When the weather turns wintery our thoughts often turn to comfort food. Warm, satisfying, hugs in a bowl … What is it we’re really craving? When we’re feeling down, we can find ourselves reaching for fatty, sugary, carb-laden food. What are we really looking for?
There are any number of explanations as to why we do this, from deep-seated evolutionary drives to store fat as energy for the colder, leaner months to more present unmet emotional needs.
A lightbulb moment happened when I turned my attention from the why to the what. What was I actually seeking?
Nourishment for my body.
Nourishment for my mind.
And nourishment for my soul.
From The Oxford Dictionary –
- provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition
- enhance the fertility of
Nourish stems from the Latin nutrire: ‘feed, cherish’. It’s that deeper meaning that sounds for me – not just feed, but feed with heart, with love.
Nourishment. I need and want to nourish myself. Inside and out. That tingly feeling when you’ve hit exactly the right note.
Nourishment for the body, is on the surface, seemingly straightforward. Good, clean, healthy, whole food. Rest. Exercise. A work in progress.
Nourishing mind and soul can be a bit trickier. Both can be considered separately but are also intertwined not only with each other but with the well-being of our body as well.
I have spent time over the past year or so contemplating who I am and what makes me tick. Examining my inner life if you will.
Traditional religious practices have never clicked for me so that wasn’t an option for feeding my soul. I needed to work out what would work. What form my fuel of life would take.
Never one of the ‘top’ English students at school, I have done a lot of functional writing over my 25 years in higher education and the workforce (eek – giving my age away!). Essays, theses, forms, brochures, web content, proposals, reports, applications. Many, many words have flowed from my brain and fingers. Now they are starting to flow from my heart. Because it feels good. Sometimes it feels amazingly awesome! But a bit scary.
Connection with others also nourishes my soul. Face to face or using technology. Connecting with loved ones, making new connections with people on a similar wavelength.
Conversely spending time alone, in silence or outside are all necessary ingredients for a nourished self.
Creating… food… objects of meaning or beauty… and sharing them. Developing rituals and rhythms that reflect who I am and my family.
It’s an ongoing process to both unearth what it is that I need to fill me up and how to ensure it becomes a natural part of everyday living.
How do you nourish yourself? Is it straightforward or something you have to work at?