What are you hungry for? One of my favorite questions to explore metaphorically. I usually take this question and incorporate it into movement groups as a way to explore how different rhythms, qualities and patterns of movement help inform our selves and bodies about our deeper hungers, needs, desires, drives and wants. Or, I might take it with a client, notice the patterns then reflect the habitual patterns and slowly offer a taste-test of new movement/body-awareness patterns to sample and explore.
Some common themes that come up in What are you hungry for? include:
- Are you hungry for the approval of others?
- Are you hungry for making sure no one gets mad at you or rejects you?
- Are you hungry for making everyone happy and making sure they’re all taken care of (so you can avoid your own hard work)?
- Are you hungry to “quit” the truly arbitrary and rigid shoulds and musts?
- Are you hungry for returning to a hobby that you’ve put on the backburner?
- Are you hungry to go back to school?
- Are you hungry for deeper, more connected relationships?
- Are you hungry to quit a job, or to quit an unhealthy relationship?
- Are you hungry to be able to say no?
- Are you hungry for more leisure time?
- Are you hungry for a change in a relationship?
- Are you hungry for a life rhythm that flows more like water and less like fire?
- Are you hungry for peace?
- Are you hungry for more excitement in your life?
- Are you hungry for more confidence in yourself?
- Are you hungry to collect all the blue ribbons? Why and for what?
When we explore the question What are you hungry for?, we might start out with a wish list, perhaps a dream or bucket list. Then, once that’s created, we often have to get real about what we can afford and how to actually attain it. It’s like creating a summer bucket list with my kids. We can’t take ALL the trips, or become a member of ALL the museums, or buy ALL the Nerf water guns. We have to get choosy and let go of what doesn’t fill us up or make us shine to make room for what does.
Another way I explained this was to my rising second grader after his first-grade awards ceremony yesterday. He’s had such a good year, he’s hit the necessary learning marks, he’s blazed through with his love for soccer and afternoon park play with friends — we’ve been grateful for his experience. Yesterday, he got on the honor roll list for As and Bs. During the ceremony, I heard other kids’ names called out several times for various achievements, and I knew he’d pick up on that. And, of course, while walking to the car, with a frown on his face he expressed his disappointment that he only heard his name once and only received one award pin. And, I heard and validated his disappointment, and also told him how it important it is to be lit up by interests and loves, then let the rest fall into place. I told him I’d rather him focus on what he loves and try hard-but-good-enough in areas/subjects that he doesn’t absolutely dig. If that lands him a ribbon, cool. If it doesn’t, he still has his loves and true heartfelt experiences to give him energy, delight and drive. It’s the process, it’s the richness in the ordinary, it’s the coming alive in the everyday that matters way more than a blue ribbon, an extra pin, or any other label or status. That might be a lot for a six-year-old to swallow, and it’s his dad’s and my job to validate, model and celebrate the everyday richness that we experience for him to see blue ribbons are great, but so is tuning in to deeper, richer hungers in order to have the agency and awareness to let go of the rest.
Like I wrote in my last post, sometimes it’s hard to know our deeper hungers, and I said I’d write about via the felt sense. We can start with a bucket list, a dream/wish list to draw upon our cognitive awareness of what we want. Then we explore the meaning, intention and thoughts behind those things. Then we dive into the body. We write with the body. (or color, or draw or move with the body). It’s nuanced and unique to each person. The more one practices body awareness — noticing tension, softness, qualities, movements, subtleties, holding, opening, numbness — the more one can begin a dialogue with the body to explore its feelings and sensations. While a bucket list or dream list, or an achievement list might produce some initial ideas to build upon, it’s the body that opens a vessel to richer meaning and guidance in navigating and even rewarding the answer the question “What are you hungry for?”