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Rachel Cole on our relationship with ourselves

Friday, October 3, 2014 by Marianne Elliott

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I’ve been practicing yoga and meditation for a decade, which means I am pretty in touch with my own feelings, hungers and desires. I know what I need. But until I spent a day at a Retreatshop with Rachel Cole last year, I didn’t see clearly how (and why) I was sabotaging my own nourishment. 

What Rachel said that day was:

The way we meet and treat our own hungers sets up the pattern and norm for how we allow ourselves to be treated by others.

My ability to make clear requests of the people in my life begins with, and depends on, how I am in relationship with myself and my ability to be open, kind and easy with my own hungers is a pre-requisite for things being open, kind and easy in my relationships.

Yoga has helped me change the core qualities of my relationship with myself, and it has been through my yoga practice that I have cultivated the ability to be open, kind and easy with myself, my body, my desires, my needs and my hungers. 

Here’s Rachel:

Me, Myself, & I

I remember studying for the SAT and getting particularly hung up on verbal analogy questions. For those of you who live outside of the States, the SAT is a test many high school students take before applying to colleges. The better your score, generally speaking, the better the school you can gain admission to.

Verbal analogy questions look something like this:

CRUMB : BREAD ::

(A) ounce : unit

(B) splinter : wood

(C) water : bucket

(D) twine : rope

(E) cream : butter

The goal is to determine which of the multiple choice answers is analogous to the relationship between the two items that are in all capital letters (CRUMB & BREAD).

You have to ask yourself, what is the relationship between CRUMB and BREAD?

The answer of course is that a CRUMB is a small piece of BREAD. You then remove CRUMB and BREAD from that sentence and see which of the answers fit.

______is a small piece of _______.

The answer, as you may have guessed is B: splinter: wood.

What does this have to do with being a Well-Fed Woman?

Everything.

Literally everything I teach is about relationships. How we relate to ourselves. How we relate to food. How we relate to our bodies. How we relate to pleasure. How we relate to hunger and desire. How we relate to discomfort.

It’s all relationships. Relationships precede action. Relationships determine actions.

The moment of contact between two things determines everything that happens next. Do they bounce off each other? Do they embrace? Do they nuzzle up side to side? Do they say yes to each other? or no?

If you desire a better relationship with anything, make sure you’re viewing it as a relationship.

If you desire a better relationship with anything, slow it all down and see what’s happening at the point of contact.

Try it for yourself. Pick one of the following options to create your own mock SAT question:

I: MYSELF

I: MY HUNGERS

I: PLEASURE

I: FOOD

I: DESIRE

Now pick the option below that’s most analogous:

(A) Harry Potter:Voldemort

(B) Bert: Ernie

(C) Cold War Russia: Cold War USA

(D) Bunny’s Mother:Runaway Bunny

(A) Democrats:Republicans

(B) The English Language:Gibberish

(C) Fred Astair:Ginger Rogers

(D) White Spy:Black Spy (from Spy v. Spy)

(E) Barack:Michelle

(F) Apple:Orange

(G) Switzerland: Non-Swiss Conflicts

(H) Treasure Hunter: Treasure Map

(I) Two Peas: Pod

This might seem like a silly exercise. It kind of is.

Though in all seriousness, the relationship we have to ourselves (and to our hungers, our pleasure, our bodies, etc.)  is such a powerful determinant of how fulfilling our lives will be.

Relationships are dynamic, they don’t remain in one stagnant form. If you’re wanting a better relationship with yourself, or any of these things I’ve mentioned, you can live your way into that better relationship.

Start with how you greet yourself in the morning. Is it kind?

Start with the tone in your voice when you talk to yourself. Is it warm?

Start with saying “yes, my love” when your body requests rest. It generally knows what’s best for us.

Start with prolonging any activity that gives you deep pleasure. Pleasure is a sign we’re on the right track.

Start with speaking up for yourself…yourself who is your friend.

If you want a better relationship, start by viewing it as a relationship to begin with, then be inside of that relationship in a harmonious and kind way.

And here’s the kicker: our relationship with ourselves, determines our relationship with others.

Yes, we tend to be kinder to others when we are kind to ourselves, but perhaps more importantly, abuse from others becomes intolerable when we are not in an abusive relationship with ourselves.

If you see the picture above, the one with the plug and socket, you’ll see a perfect analogy for what I’m getting at.

Our relationship with ourselves molds our “socket” and only plugs that fit can plug in. (Ever tried to plug an American plug into a German socket? Take my word for it, doesn’t work)

Because I’m in a loving relationship with myself, anyone who might seek to relate to me as anything less simply doesn’t fit. It doesn’t compute. I’ve created the mold.

I talk to a lot of women who doubt their lovability. I used to be one of those women. In fact, I didn’t just doubt my lovability, I outright believed that I wasn’t lovable. Overtime, though, I decided to love myself and my own “socket” changed shape. Overtime, I came into relationship with myself the way I wanted others to relate to me.

What kind of relationships are you in?

Meet Rachel Cole

rachelwcole_media4Rachel is a certified life coach, celebrated retreat leader, and women’s empowerment expert. She has spent ten years guiding women to identify, understand and feed their truest hungers – at and away from the table. As an eating disorder survivor herself, Rachel speaks with great wisdom, sensitivity, and authority about what it takes to live as a well-fed woman in the modern world.

She has traveled across the United States and internationally speaking and teaching to sold-out gatherings of women on how they too can find ease and fulfillment in their lives simply by honoring their own hungers. Rachel holds a Masters Degree in Holistic Health Education and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach.

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