• Elizabeth Joy Wyatt

The Sweet(s): Giving Up and Giving In

I recently learned that I have a medical condition that requires some dietary changes. This meant I needed to avoid refined sugars, grains, or processed foods. I didn't think it would be too hard, but within a few days I felt very bad! I'd always eaten healthfully, but also ate whatever I wanted. And I've loved sweet things ever since I was a little kid.

I felt awful for about a week, but had no cravings. Instead, lots of old sad memories came up. This was surprising -- I thought I'd been there, healed that. But no. There was some other through line this time.

Over a few days, it became clear that all of that pain came from times in the past when I'd craved sweetness and did not get it. Not cookie-sweetness; real sweetness. This craving was not being halfway silenced any more by pie and jam and granola.

Had I really always liked sweet foods? Or was I looking for sweetness anywhere I could find it, and learned early on to look to food first?

I am just starting to explore the dimensions of the quality of sweetness, lightly inflecting all my practices with it, seeing what happens. Other parts of daily life shift slightly as my mind learns its new trick. It doesn't feel like trying when this happens -- effortlessness seems to be a part of sweetness -- and it's not all the time, of course, but already a new little bit is there. I met up with a friend who could be gruff, but instead of dwelling on the gruffness I noticed how, when I got in my car to drive away, he stayed behind to make sure I was safe. That was sweet. I chatted with an anxious checker at the market who had done her makeup so beautifully. That was sweet. I had a desire to share a struggle and felt that I could email a new friend and trust her, so I did. That was sweet. I have to cook for myself more often now, so I do. That is sweet.

I am learning to ask: whenever I come across the energy of sweetness, which is just the open shared energy of Life, how can I notice it, feel it, savor it, allow myself to be nourished by it? This is a conscious choice. I am learning to give it to myself as if it were a gift, or sometimes a vitamin.

It's been easy for me to value giving sweetness to others, but if I deny that same giving to myself, then the giving is not what I'd like to think it is.

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