Food for the Soul, Our Needs and Our Wants

“I’m eating this … for my soul”. Almost always only half-serious, half-joking nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

But souls … souls don’t eat earthly food. Souls eat love. That is what feeds and nurtures them. And yet, the peculiar phrase is very common and relatable almost to all. It would be difficult to find someone who does not make use of ‘soul food’ in some form or other, let alone – someone who actively rejects it outright.


“Soul food” is a way of gaining permission for that which has been categorised as ‘forbidden’.

If this terrible, unhealthy food, that harms me in a direct or indirect way, will be allocated a name and address to which it is targeted and which it nurtures, it will be allowed. Perhaps even … welcome? And there you have it – permission.

Seemingly, all is well. We needed permission to do what we craved to do, and the permission was given. However, in effect, this tainted permission hides within the kernel of the prohibition. Instead of dealing with the price of this prohibition, and truly disentangling ourselves from its grasp, we’re hiding it.

From whom? From ourselves!

If we face the price of the prohibition; if we confront the consequences of the food that we’re eating; if we challenge the permission that we give ourselves, there is a distinct worry that a change is afoot, and change is an unwelcome idea for our systems, which love the status-que.

Would you like to try to work with the idea of true permission, and see where it leads? 

The first step is to tell yourself the truth, and to make an informed choice every step of the way. Here, for example: “I ate two slices of cake because I felt lonely”.

Instead of telling myself that I fed my soul or spirit (which is still longing for love, friendship, touch, etc), I’ll just tell myself the truth: I feel lonely. I ate two slices of cake because it calmed me, and for five minutes, I felt better. And … well, that’s it.

This path leads to change, but with no effort. When the truth is in plain sight, accepted and even loved as it is, there is very little incentive to continue to lie. Our challenges become evident and clear, and there is a larger chance that, instead of silencing them with food, we will actually face them.

At first, nothing happens (and you may even feel a tad foolish). However, slowly but surely, as the truths multiply, are repeated, and rewarded only with compassion and acceptance, the desire to engage with things grows, as does our ability to do so.

Shall we try?


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