Trusting My Gut

Intuition used to be a dirty word to me. I mean - who in their right mind would trust their gut or a feeling over their logical, rational brain? You can’t reason with your intuition. You can’t analyse and pick it apart, you can’t agonise over it indefinitely. What a nightmare! Instead, I trusted my brain - my internal sounding board, always there to catastrophise and talk me out of taking risks that felt exciting, doing new things that seemed daunting, following dreams that seemed far fetched.

WTF has this got to do with food, you may reasonably ask? One of the major existential issues that led me on this journey into practical spirituality was the lack of purpose and fulfilment I was feeling despite having left a corporate job to follow my dreams and work as a chef. It was my lifelong dream from as early as I can remember, I was obsessed with food from the moment I started eating, and with cooking from the moment I was let loose near a kitchen counter. Why was I struggling to find success, meaning and fulfilment in what I was doing. Wasn’t I doing what I always wanted…?

Through doing a lot of self development, reading, coaching and absorbing the incredible material produced by the holistic psychologist it became clear to me that my subconscious, my over-protective, risk averse, terrified, distrustful ego was in control of my life, despite (what I thought were) my best efforts. Feelings weren’t important, consciously creating a life that I wanted wasn’t even on the radar. I lived from a place of fear, I constructed a life that involved suffering of some description, and told myself it was what I should be doing. I’m not saying I don’t still feel those things and struggle with those thoughts. But, making an effort to get to grips with my subconscious conditioning, learning to observe my ego and understanding that my conscious, true self is separate from that unconscious part of me is making it all so much easier to live with, and increasingly resist or even ignore.

I don’t think I would have made it as far as even recognising my intuition if I wasn’t so obsessed with food. My logical brain found the concept pretty out there. It took a lot for me to accept that my relationship with food and my journey so far was a gift from the universe, bringing me to a point where I wanted to start living a more conscious and fulfilled life and had my own (tasty) personal guide to get there. Just at the time when ‘Intuitive Eating’ was gaining wide recognition, I realised I didn’t need any help on intuitive eating, what I needed was intuitive everything else.

To me eating intuitively, consciously or mindfully is just eating - When it comes to cooking and eating it’s a no brainer to me - it’s all got to be intuitive, conscious and mindful. Your ego / subconscious has little to do with your actual physical hunger, nutritional needs or feelings of pleasure derived from food. In fact all it really does in those (and in many) situations is provide a fear-based voice of doom contrary to the conscious, physical and emotional signs your body gives you. When it came to my food choices, my natural starting point was that subconscious conditioning could do one as long as I was being true to my self, my needs, my wants. It seems so clear now to see how that applies to life more broadly, but it has taken me a lot of hard work and soul searching to understand it.

Lesson: Trust (and look after) your gut.

Want to learn more about how I’ve used food as a tool for practical spirituality and self care? Join me for a Cooking and Eating for Joy: Nourish your Soul Workshop in London for a day of mindful, joyful, food-centred activities!

Salima DhallaComment