Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Old memories, old cravings

I've been at this retreat center more than a dozen times over the last 9 years. I come now twice a year for a week or so of writing and creative community. It's a place where my soul can rest and my imagination can find the time and space it needs to expand.

In the early years, I ate a lot of sugar here. We have a circle every afternoon and in those early times, we outdid each other with exotic chocolate bars, often with as many as 6 or 7 bars to choose them. We'd eat a lot, then eat a big dinner with a fabulous dessert. And of course, I always had my own stash of the latest obsession. Two years in a row it was Werther's soft caramels. Then it was ordering an extra pan of Chef Patti's Caramel Banana Cream Pie--all of myself. Chef Patti is a local wizard, who cooked for us until we decided to save money and cook for ourselves. Then two years ago, it was going three times to the local grocery store for half-gallons of my fix of ice cream and hiding the containers in the trash and hoping nobody would look in the spare freezer in the unused second kitchen. 

Now that I'm dessert-free, we have fresh fruit with our meals. People can bring chocolate, or whatever they want for themselves, but I ask that the meals be free of refined sugar items.

But the last couple of days, I've had serious cravings for sweets. Some of it may be triggered by old memories of the heedless kind of eating I used to do. Maybe it's because I'm moving closer and closer to not using food as a soother so much any more. Whatever it is, it's been difficult. There isn't anything here to binge on--although I guess I could make some kind of sugary buttered toast or jam and yogurt, but of course that isn't what I want.

I want to be reckless and eat myself sick. And I'm not going to do that. It does, however, feel good to admit my desires to myself and to the page. There is some relief in that.

1 comment:

sorella said...

Dear Jill,

As a participant from those sugar-filled retreats, I can say that I have cravings for Chef Patti's dessert and those chocolate bars. It became intertwined with the sweetness of being in circle and sharing deeply, with laughing around the dinner table. That's one thing that makes food so complicated -- it is interwoven in our lives like nothing else. So, when you want to shift from eating desserts like we have, that lingering feeling is still there. I suppose if we retreated every month, it would ameliorate sooner. But twice a year? Not enough practice at undwinding yet. Huge props to you for being true to your commitment, and being able to bring some relief to yourself by admitting your past secret behavior and current longings.

huge hugs