Last Friday, I met an old friend for cocktails in an achingly hip restaurant. He is just recovering from Stage 3 cancer, he had lost 5 stones in weight and is still not eating properly from the effects of his gruelling radiotherapy.  He is still on food supplements to keep him alive.

But he looked great! When he walked in, dapper in his blazer, a few pairs of eyes turned his way.

“I’m still not eating, and being a foodie, that’s such a torture,” he groused. “But I’ve been forcing myself to eat strawberry tarts to put some weight on.”

But he was in high spirits, looking forward to his date on Tuesday night with a TV celebrity.

He ordered up a storm, though he was not eating, and I ate most of the delicious food.

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“You’re looking good,” I complimented him. “Even when you were ill. I bet your date will be thrilled by your hotness.”

“Ive always been lucky enough wonderful girlfriends,” he said seriously. “I’ve never had drama queens or anything like that.”

I think it’s because there is something quiet and solid about this friend of mine. When I wanted an alternative opinion about a property I am in the midst of buying, I thought of him immediately to talk through my options. He is that sort of guy. I love his self-sufficiency, and they way he has always been happy to be on his own instead of chasing, chasing, chasing.

“There are many lonely people in London, and when you’re lonely, you make the wrong decisions. I’m fortunate that I love my own company,” he mused. “A hungry heart eats empty promises and lies.”

A hungry heart eats empty promises and lies. Indeed it does.

 

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In the story of Siddhartha, one of my favourite books of all time, the protagonist Siddhartha was asked what he had learned from his years of living as an ascetic.

Siddhartha replied that he was now an expert in fasting-meditating-thinking.

Why fasting?

Because when you are hungry and unable to control that emotion, you will act on impulse, often against your higher self (better judgment). You will be driven to do the things you normally wouldn’t do, because of that hunger.

Fasting thus is one of the tenets of many spiritual paths and religious teachings. It is purity. But in the story, Siddhartha told his best friend Govinda that to get the complete picture of the world, we must look at the opposite perspectives. Thus, by my interpretation of this much-loved book, I would say that we must also know how to feed our heart as well as control its hunger pangs.

It’s not so easy to feed the heart when we are living a busy life, and this is when people resort to unhealthy quick fixes … yes, the empty promises and lies.

Here are my three ways to feed your heart:

Meditate. 9 minutes a day EVERYDAY goes a long way.

When you meditate, you will gain wider perspectives of your life and you will learn about yourself. One of the things I learned from this daily practice is there is something else a lot larger than me, here, now.

Find your own private passion and immerse yourself fully in it.

I think it’s very important to have something that you care for deeply, on your own, that you don’t share with anyone else. You need your own anchor, your own sense of self. Mine are running, Jesuit homilies and River Thames….and I spend time with these on my own.

Live joyously.

Whatever is your passion, allow yourself moments of indulgence in it. Mine is food, and I take the time to celebrate the food I make and I eat. This is my indulgence and it fills me with joy.

So, feed your heart with the good things instead of eating other’s empty promises and lies ❤

Courtesy of Project Gutenberg, you can read the whole book Siddhartha for free by clicking on this link.

Main photo: dreamstime.