Shortly after the new year as we gathered to celebrate my youngest son’s college graduation, my family and I took a moment to reflect and share our individual intentions for the year ahead. One by one, we thought about what we craved and what we needed to purposefully incorporate into our lives. The three men in my life shared their aspirations. Being, in the present by not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Awareness, of his actions on others and of his surroundings. Exploration, trying new things and getting out of his comfort zone. When the attention turned to me, it was clear what I needed most. Nourish, creating the conditions necessary for growth, health and optimizing life.
My original thinking about the word nourish centered around food. My tendency to “push through” and satisfy my appetite at dinnertime with popcorn, homemade chocolate chip cookies and a glass of rose, while psychically satisfying, was no longer serving my best interests or my overall health. I could easily address this by making better choices for myself, but in order to step beyond and flourish, I needed to look beyond food to all that I ingested – from social media and digital noise, to the company that I keep.
“How would your life be different if…
You were conscious about the food you ate, the people you surround yourself with, and the media you watch, listen to, or read?
Let today be the day…
You pay attention to what you feed your mind, your body, and your life.
Create a nourishing environment conducive to your growth and well-being today.”
-Steve Maraboli, The Power of One
What I’m Learning: Beginnings Matter
I recognize that how I start my day sets the tone for all that comes after. I am learning that controlling the early morning hours by only taking in what I choose to, from Quordle and Wordle to Meditations with Sarah Blondin and Yoga with Adriene. These simple activities nourish my mind, body and soul. This also means the elimination of other elements in my environment, including the incessant need to check emails, social media or news outlets.
Additional strategies to nourish can be incorporated throughout the day. In conversation with cognitive scientist Dr. Laurie Santos, Glennon Doyle recognizes that it is better to start or interrupt one’s day with periods of rest, rather than waiting until burn out: “Instead of holding your breath all day and then breathing, breathe first and then the rest of your day has more joy infused in it.” We don’t engage while we’re resting, says Laurie, who intentionally practices calling a friend, taking a walk, or engaging in a hobby before taking part in passive rest.
What I Know For Sure: Friendships Matter
Social connection — a phenomenon that has proven more difficult since March 2020, is an essential part of nourishing yourself. I am fortunate to have recently returned from a girls weekend that essentially turned into a 72-hour running conversation with six other women that I have known for more than 45 years. Our time together evoked images of aspen trees. One aspen tree is actually only a small part of a larger organism – extensive root systems under the soil tie a group of “clone” trees together. Since our early childhood experience at summer camp bound us together, we have built a foundation that has us intertwined beneath the surface and has allowed us to grow seemingly independent lives. Our connection, however, is so deep, that it allows us to return together after many years have passed and pick up where we left off. Our enduring love for and commitment to one another nourished my heart and soul in profound ways.
Take in beauty
to nourish your soul
Breathe in green
to soothe your spirit
Do whatever you can
to fill your heart
Remind yourself
of the miracle of your life