Befriending Our Hunger

Dear Readers,
For the past month, I’ve been on a quest to shed a few of these winter pounds. But don’t worry: I’m still eating plenty! And eating well. Over on my personal blog, Spa of the Mind, I just wrote a post about Eating Mindfully, Eating Well, and how if we really attend to our food with mindfulness, it satisfies in so many ways.

In that post, I talk about a book I’m reading:Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food, by Dr. Jan Chozen Bays

In it, she describes “The Seven Kinds of Hunger.” They are:

1. Eye Hunger
2. Nose Hunger
3. Mouth Hunger
4. Stomach Hunger
5. Cellular Hunger
6. Mind Hunger
7. Heart Hunger

These kinds of hunger are useful to think about when you’re trying to eat more mindfully, but I thought, for us, we might think about them in a larger sense. What do we hunger for, besides food?

For this week’s writing prompt, write for 15 minutes about hunger, perhaps using the 7 types of hunger as a guide. You can start like this:

My eyes hunger for……..

My nose hungers for…..

My mouth hungers for…..

My stomach (gut) hungers for…..

My cells hunger for…..

My mind hungers for…..

My heart hungers for…..

Or you can write about a time when hunger took you over. What did this hunger feel like? How did you respond to it? If you could speak to this hunger now, what would you say?

We’re eager to hear you what you come up with! (If you haven’t checked out the correspondence on previous posts in Writing Practice, take a look….)

May you befriend your hunger this week, and feel the glow of true satisfaction.

With love,

8 thoughts on “Befriending Our Hunger

  1. i got down with this prompt today. here’s my response. didn’t know it would go to this place:

    the everything of hunger: seven kinds

    my eyes:

    try to see
    what god looks at:
    all time stacked up—
    a plate of thin, hot crepes
    & she can see clear through
    to the bottom of the stack?
    the palimpsest of earth time
    all erasures reappearing
    at her behest?
    in which
    order does time show itself
    to god’s yawning eye?


    in the whole world
    the most
    of all vessels.

    my mind:

    wants to know
    what this place
    is like
    without words
    to describe it,
    in god’s voice/aretha melismatic.

    these cells:

    work so hard
    at not getting cancer

    the heart:

    she is mind-like
    i only see her briefly
    standing on the platform
    comfortable & leggy
    in tricky heels
    while the express
    doesn’t halt
    at 50th street.

    stomach hunger:

    who are we kidding?
    god is truly our stomach
    holding herself open for us
    until we find
    the adequacy
    with which to fill her.

    nose hunger:

    so effortless
    merely inspiration,

  2. Well, I ended up with an essay, a little heavy-handed perhaps, but I’ll bite the bullet. Here it is:

    I was surprised that Chozen Bays didn’t include skin hunger in her list. I remember being told that the skin is our largest organ. And there are all those nerve endings. What about playing with food? The peeling of peaches, tearing of lettuce, stringing of beans? The preliminaries to eating involve touch as well as nose, eyes and mouth.
    I might be stretching the point. But I’m not alone, am I? My skin hungers for touch, the spontaneous touch of greeting in passing, the touch of intimacy, the touch of an attentive presence, the touch that affirms connection. I am reminded of the early adolescent thrill of hand holding.
    Because it is by its nature two-sided, mutual, the touch I give is often enough to fulfill my own skin hunger. I am not usually asking to be touched back; am not fulfilled by quid pro quo touch. I can feed myself if I get hungry, as long as there is a living being within reach, or even a beloved object like the flat black beach rock with the matte surface, or the top of my new writing desk that glows darkly back at me, even my beautiful MacBook Air with its sleek metal finish. The hunger for a reciprocal touch may be something else, a variation of heart hunger. Do you love me too?
    There was a time, I seem to recall it was the late sixties, when we were taught that touch was essential to human survival. Babies in crowded orphanages in Europe after the war, babies who were not cuddled and touched in the course of being cared for among so many, failed to thrive. Perhaps that’s still taught, but I always questioned the way it was interpreted to have equivalent meaning for adults. Infants are in the process of physical development and growth. We adults have already finished that task, for better or for worse. We can live without touch, but it doesn’t mean we don’t still hunger for it in our varied and complicated ways.

  3. I offer another idea. What about ear hunger? I refer to the sounds of nourishment and its anticipation. The clang of pots and pans and dishes retrieved from the cupboard, sizzling and popping while cooking, the crunch of food while eating (I love nuts, popcorn, pretzels,)the perking of coffee, or the ka-ping of ice dropped in glasses waiting for tea or sparkling juice. I am drawn to sounds due to lifelong hearing loss, gratitude for what I hear satisfies a hunger always there. We often speak of the tantalizing aromas when we enter a home or cafe. I also listen to the auditory signals of anticipation and the accompanying acoustics of eating a meal.

    Another area I plan to explore further relates to stomach hunger. I have no stomach as it was removed due to slow growing cancerous tumors. A gastrointestinal loop was formed to act as a small stomach. I eat small meals and snacks throughout the day. I watch the types and amounts of food I combine and the quantity of liquid. Necessity means I savor every choice. Recently I started ruminating about the meaning of this piece of my medical history. Your this post on befriending our hunger gives me lots of nourishing ideas. Thank you!

    • Thank YOU, Ronda! Your examples of ear hunger just delight me. It sounds like we’re creating our own book on all the varieties of hunger!

  4. Wonderful to read all these responses to this week’s prompt! So many kinds of hunger–thanks to you all for articulating them so beautifully. Much good material for further contemplation–and more writing, too!