Recently, this was the message hidden within my fortune cookie. "If you are hungry, eat more".
Initially I was frustrated; it seemed to be just more evidence that fortune cookies are no longer actually "fortunes". This silly statement said nothing about my future and seemed so insanely obvious that it felt like a waste. It was so absurd and irritating to me that I even posted this picture of the fortune on instagram followed by, among others, the hashtag #iwantmymoneyback.
Later that night, however, I got to thinking about it a little bit longer. It occurred to me that this "fortune" while arguably "obvious" was perhaps neither simple nor easy. In fact, it dawned on me that it actually might just be the perfect reminder: a confirmation of a truth that some of us would do well to hear.
As clarity started to settle over me, I at first thought about those of my clients, especially those struggling with eating disorders, for whom this message could be permission granting. I want to sandwhich it between an "Oh, honey" and a "It's okay. I promise". I wish it were that straightforward. I know, however, how difficult it can be to trust hunger as a process. Ideally, hunger communicates to our brains a need of our body. Hunger has a purpose. It's ingenious in that way.
Even if we get that that's how it is supposed to work, though, that doesn't mean this process has our buy in. So many of us struggle to believe we are worthy of receiving nourishment and/or we have been taught that it's not safe to have needs. In such circumstances, we might become so out of sync with ourselves that we no longer even recognize our hunger. Such a person might read this fortune and think, "how would I even know if I was hungry?" or "how would I know what for?".
All of the above is to say nothing of the many ways we humans can hunger for things way beyond the realm of food. Yes, certainly, our physical body needs physical nourishment in order to survive. But also, our spiritual body needs spiritual nourishment in order to thrive. "If you're hungry, eat more" could mean so many things. If you're hungry for connection, reach out to safe people and allow yourself to be met there. If you're craving adventure, pack your bag and go explore something. If you're desiring peace and quiet, go find, advocate for, or create it.
In college I participated in a faith group called, "Magis" which is latin for "More". The name came from an acknowledgement that we wanted "more".. more God, more hope, more spirit, more service, more life. Even now, I find comfort in the simple prayer, "Magis, Magis, Magis". More, more, more.
What is it that you want more of?
More peace? More trust? More passion? More love? More generosity? More abundance? More laughter? More dancing? More creativity? More inspiration? More integrity? More authenticity? More curiosity? More courage?
If you are hungry, eat more.
The same questions from earlier might apply here too: how would I even know if I was hungry? How would I know what for?
It might take a long time to reacquaint yourself with your own answers to these questions, but it is possible. Get quiet. Get still. Go within. Allow your body and your spirit to begin communicating with your brain again. Try to listen.
It's okay to go after that which you want; it's okay to crave it, find it, and take it in. But first, you must recognize you are hungry. Second, you must discern what you are hungry for. Finally, you must accept that you are worthy of it and grant yourself permission to receive it.
Oh, honey. If you are hungry, eat more. It's okay. I promise.