I LOVE cake and sometimes I eat too much of it. How do I know when to stop eating and just admire the cake? How do you meet your needs for cake and keep healthy…
I have a short answer that is neither simple nor easy.
You meet your needs however you choose to.
I am tempted to get on a soapbox about this, but I will try to restrain myself. I am passionate about choice because to me it’s a key to possibility. You get to choose how you eat cake! You also get to live in your choices.
I like to make choices. Through active choice, I am empowered to live intentionally, to experience myself as fully expressed and embodied, to be present to the mystery of being on this planet in my body at this time.
I live in a web of relationships and each choice I make has the possibility of affecting someone else. That’s the balance, and so I have also to choose how I want to be in the world. For me, that’s when things get complicated because how I want to be is often in conflict with how someone else wants me to be. Things get complicated because I am often blinded by emotion, mine and theirs.
My reaction to emotional upset is to constrict. I feel it in my root, pulling in to hold tight to whatever I have because I am afraid of losing it. I get caught in fight or flight, I become a brat and want to grab all of my shit and hold onto it. Not a great place to make empowered, intentional choices from.
Other people react in similarly less useful ways like getting angry and controlling, or being self righteously smug, or withdrawing and playing dead. These are all choices too.
Yup…choices. They may not feel that way in the moment, but when I look at myself in the mirror after the biochemical flood of adrenaline and endorphin fades, when my breathing is calm and easy, my monkey brain has stopped chattering and I have that “I fucked up” moment where I see that I could have acted in a more useful way, I get it.
A useful tool for me is separating out the often confusing bundle of stuff I am dealing with. I like to imagine that desire, sex and intimacy for example are all different sticks in the bundle, and that I can use each of them to help me make a choice. Like cause and effect but with compassion added…
Desire for me is the internal fantasies and hopes and juicy goodness as well as the fears and scary monsters hiding in the shadows. Desire is limitless and amazing and because of that, not always very practical…
Sex in this case is what is happening in my body and in the real world around me. I use “sex” because…well that’s what we are talking about, right?
Intimacy is how I am connected to people around me, my relationships.
Desire – I have a fantasy involving delicious cake-filled sensuality. My lover and I are rolling on a huge cake, smearing sugary frosting all over ourselves while we explore each other with our mouths and fingers and bodies…yummeh.
Sex -My lover is gluten intolerant and diabetic…but I really want to share my cake fantasy with them…so I have limits and real-world things to consider in making this choice.
Intimacy -This is how I get to work with my partner to get this right, have our cake filled romp without sugar shock or lingering indigestion… It’s the blank canvas where we get to paint how our desires and the practical realities come together. It can be as simple as a crayon sketch or as complex as a Monet masterpiece.
If I have an understanding of all of these pieces, then I have a better and more detailed set of options. If I let go and get really creative, I often find that I have options that I didn’t know I had. Be curious, be powerful and brave, be compassionate…you get to choose!