Reclaim ownership of your appetites

One of the exercises I like to do with my clients is to imagine what it looks and feels like to be at peace with one’s self, to be embodied, to feel fully alive. Some of the responses are beautiful:
– listen to music more often
– wear beautiful, bright colors
– cut my hair off
– go to the theater more
– spend more time in nature
– learn to play the piano
– swim (!)
– dance more often
– have more satisfying sex
– eat the foods I love and let myself get “enough,” whatever that means that moment
– walk proudly down the street
Many of us learn to deny our appetites for pleasure, lushness, indulgence, sensuality, and beauty when we get the message that they will only bring us pain, danger, judgment, and humiliation. This makes perfect sense given the implied consequences and is a form of self-preservation and survival.
But ultimately we realize that life is finite, that it is some of these appetites that allow us to feel truly alive, embodied, and engaged with the world around us…not to mention that – goddammit – we deserve pleasure, beauty, and fullness!
Intuitive eating and meditation both support us in reclaiming ownership of our appetites. We attend to our physical selves so that basic needs are met. We work with our minds to overcome fears and obstacles and to discern what we truly desire. We consult with our hearts to determine our deepest values and weigh our allegiance to those against compliance with the systems created to control us.
So now I ask you: what does it look and feel like to be at peace with yourself, to be embodied, to feel fully alive?