OUR GREATEST POTENTIAL
by Marcy Tavernier Lundquist
Years ago my friend Nancy and I traveled to New Jersey and attended the fist World Conference on Self Healing and Mental Ability with Qigong Master Binhui He. We started bigu the day we left Minnesota. Daily, Nancy ate 2 apples and I ate 2 avocados (I like fat!). Each day we did hours of qigong meditation and took a peaceful outdoor walk.
Nancy fasted 21 days and experienced a miracle-like improvement in COPD. My 16 day miracle was in my relationship to food. I discovered how food tastes so much better WHEN YOU FEEL HUNGRY. On one of the last days of the conference, Master He recommended we have a bowl of soup. Our friends prepared it and I think it’s still the best soup I’ve ever eaten!
During the conference, other participants started bigu as well. It was quite revealing to observe them over the first few days. On day 1, a few experienced some shockingly obsessive fear. By far, the first three days presented everyone the greatest challenges. I remembered the first time, long ago, that I tried to fast – and only made it to 10 a.m! My success with Nancy came through our mutual support for each other and confidence in our practice.
Now I think of food as tasty “information.” What information in the form of nutrients does my body need to stay healthy and happy?
It helps to understand our food cravings. We usually desire food for one of three reasons – stimulative, associative, and instinctive.
Stimulative cravings mean we just want a push — caffeine, sugar, etc. It may even be something we’re either allergic or sensitive to that causes a hormonal rush. When you want stimulation, maybe you can find it outdoors, through exercise, or perhaps through music you like.
Associative cravings generally seem the most puzzling. What does it mean if we crave mashed potatoes??? Maybe we miss the comfort of Sunday dinners with a gathering of family and friends.
The instinctive cravings represent our ideal. Some studies on instinctive food choice try to focus on young children with little exposure to advertisements by food companies. Offered a buffet of foods, a child might choose only one for days. Then they’re done, and they move on to something else…instinctively.
To nurture our instinctive cravings as adults, two practices show great promise. First, eliminate as many processed foods from your diet as possible – especially those with added sugar or (worse) artificial foods. They disturb our natural senses. Second, begin to honor all cravings that seem right. Then, simply observe how you feel right now and again in a few hours. The more you honor your instinctive cravings, the better they become.
As a gardener takes care of plants; we bear responsibility for our bodies. Sometimes that thought reminds me of a story told by an old Englishman.
There once was a dilapidated property. The house was in very rough shape, but the garden even worse. A man bought the property and fixed up the house, but by far he did his best work in the garden. It became so beautiful that people would walk miles out of their way to see it. Then, one day, when the man was in his garden, the Bishop walked by. He said “Oh, what a beautiful garden you ‘ave.” The man replied “Yes, and I done it all meeself.” “Oh no,” said the Bishop, “with the Lord’s ‘elp.” “Ohhhhh, welllllll, ahhhh…OKAY, with the Lord’s ‘elp – but you shudda seen it when ‘e was doin’ it by hisself!!!”
Just like the gardener, we follow our nurturing practices when we choose our food, thus we help our bodies reach their greatest potential.
Marcy is a founding member of WISH Midwest. She began her study of mind-body medicine over 30 years ago and teaches Yoga at corporations and healing centers. She became an instructor of Taiji Five-Element Qigong in 2001. Marcy holds a Master of Arts in Human Development from St. Mary’s University and an MBA from Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. Her interests focus on expanding our potentials in health and well-being.