Well, another holiday is around the corner. Tonight, at my church, I will celebrate the Passover Seder with my friends, at which there will be much food and drink as we remember God’s faithfulness to the Israelites and to us even to this day. On Sunday I’ll arise early and attend an Easter Vigil service at my church, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. There will again be a feast. Two feasts, actually — brunch with my church family and then dinner with my partner, parents, and brother.
I’m always a bit wary about holidays. They are an opportunity for my previous habits to sneak up on me. It would be easy for me to throw mindful eating out the window and just say, “It’s a celebration! It’s okay to eat a lot!” But I know that that wouldn’t be my “Wise Mind” talking. It would likely be my “Emotion Mind” — the part of me that makes decisions based solely on how I feel.We all have a Wise Mind…it’s actually the intersection between Emotion Mind and Reason Mind (which is the part of us that makes decisions based on knowledge and logic and reason).
Tuning into Wise Mind can be difficult — those of us who struggle with binge-eating and overeating often let Emotion Mind make decisions for us. We eat when we’re sad, frustrated, irritated, ashamed, embarassed, proud, or happy. Emotion Mind has told us over and over again that eating and overeating is the thing to do when we’re feeling anything significant. When we’re done overeating, Reason Mind takes over and tells us all the logical, reasonable things we could have done but didn’t. It tells us that now is the time to use our heads, our knowledge and do the right thing. Reason Mind is not at all in touch with emotions. Emotion Mind and Reason Mind often compete with one another.
That’s where Wise Mind comes in. Wise Mind tells us that it’s okay to feel whatever we’re feeling and reminds us that it’s just a feeling…not good or bad, not harmful or harmless in and of itself. Wise Mind is a partnering of Reason and Emotion. Tuning into it involves creating a still, quiet space for ourselves, breathing in deeply and exhaling, closing our eyes, and honoring whatever it is that we’re thinking and feeling. We can do this by describing in words what we observe: “Right now I notice my heart is beating really fast and my cheeks are flushed. I feel frustrated, but that’s not a good or bad thing. It just is. I notice that as I breathe in and out more deeply and slowly these symptoms subside and I feel more calm…” Wise Mind tells us we can feel our emotions, whatever they may be, without quickly reacting to them. Wise Mind tells us how to get the support we need when we’re hurting and tells us how to eat mindfully when we’re in danger of overeating. Wise Mind can be a very good friend!
I encourage you to notice when your Emotion Mind or Reason Mind is making decisions for you and then practice tuning into your Wise Mind and see where it leads you.
Peace and inner wisdom,