I’ll be sitting here writing, or doing some other task, and in the back of my head I’m busy preparing the juicy makings of a delicious tomato salad, or a nice spicy wrap around some cheese and micro-greens, or some yummy curried lentil soup… Or making art of some kind….
If I don’t get up and just go make the darn food and eat it, more food ideas come, and come, and come … and they get louder and louder, and more and more enticing … until they finally crowd out anything else - even if I’m doing some Important Thing. So bossy!
I used to think that the feeling I get in my belly when I’m thirsty was hunger.
I’d feel empty, my belly would growl, and feel pushy, demanding. My mind used to interpret that as my body being insistent that I eat something.
So I’d go eat. Or, I’d try to - how many times have I stood in the kitchen and looked around, or opened the fridge and hunted inside, all the while feeling like ‘there’s nothing I want to eat in there.’
Ever have that happen? It’s a crazy maker.
I didn’t quite connect the dots – that I hadn’t been getting images of what to eat! All I had were growlings in my belly.
So I’d choose some easy thing – toast, or a hunk of cheese - and I’d stand there chomping on it, my body still bugging me with ‘I’m thirsty, dummy! Water! Give me a drink of water!’
But I didn’t listen, and would keep eating.
Then one day I read about how some people misinterpret their body’s hunger and thirst signals.
It dawned on me that maybe the reason eating wasn’t getting it for me when I had those signals I was getting was that I was thirsty!
So the next time I started feeling grumpy-belly-ish, I remembered, and drank some water. And poof! Gone! The rumbling stopped, the emptiness vanished, and I felt fine!
What a revelation!
But when I realized that what I’d been feeling was thirst, not hunger, I began to wonder what hunger felt like.
Because when I searched for it in my mind, I couldn’t think of any one sensation that might be a hunger flag.
It took me a long time to figure it out. I suppose as a kid I was in class and couldn’t get up and just wander over to the kitchen for a bite, so I had to shove hunger away. Later as an adult, maybe I’d pushed it away because I was busy and didn’t want to deal with it. Either way, I lost the ability to tell that I was hungry.
Now I know! When I really am hungry, thoughts of food start to pop into my head, and get stronger and stronger.
If I wait too long before getting up and doing something about the situation, I get a funny feeling in my bones. Like if I had to get up and walk somewhere I wouldn’t have the strength, or I’d feel not-quite-dizzy-but-close. Until at last I acknowledge, ‘hey! I’m hungry!’ And get up and go eat.
My mind does that same pre-event imaging/feeling when I’m painting, too – or making any kind of art.
Way long before I even pick out my canvas, or know which medium I’ll want to use to convey this new idea, an idea will start to leak through, little by little.
I’ll start to feel excited, in anticipation, or wonder, or even trepidation – thinking I may not know how to manifest this one.
Side thoughts emerge - whether to use paper, or canvas, or stone, or some other material. How to shove or push around that material, or cut or tear it, or somehow manipulate it in order to create the thing I’m seeing in my head.
Just as with the images of food, inner scenes of art-to-make pile on top of each other until I have a full-on 3-d entity in front of my inner eyes, telling me how it wants to be colored, shaped, formed. It’s like a personal in-home tutorial by the object itself.
Naps seem to be energetic portals for Things to Create.
If it’s a story, it will slide in, starting with a small incident from my past, or a detail from an article I’ve read, or a slip of gossip, and it slowly turns into a complete story…
I’ll lie down, cruise a bit with left-over thoughts, and juuuuuusssst as I’m dozing off, *BLAMMO* a story - in full - scenes and characters and conversations and meanings and twists - burst into my head right out of the blue.
If I just lie there and continue going to sleep, most of the time the whole thing will be lost. I’ll think, ‘I’ll remember that when wake up..’ But I don’t. And the story will be gone.
But if I either write it down rightnowdon’twait on the pad by my bed, or jump up and run to the keyboard and start hitting the keys and get it all down before it disappears - then I can retain it.
Another way it happens is that I will continue on to sleep, and instead of being lost, the story won’t shut up.
It just keeps hammering on. With detail after detail, shifting scenes with this person added – no! this person wasn’t there, THAT person was! – and it was this color, and that place… And just before I wake up, the whole thing will be fleshed out and ready to blast onto the screen.
This is why I don’t watch Ugly Stuff before I go to bed.
I’m not sure why the brain likes to cling on to horrible stuff, but mine will send me dreams about hideous scary scenes I’d just watched for the entire time I’m trying to sleep. Whether they are from war or arguments or news or some film, I can’t bear it, and have to get up and read something lovely, or eat something or go watch FB reels or a movie I’ve liked.
The best way to clean the mental mess up, though, is a specific kind of meditation I use.
I’ll lie in bed visualizing connecting with my chakras, feeling each one’s energy and power, imagining them one-by-one extending their energy all the way out to infinity, with me floating somewhere in the center.
Usually by the time I get to the throat chakra, I’m high as a kite, clear of distractions, and I swim right through the next three.
Then the new ideas will come back in, and tumble around in the new, cleared space.
This way of sourcing ideas isn’t confined to what-to-eat or what-to-paint-or-carve-or-write.
The essence of the thing is that no matter what the emerging endeavor, if I listen to what The Mystery is sending me, and pay attention to and respect the message, I can honor and draaaawwwww out of the Invisible that which has been given to me in the form of ideas.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying I must do them, or I absolutely have to do them as presented!
I’m saying that IF I listen carefully, I can glean full-on ideas – or even just the kernels of them – and take them out into the manifest world.
IF I listen carefully, I can then focus, and bring forth the nourishment, the beauty, the love and the joy that I was put here to create.
What could be more cool than that?
Thanks for reading my story.
I bet there are a lot of folks out there who mistake thirst-signals for hunger-signals!
How do you get your creative ideas?
How do you retain them if you can’t get to them right off?
Do you interpret your hunger signals right?
My Mind Starts Eating Before I Do
© Angela Treat Lyon 2023
Image: Ice Cream with My Buddies
© Angela Treat Lyon 2022