Avoiding Sweets – Finding Sweetness

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Today’s blog entry is actually contributed by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.  She is the author of 7 books, including The Invitation, which is how I first experienced her years ago.  She also facilitates workshops and does one-on-one counseling with people over the phone.  Oriah is an exceptionally wise and gifted soul.  Her recent blog entry is an incredibly insightful and unique perspective on how to do deal with sugar cravings and addiction.  As you know, I frequently write about various dietary approaches to kicking the sugar habit, but this is an entirely different take and one that can compliment those nutritional approaches. So if nothing else has really worked for you, you are about to be enlightened!  If you like what you see, please visit Oriah on her website or on Facebook where she posts regularly. And if you haven’t read The Invitation, I highly recommend it.  So thank you very much, Oriah, for your permission to reprint this!  Here it is:


          Lately- okay, for the last few years- I find myself wanting to eat sweet things in the evening. There are lots of reasons why this is not a great idea: sugar burdens the immune system, creates swings in blood sugar, and does nothing good for the waist line. I assume the craving mirrors a need for more non-food sweetness in my life. So, I’m on a bit of a mission to discover what other experiences provide sweetness in my life. I’m not interested in sentimentality- a kind of saccharine for the soul- but the things that are truly worth savoring slowly, experiences offering a taste of life that gives me a whole-body smile.

         At first it seemed my list of known and easily available sweetness wasn’t very long. Oh I knew that lying on sun-warmed granite in Northern Ontario, or floating in a canoe on a quiet lake watching the stars in silence were moments of sweetness, but I live in a large city where these experiences are not available daily. Also, I live alone (and notice I crave sweets most after I’ve been working all day in solitude,) so although there are moments of great sweetness with friends and family I wanted to discover where I might find and savor sweetness when I am not with others.

         Just starting the inquiry helped me slow down and receive the life-giving nectar that ordinary moments can bring. I’ll share a few of those moments here, but I’m really writing this blog to invite your input. Because I know I’m not the only one nibbling cookies or chocolate after the sun goes down, and because. . . . well, life can be challenging at times, so it makes sense to be aware of and make sure we are accessing and truly receiving the sweetness that helps us sustain our awareness of life as a gift.

So here are a few of the experiences I’ve come to recognize as feeding the need for sweetness in my life:

Music- particularly chest-expanding cello and violin music listened to on my headphones, or the clear sweet sounds of a fine soprano or tenor voice (think Charlotte Church, Josh Groban);

Feeling warm in my bed beneath my duvet in a room made cold by an open window on a dark winter night;

Waking up to watch the sunrise before the alarm goes off; watching the sky go from black to grey to pale blue streaked with pink;

The scent of lavender that releases tension from my shoulders one cell at a time;

A hot water bottle or heating pad applied to a muscle that I didn’t even know was tight until the heat penetrated and started to unfurl the tension held there;

Poetry- reading a poem I love aloud and sitting in a sustained silence when the last word is spoken, following my breath, letting the words and the silence wash over and through me; discovering a new poem that splits me open with its honesty, with the way it places a precise finger on a feeling, or sensation, or insight I had not been able to describe- living with it, putting a copy up on the kitchen cupboard until I know it by heart and it lives in me;

Pausing to listen to the sound of children playing in the park next to my balcony- following the squeals and laughter like lines on a map to joy;

Playing with gravity no matter where I am- turning my attention to the places where my body is being supported, in contact with the ground or floor, a chair or seat on the bus- and allowing myself to give in a little more to the way Grandmother Earth pulls me to her and lends me the energy to ground and move;

Walking anywhere with full awareness, taking in the world around me, letting my body set the pace, feeling the movement that comes so effortlessly.

There are more, and I invite you to add yours here. What I noticed as my list lengthens is that sweetness recognized and received prompts me to slow down and be present. And perhaps that is the purpose of life’s sweetness: to encourage us to be fully here, to savor the moment and receive from it what we need.

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