Foods are sometimes misused as a substance for emotional management or control. People restrict intake to feel a sense of control over their body. Some over indulge regularly or at intervals in order to generate strong bodily sensation to mask emotion, divert attention from emotion, and create an emotion to manage another. Often, anxiety creates an empty sensation people try to fill or blunt with food. When sad, lonely, or depressed, we use foods that boost positive feelings: chocolate, carbs, fats, and sugars. We use food to fill emptiness and its encouraged through marketing. “I’m an emotional eater…” is a common phrase I hear. This can be a difficult pattern, habit, or symptoms to change since we can’t simply encourage abstinence as we can with alcohol or drugs/substances used recreationally or to self-medicate. Food is essential for life, so other approaches to change problematic eating are needed.
Food has always been a part of Freemasonry—as it has in every tradition. It is both material relief and metaphor. In our second degree, part of our traditional wages. Lodges set aside days of the year or month to serve those less fortunate. We provide meals to brethren with thought and care. Men, cooking or providing for, and nurturing, one another…and cherishing every moment. To be clear, at the core of every meal is not always about the food. The primary ingredient is quite often, Love. I can’t blame lack of coffee the morning of my initiation for the fact I wasn’t ready to ascertain the meaning in my newfound Brother’s gift to me: “Welcome. You will not be taxed or punished for getting what you need here. I’ve felt welcomed and cared for by the fraternity. Don’t worry Brother, it can happen for you, too.” He is getting what he needs for his development through the way he serves and is served-literally-in the Scottish Rite. Who am I to disrupt or disparage his path?
Brother Erik Marks is a clinical social worker whose usual vocation has been in the field of human services in a wide range of settings since 1990. He was raised in 2017 by his biologically younger Brother and then Worshipful Master in Alpha Lodge in Framingham, MA. You may contact brother Marks by email: erik@StrongGrip.org