It is easy to think about what nourishes us when we think about food. We think healthy.... we think green veggies, fruit, grains, protein sources. We are all acquainted with junk food, the fatty, salty or sweetly processed foods that call to us. And we know how these things can make us feel. Maybe sluggish and lethargic, maybe they give us a headache or an upset stomach, maybe they just make us feel generally crummy. Or maybe after we eat a bagful or plateful it still tastes like more. You know that feeling of being full but not satisfied?? But sometimes we eat these things anyway. We don't think about it, we need comfort..... In a way that's a completely different story, left for another day.
But there are other parts of this body/mind that are either nourished or not by what we put into ourselves. What activities do we choose, who do we choose to spend our time with? When we start to look at these things and pay attention we can find what nourishes us. Last winter I spent a lot of time watching TV (gasp!). I love the Food Network and Home and Garden channel but what I found after repeatedly gorging myself on them was this: I would turn the TV on for one show and then just stay and before I knew it the evening was over. There was a strange drug like quality for me. And I always felt crummy when I got up, kind of like a human slug, physically tired and disappointed in myself for spending yet another evening in front of the telly. This was not a nourishing activity for me.
When I go out for a coffee and find the music is so loud that I can't visit with the person I am with I feel on edge somehow. I am not nourished by the space. The coffee may be superb, the art on the wall fabulous, the people watching fun, but the whole package doesn't work for me. The other day we had lunch in a wonderful local restaurant called "Cafe Ceylon" and while it was full and busy and noisy there was still a nourishing quality to it. You could feel the food was prepared with love and care, the place was decorated in this simple clean style and everyone was having a good time. I can say I have seldom felt more nourished in a restaurant.
There are people too that fall into the nourishing category, people that support our spiritual life, people that inspire and uplift us and those folks for reasons unknown feel like kindred spirits. And sometimes when we look at relationships we have had for a long time we can see we hang on to ones that are perhaps not nourishing, perhaps even destructive.
It is important I think to look at what nourishes us. We can tell almost immediately by looking inside and asking how we feel. Does this give me energy or does it deplete me? The body seldom lies while the mind is easily confused and often jumps in to second guess us. We may still have obligations that we need to keep, people who don't nourish us that we need to see, activities that drain us and must be attended to. But sometimes we keep the non nourishing because we don't think about it or think we have no options but to continue as we have always done. My mother falls into the non nourishing category for me. (Does that seem unkind?) I mention this as an example of how I work with the nourishing/ non-nourishing aspects of life. I could pretend that this was not true or that I was above feeling this way (I have tried this and it doesn't work). Not only does it not work it stands in the way of finding "wholesome" solutions to the problem. To learning how to nourish and support myself. First I acknowledge what is true for me and then I flail around for a long time trying to come up with solutions! At one point I found that taking my computer over when I visited my mother so we could watch the Oprah and Eckhart Tolle webcasts was nourishing for us both. I plan to record some of her thoughts about her family history. It is important for me to see her but I also want to support a healthy emotion and mental environment for both of us.
As we become more familiar with what nourishes us we will make more wholesome healthy choices, find creative ways to do what needs to be done. This will nourish us in ways we might never of imagined and move us in the direction of our dreams and toward being the person we are really meant to be. And when we are nourished and strong we can more easily nourish others.