"What's a 'Grabby' Feeling?"

One of the first exercises in The Cherry Pie Paradox is about discovering and identifying the many different physical sensations that we translate as "I'm hungry." In a short meditation I take the reader through the usual places (mouth, stomach, abdomen) but when I wrote “A grabby feeling in your hands…” my editor noted in the margins: “I don’t get it. What the heck is a ‘grabby feeling?’ ”

In my meditation this morning, I had trouble settling in. I followed my breath, I noted the hardness of the chair under my butt, and I looked through my body for other sensations per the instructions. Then I came to my arms and hands—and there it was, a grabby feeling. But grabbing what?

I realized my body was grabbing for--leaning forward into--all that was on my to-do list. My body didn’t want to be in THIS moment, it wanted to move on to the NEXT moment--item #1 on the to-do list. No "Be-Here-Now" for me. Once I recognized the subversive message, I was able to relax my hands and arms, and settle in for the meditation.


This was the same grabby feeling that used to arise when I saw food or thought about eating. I didn’t want to be (emotionally) in the present moment; I wanted a changed state of mind—and eating would do the trick. Then I'd be off the emotional hook for the next few minutes.


Does this make sense? If you meditate, test this for yourself. As your mind wanders to what you need to do next (and it will), notice if and where in the body you have a grabby sensation, then see if you can just let those muscles loosen.


This little quilt hangs over my desk. You may recognize the stylized woman, because she’s a creation of Kim Murton, the artist who illustrated my book. (Kim works in an ever-expanding variety of media as you can see at her Etsy shop).


When I spotted the running woman at a Portland gallery exhibit of Kim's work, I knew the quilt was meant for me. It’s a perfect representation of leaning into the next moment, instead of being in the present one. Onward, ever onward! Faster, faster! (Wakey wakey, Joy—no need to lean into it. The next moment will arrive all on its own without any effort by you.)


I've got lots of mindfulness exercises in The Cherry Pie Paradox to help you be more "here now." You should definitely check it out. 😁🍒 Here's one recent review: