Live Naked: Embracing the dark side of wholeness
It’s 9:30 in the morning and I sit tucked in a corner of a diner, hoping no one recognizes me as I put back a giant plate of commercial eggs, nitrate-filled bacon, and a big cup of cheap coffee. I’ve come from doing a TV slot promoting my book and explaining the importance of naked food. The irony doesn’t escape me. It horrifies me.
The naked lifestyle is all about authenticity and embracing the whole of who we are. Part of that whole is not always pretty. I like to put my best foot forward in everything I do professionally and personally. What happens when that goes awry? Is it possible to make room for the dark as well as the light?
This summer has been an intense one for me. Book launch. Learning the media. Around the clock recipe testing to finish the manuscript for the cookbook follow up to Eat Naked. The passing of my mother. My wedding.
How did I arrive at that diner breakfast and why was one breakfast such a big deal? Well, it wasn’t just one. It was most meals most days over the period of several weeks. This wasn’t about comfort food sneaking into my 20%, this was life gone crazy. All of my usual self-care rituals – be they food, movement, or daily practices – went out the window. The fact that my face is on the cover of the book I was launching, a book promoting healthy, naked eating, was a contradiction that haunted me.
The hardest part was giving myself permission to be human, to create space for the intensity of emotions flowing through me. I like to have it all together – especially when the world is watching. How scary to witness myself make mistakes, miss deadlines, and rely on food crutches that are damaging my health.
But then: isn’t this part of the whole in wholeness?
If we’re to embrace a holistic lifestyle – and I do, wholeheartedly – then that means accepting the dark as well as the light. It means coming to peace with that part of ourselves that doesn’t have it all together, that we’d prefer to hide from the world. That side needs to be celebrated as much as the superstar in us does.
Debbie Ford wrote a great book called The Dark Side of the Light Chasers and in it she says, “Our dark side acts as a storehouse for all these unacceptable aspects of ourselves… These are the faces we don’t want to show the world… When we lock away those parts of ourselves we don’t like, unknowingly, we seal away our most valuable treasures.”
So what’s my treasure? Well, it’s still unfolding. Perhaps it’s a new level of understanding and compassion for those really struggling with their diet. Perhaps it’s a new appreciation of our inevitable and beautiful human-ness. Most of all it’s the recognition that an integral part of naked living is to embrace all of who we are – the parts we’re proud of and the parts we want to hide from the world.
What treasures are hiding in your dark side?
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