On the value of pausing, and food justice

9389a10aa827004f79c4f63dbe307fd3.jpgIt’s been exactly two months since I’ve closed my practice as a psychotherapist, but it already feels like I’ve been away a lifetime. During that time, I’ve celebrated birthdays and an adoption anniversary, given a whole lot of attention to my edible garden, volunteered at local farmer’s markets as a Master Gardener, written a little, cooked a lot, and read a handful of books.

I do miss sitting with all of you, feeling awed by the courage and vulnerability and determination I saw every day. I miss being of service, feeling connected to a profession that is doing good things and working hard to remedy past wrongs, individually and collectively. I miss bearing witness to so many stories, those jewels of human experience. I’m incredibly grateful to be taking a much-deserved break. Also, I’ve been ready to transition to a new professional chapter for some time. Yet, too quickly, even beginning a few weeks after I ended, that nagging question appeared: What will you do next?”

We’re so very invested in doing. We can barely tolerate uncertainty, or not knowing what our very next step should be, or not doing it. That very vulnerable in-between space that is so precious and scary. We measure ourselves, and are measured, by what we do. Are we doing as much as the next person? Are we doing it well? Too often, we’re blindly swinging, mindlessly marching. Instead of pausing, and perhaps even more importantly (and yes, I know this sounds like New Age advice): listening.

So here’s what I’ve been thinking, and writing about, and listening to, over these past few weeks:

I really, really love food, and mindful eating, and growing edibles (food, not cannabis, my friends). I really, really love the idea of teaching these skills to others while I transition into other work that builds upon my decades of  education and mental health training.

But I’m not sure that Portland, Oregon needs another white woman preaching about food.

Mindful eating isn’t the clever new diet strategy even if some media outlets push this corrupted message, and I won’t collude to fill workshops. Mindful eating is about connecting with our body, our food, and the origins of our food, and there’s some scary stuff there, folks. A great deal of oppression, suppression, and deprivation, which requires self-compassionate attention. (Also, there’s loads of joy and pleasure to be found, as well!).

Sometimes an educational offering and a savvy support system can make all the difference, but other times you really need to walk this path with a competent therapist (and a HAES-trained dietitian and physician). I’ve been doing this work long enough to know the terrain and I don’t plan to offer anything that stinks of a “get fixed fast” scam.

First, you aren’t broken. Your beautiful body is wiser than you realize. Don’t let anyone fool you into believing otherwise (even your tricky mind). And second, sometimes change worth pursuing takes time (and a village) to succeed.

In addition, food literacy is very important to physical, emotional, and community health, but we must also stop pretending that everyone has the same access to land, wealth, and food resources.

Finally, I love cooking, and gardening, too, but I want to be part of a movement that seeks to restore and preserve, not further destroy, cultural food wisdom.

So, I’m just chilling this summer. It’s a privilege and something I’ve planned for, and I’m grateful. I’ve given myself through the beginning of October. Then, I’ll start entertaining the question; “What will you do next?” Then, I might highlight classes I’d like to offer in the community. Or I might choose to channel my energy into an organization that centers marginalized voices and pitch in, where I’m needed.

So no new SAVOR updates, although I’d promised, for the next few months.

In the meantime, be well and be kind to yourselves, and each other. And if you get a chance, take a moment to pause and to savor something that feeds you, in some small way?


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