the god-shaped hole

23 thoughts on “the god-shaped hole”

  1. Oh yes, I know about this one. I eat, I hoard, I “treat myself”, I over-work, over-commit. You are not crazy or we both (all) are


  2. You don’t sound crazy at all. You sound sane and aware. You’re right – you do that thing you’ve always wanted, you still won’t become totally fulfilled, or a different, happier, more whatever person. I think you need to find the right amout of wanting. Too much and you’re unhappy, too little and you stop growing. I don’t think the wanting is all bad.


  3. What an interesting post, Helen. It’s given me lots to think about. I think you are absolutely right, total acceptance of self is important. Living in the moment helps too – I have a friend who teaches mindfulness meditation and she has helped me a lot.


  4. I hear you Helen. I have tried being busy, living up to the expectations have of me etc etc. I guess I have a great deal of difficulty with “I am enough”, yet I don’t have difficulty with that notion in other people. There is some part of me that thinks ‘being’ is not enough, I have to be ‘doing’. And yet when I sit quietly even for 10 mins a day I am so much better for it. I don’t have the answers, but am very much aware of that ‘god-shaped hole’ in me.


  5. I sometimes wonder if the notion of ‘happiness’ is just another means of oppressing populations, and forcing us to consume more than we need. Did it get invented to keep us in line around the time team-based religion lost its sway? Other fauna and flora seem to do quite well without happiness. No doubt, many vertebrates can experience ‘pleasure’. I expect even trees have some notion about their overall state of health. But humans have to take it one step too far.
    Of course, mere happiness is not good enough for Calvin:


  6. great post helen. the ‘god-shaped hole’ is something i have been thinking about a lot lately, but i didn’t know what to call it!
    you are not crazy, but thoughtful and wise.
    the god-hole idea has a lot of resonance for me as i had a very religious upbringing and never dreamed i would become pretty much an atheist, as i am now.
    where i am at right now (in trying to fill that shape) is living my everyday life in the kindest and most artful way possible, and this is a challenge that i will never tire of. at least, i can’t imagine it!


    1. You’re certainly a big inspiration to me (and many others) of how to live artfully every day, Melissa. I’m sitting here drinking tea and listening to Feist and feeling pretty lucky. Yesterday when I wrote this post I felt a bit wretched. It’s funny how much our human moods can swing in the space of a year, a month, a week, a day, an hour…. x Helen


  7. reading this again, what i really like is your talking about nothing filling the hole. i felt less alone with my hole, more able to bear it. for me, it seems best to think that there just isn’t a self at all and maybe for my ego that’s the hole -or whole.


  8. I woke up thinking about this topic.. (I’m a little weird like that) I googled “God shaped hole Anne Lamott” and this is what I found. Perfecto!! It’s nice to meet you!


  9. Wow – this really speaks to me right now. I’ve been doing a lot of writing and soul searching about that god-shaped hole, though I didn’t know what to call it til just now. Up to now I’ve been shoving food into it – for years. When I think of the food I’ve wasted…

    Now I’m on a completely different diet for medical reasons in order to heal an autoimmune disease, and I’m trying to use this healthy eating and the work it involves (preparing a lot of homemade fermented foods, for instance) as something sacred and beautiful for myself. Rather than, you know, moaning and weeping over the foods I can no longer eat. I feel myself connecting with myself for the first time in a long, long time, and this is somehow leading me to more teachers, more lessons, more fulfillment. Beautiful how the universe unfolds, isn’t it? I’m healing so many parts of myself.

    And wouldn’t you know, I’ve lost almost 10 lbs in the first couple of weeks, too. Go figure. 🙂


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