Why do we kill ourselves with food and drink?

I’m lying in bed, scanning through my body.  It’s the start of a meditation practice I picked up from Arnie Mindell but today I’m not meditating, I’m just observing.  Yup, the torn muscle in my arm is still twinging a bit and there’s my Achilles putting up its, er, ankle to wave its discontent.  My jaw is clenched and my shoulders are tight (I’m not sure I relax even when I sleep).  And my arms are aching from yesterday’s kettlebell class (but that’s a good ache).  Mainly though I’m feeling dehydrated and my heart is beating far faster than usual.  Why?  The bottle of wine I downed yesterday in the sun. For the third day in a row.  And I wonder, again, why do I do stuff to my body that it hates?  Why do I put stuff in my body that makes it weak and makes me feel lousy?
I know it sounds a bit health Nazi-ish but pretty well all of us eat or drink stuff that we know isn’t great for us and it makes me wonder…  Do we have some kind of unconscious (or conscious) death wish?  I’m sure my father did.  The doctors told him that, if he wanted to live, he needed to lose weight,  he needed to cut out the heavy fatty food and the alcohol, and he really should do some exercise – but he chose to carry on regardless and dropped dead of a heart attack. It was his choice of course.  He’d given up.  And, okay, so it’s selfish of me to think this way but it still hurts.  It hurts me because he could still be alive today; I could still enjoy his company; we could still be sitting and laughing; we could still be arguing and fighting (how we loved to disagree – on everything from politics to music).
As you know, I’m not one for telling anyone how to live their life, what to do, what not to do, but it does strike me that when one is seriously cavalier about one’s health, it doesn’t just kill them, it hurts those who love them.  So much.  But I guess that’s our problem, not theirs, isn’t it?
Of course, you could argue that we’re all going to die anyhow, and so why not enjoy yourself with food and drink and whatever?  Why die healthy?  And again, what kills one person will slide off the cells of another.  It’s not just food and drink, there’s a complicated equation of genetics and environment and mind that comes into play.
But really, we all know, at heart/liver/lungs, what suits us and what doesn’t.  I know my body doesn’t run well on wheat – every time I eat it, I feel my pulse race.  It’s the same with wine. Sugar and caffeine buzz my adrenals.  Yet I love them.  Curious, isn’t it, how we crave the things that are bad for us?
Try the scan thing.  It’s interesting, if nothing else.  Back in bed, I’m stretching out the fingers of my right hand.  Every morning I wake to find they have become stiff and sore (thanks a bunch, Italian guinea pigs) and I have to wonder.  Why my right hand?  My ‘write’ hand (and right/write now it’s so hard to write).  My ‘rite’ hand (and I have lost my belief in magic so that is right/rite and fitting).  Because bodies often talk in metaphors and, if I do slide into a Mindell body meditation my hands… clench into fists.
What does your body say to you?
Photo by Heather Ford on Unsplash

Leave a Comment