow down in the same way. Follow that image over and over and over again until you feel weighted in a pleasant and settled way. When you feel like the mud has settled, even a little bit, notice what reveals itself to you by way of what is real and true in your body in this moment.

A little caveat. To the busy, stressed out, divided, and fear-based mind this practice can feel like a death. It is. But it’s only the death of things that needs to go anyway. The death of anything you would be better off without; like all the ways that your mind is unfair and unkind to your body as you unnecessarily fret over imagined problems. So when the mind screams and screams and starts rolling out all the heavy artillery around what a slacker-loser you are for not doing more, nod your head and continue to sit, knowing that when all the mud settles out, you will be left at home in your own body.

This blog was excerpted from my book Trusting Your Body: The Embodied Journey of Claiming Sacred Responsibility for Your Health & Well-Being 

If you are interested in purchasing the book from a site that donates to local book stores, please go to: Bookshop.org

Otherwise, it can also be purchased on Amazon



The Things In Life That Are Too Big For Us

 

This week, I heard someone use the phrase, “Too big to address and too big to walk away from,” in reference to one of the big issues we as a people are facing. I had never heard that expression before, but boy did it land for me; so aptly describing an experience many of us are having when we look out into the destruction and chaos of a world gone mad.

Too big to address and too big to walk away from.

At first glance, it may feel like being between a rock and a hard place. Nowhere to go. Nothing you can do. I think this is where many of us live these days. Stuck in limbo. Recognizing that a lot needs to be addressed, challenged and changed, but feeling like it is far too big for us to have an impact.

So we fall into despair. Apathy. Frustration. Cynicism.

Or maybe we throw all of ourselves at an issue. Working overtime. Dedicating ourselves to some external cause that we pour our heart and soul into. Doing more than our share and sometimes feeling resentful that others don’t care as much. Or are not pulling their weight.

In the face of the world’s “issues” it can be so easy to fall into “this is just the way things are now” or to kick into high gear and start trying to fix everything. But what if the issues that are too big to address and too big to walk away from are actually a visioning opportunity, a call from our very own soul? One that requires we go into our very own lives and handle our big issues, before we turn our attention to the world.

This inner anchoring in the face of world overwhelm grounds us and give us access to deeper ways of knowing beyond the knee-jerk reactions so typical of us when we confront big, scary issues. We need some kind of inner referencing because the truth is, neither apathy nor overwork are the path of wisdom. The way of thoughtful action. The way of understanding that always, and in all ways, anything out there big enough to be a problem, needs to be known in here, inside each one of us, first.

Otherwise, we add to the chaos and the confusion as we bring our own blind spots, fears and agendas to the situation at hand. To go into the bigness of your very own issues is to understand, in seed form, the big issues the world currently faces.

If this is so, it begs the question, “What in your life feels too big to ignore, and simultaneously too big to handle? We’ve all got one. That core issue that just won’t go away. The one that seems to be at the root of everything else. The one we work really hard to cover up.

Do you know what yours is?

I guarantee you something: Figure out what yours is, along with all of its ins and outs, and you will have a gold standard template for addressing the biggest and most intractable world issues. The ones we can’t seem to solve. The ones that overwhelm and frighten us the most.

Try it. Look to your own life. What are you pretending not to know?

Use this question whenever you meet up with your big life issues and watch how not only your life begins to change, but you start to have a much clearer sense of how to be with what is too big to address and too big to walk away from when it comes to the world at large.

 

A World Running On Empty

 

I had something happen recently that sums up what I often experience in our world of “convenience” with its emphasis on ease and the perfection of appearance. For my father-in-law’s birthday dinner, we had purchased a cake from Whole Foods. I was looking forward to it. But after eating a meal I felt deeply nourished by, I can only say I felt starved by the perfect looking little cake.

So starved, in fact, that I went back for seconds. Some part of me desperately believing that more of nothing would somehow magically bring me something.

It took me days to figure out what had happened. Despite the cake’s perfectly formed shape and the bullet proof container it came in… Despite the perfect little edging and the personalized lettering… Despite the “convenience” of not needing to bake it myself… It was empty. Empty of a taste that satisfied. Empty of sustenance. Empty of care.

That “little”cake has become a recent and poignant symbol for me of the emptiness that has crept into our daily existence.

Here’s what I mean:

Despite the rich assortment of ways we can be in touch with one another, the full and satisfying feeling of being in connection with others is ever absent and in its stead, a ghostly emptiness between us has grown as we draw back from the reality of relationships in real time.

Despite all the “choices” we have now when it comes to what we can eat, we have never had more food-like substances that leave us both over-fed in our attempts to make up for what is lacking, while simultaneously being under-nourished by all the empty calories.

Despite all the “advances” medicine is daily bringing to us in terms of the technologies, our interactions with our healing practitioners are too often characterized by an emptiness of care, time and attention.

Despite all the information we now have at our fingertips, our capacity for original thought is increasingly empty of critical thinking, tempered opinions and a desire to interact in lively and necessary debate.

Despite all the ways that AI can help us write an email, edit copy, write an article or (god forbid) a book, we have never been emptier when it comes to the  power of the word to heal, communicate, transform and inform.

Beyond the empty nature of the cake itself was the contrast I felt that night between it and the meal I had eaten. So much thought and planning had gone into the dinner. And because the family is blessed with many skilled cooks who can also work together quite well in one kitchen, there was a spirit of collaboration and love built into the food. Along with lots and lots of care.

That’s it. Both care and love were decidedly absent from the perfect little Whole Foods cake.

I have decided the supposed convenience of that perfect little cake is not worth the price of an empty experience. That it doesn’t even deserve to be in the same room as a well tended to meal. Going forward, I think I am going to learn how to bake birthday cakes. The kind that takes into consideration not just the preference for what kind of cake and frosting the person wants, but also for all of the dietary restrictions in the family.

Maybe it will be a bust. Maybe the frosting will get dinged up in transit without that perfect little container. Maybe it will be lop-sided and messy. But at least it won’t be empty of what matters most. Lots of care and love.

Because here’s the thing. What’s going to happen when we no longer have the substantial, essential and nourishing things in life still around to offer us a comparison of what empty looks and feels like. Will the generations to come, and even the ones here now, do what I did? Continue to go back to what is empty, hoping that somehow they will feel fed?