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What do you do with hunger?

  • Written by Caron MacLane

Have you ever felt hungry right in the middle of a project? Have you ever felt a yearning hunger for a project that you have been working on? When you are hungry, you can sit with the feeling before responding or you can react. Your choice may depend on whether your hunger is a distraction or a drive. When it is a distraction, it pulls you off course. When it is a drive, it pulls you on course.

When we look at the definition of hunger, it is a compelling need or desire for food (www.dictionary.com). You can react (without thought) or you can respond (with thought) consciously. You feel the yearning for food. You can react and eat whatever is handy. Or you can hold onto the hunger and just experience it. Contain it without action. This time gives you a chance to respond, deciding either to wait or to find something that is nourishing both to the mind and to the body. Think chocolate.

In a broader scope, hunger can be a drive to take you where you would like to go. "You gotta be hungry" according to Les Brown. When considered in this wider sense, the compeller can motivate further action. People feel an attraction to use their strengths, because they are more competent there. When they are more competent, they are more comfortable. They feel the compelling need to move in the direction of their competence. You can use this to take you where you would like to go. To be hungry is to yearn for something. Mother Teresa yearned to serve. She stayed focused and centered her life on service. She used her yearning to stay on her path. She was hungry to serve. Martin Luther King Jr. was filled with the quest for freedom for all people. It permeated his life. His effectiveness was in his singleness of purpose. He was hungry for freedom.

On the other hand, you could allow hunger to divert you. Like the times when you put off something because it is ominous to begin. You go find a snack to procrastinate. Your hunger has served as a distraction.

Perhaps you enjoy learning. You are in the middle of a task and you suddenly become curious about something. That moment seems like the perfect time to research it, as you have thought of it now and you are on the computer anyway. Your hunger for learning just became a distraction to what you are doing in the moment.

When you feel hungry, I encourage you to decide consciously what you will do with that hunger. Whether it is your hunger for food or your hunger for results, notice what happens when you just feel it. Without doing anything. Just be with it.

Notice whether it is a distraction or a drive. From there you can choose what aligns with what you desire long term.

Feel the hunger and use it! Use it to take inventory of what you would really like. Then go for what you would really like.

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