Nourishment is more than just food?
Why are we here? We exist not to pursue happiness, which is fleeting, or outer accomplishment, which can always be bettered. We are here to nourish ourselves. In order to feed our hearts and soul. In order to love.
– Deepak Chopra and Myself
As I’m writing this I am enjoying the first weekend I’ve had completely to myself in nearly 3 years!
That means that in the past 3 years I have never been on my own for more than a few hours at a time and during those few hours I have usually had to be thinking about someone else or had some kind of time frame or schedule to fit in to.
It’s ok, this is part of working motherhood and I accept that – in fact the gifts of being a mother to my gorgeous 2 1/2 year old daughter outweighs it all, by far! But I must admit, I have REALLY loved this time to myself and it has reminded me of what life used to be like before. When I used to have all the time in the world to think of myself, to listen to my own needs and nourish them in whatever way I could. I realise that before becoming a mamma listening to and taking care of my own needs and working out how to nourish them used to be my full time job! And now, taking care of someone else’s needs and working out how to nourish them has become my full time job and squeezing in a few moments to listen to my own gets fit in there somewhere now and then…… and sometimes it doesn’t get fit in much at all.
Along with being my weekend for me this weekend has also been rife with tragedy, pain and loss as we have all been confronted with the realities of where our world and planet is coming to. Such unbelievable senseless violence creating so much suffering throughout the world leaving most of us feeling so utterly powerless as to what to do or how to change it.
It has left me reflecting a lot on what is at the core need of us all? Us humans. That when unmet seems to leave us straying so far off track from our true nature, which inherently is love. And I mean this just as much for myself as for any of those that are responsible for causing such suffering to others. I mean this for all of us.
This time alone has really allowed me to reflect on what nourishment really means. And how incredibly important it is in order for us humans to be able to fully love. I realise that although I eat so well most of the time and cook myself delicious nourishing food often, this weekend has highlighted that still, even though I am fed very well I have still ended up relatively starved. And this starvation has eaten into my soul more than any lack of food or getting the right minerals or vitamins. This starvation has played heavily on my heart leaving me feeling tired, heavy hearted and blocked.
During this time alone I have been feeding these starved parts of myself in ways that food just cannot reach. I have been able to just drift through my Saturday listening only to my heart and going wherever it wants to go. A fleeting trip to my local farmers market to pick up our weekly veg. A meeting with a dear and trusted friend to share together and receive and give love and support. A long luxurious bubble bath with no bath toys and no need to rush to get out. An hours nap in the middle of the day which I must admit could have gone on for much longer. Complete solitude and just sitting with my breath. Listening to my cravings and making some scrumptious Caramel Fudge Nut Brownies and sitting with a cup of tea and some music on reading my highly neglected book on the sofa. A lie-in till 9am with the time and space to just sit and listen to the wind, the leaves and the birds. The list is endless and I’m only half way through Sunday morning.
All of this is food for me, nourishment that I need not only to survive but to flourish….. and to love. Nourishment that I need to replenish my heart so that I may have something else to give away. So that I may feel so unbelievably loved that all I can do is love everyone else around me.
With all the suffering going on in the world today it may seem selfish, self-indulgent, futile to bring so much focus back to ourself and fully nourishing ourselves but I believe, along with so many other spiritual teachers out there, that this is the key to a life, world, race full of love, peace and compassion. It is impossible to give from an empty cup and impossible to fully love from a broken starved heart.
I remember, many years ago, when I was attending a Satsang with a beautiful spiritual teacher called Mooji and he was taking questions from all the audience. A woman came up to the stage carrying her 2 year old daughter sitting on her hip. She was so full of anger and rage at the state of the planet. She took the microphone and said to Mooji:
“How can you talk so much about us all focussing on self when there are politicians out there killing this planet, when the government is taking us all in the wrong direction, when animals and people are dying horrible deaths on a daily basis?”
And although her words were true what was interesting is that the only thing any of us who were watching her could focus on was the amount of anger and rage that was coming out of her. It was so uncomfortable to witness and very painful.
Beautifully, Mooji responded to her:
“My darling, if you are to truly bring forth healing in the world, please, first bring healing back to yourself. Anger cannot heal anger. Rage cannot heal rage. Love is the only thing that is powerful enough to transform everything else. So please, stop trying to save the world and save yourself. That is the first step.”
It was so profound to hear these words. How by focussing on my own relationship to myself and to love can I make a difference in this world? And what I have learnt since then, and what I have re-learnt again this weekend is, when I bring the focus back to me, when I become so full of love and nourishment, within all of me, my heart, my soul, my body, my mind there is nothing else I can do but to love others. Like love begins to pour out of me like an overflowing waterfall. And it no longer is an act of ‘trying to love” but it just becomes ‘being love’
So for those of you out there that are feeling the effects and sadness of the state of our planet, and for those of you that are feeling the effects of feeling starved in some way, I write this for you. Stop and bring the focus back to yourselves. How can you feed yourself today, this week, to replenish your heart? How can you nourish yourself so that you are being fed from the inside out?
For each one of us this may look very different as we all have different needs but here are some tools that I use and I also teach to my students on how to discover what it is that you may be starving for:
1. Look out for the signs: – Usually there are telltale signs that we are becoming starved and that we need to bring the focus back to ourselves and nourishing ourselves. Here are some that I see often happen both for myself and for others:
Cravings and a need to overeat – trying to fill up but with secondary foods rather than primary ones.
Anger and frustration at others and the world in general.
Feelings of exhaustion, being run down, depleted.
Usually our health or body will also give us signs like health issues, out of whack menstrual cycles, back aches, injuries, headaches.
Constantly focusing on how other people are getting it wrong and how you feel they should do it better! This is a tough one but in my experience, if this is happening then we need to bring the focus back to ourselves and why we are feeling so disappointed in everyone else.
2. Journalling – This is a tool I use for almost everything. Write about it. Ask yourself how you are doing and if you are feeling starved. The answer will come whether you like it or not. Write it down, get it all out on paper and out of your head.
3. Take some time to be alone – Usually I find it much easier to hear what it is I need when I am alone. When I have no distractions taking my focus away from hearing what my needs are. Even if you just take a little time of solitude to listen and check in with yourself, it will be worthwhile.
4. What do you love? – Ask yourself what it is that you truly love and have you stopped doing these things? Do you love dancing, singing, writing, cooking, being social, shopping? Each one of us is different and so it is important you re-connect with what it is that you really love then try and bring this back into your life.
5. Do a Life Balance Chart – This is a really helpful exercise that I use both for myself and my students. Sit down with some quiet time to yourself and draw a circle on a piece of paper. Then write your name in the middle of this circle. Then draw lines coming out of the circle for the following:
- Health & Well Being
- Physical & Exercise
- Spiritual & Soul
- Relationships – Love, intimacy, Sex
- Play & Fun
- Work Fulfillment
These are all important areas of nourishment that every human being needs in their life. Under each section write where you are right now in nourishing these sections. It is likely that some are very focussed on and others are empty. It is very usual to have more focus on some areas and less on others but what we are really aiming for is that all areas are being taken care of in some way or other. So if any of them are looking very empty and neglected then try and see if there is some way you can incorporate more nourishment for these areas.
So that’s it from me for this weeks reflection. I hope that you have found it helpful and as I say every week, it has been incredibly helpful for me to write. I want to leave you with saying one last thing – I realise that this way may not be the easiest path, as it is one of becoming fully accountable for oneself. Becoming fully responsible for nourishing our own needs so that we are even capable to fully love, accept and be compassionate to others around us. But I believe it can be the most nourishing one.
I’ll finish with this beautiful quote from Mooji and wish you all a beautiful loving magical week.
Don’t worry about anything at all.
You are not here by accident.
This form is just a costume for a while.
But the one who is behind the costume,
this one is eternal. You must know this.
If you know this and trust this,
you don’t have to worry about anything.
This world is so full of love.
And your heart, your being,
is so full of love, so full of peace.
You don’t have to go
to some place else to find peace.
It is right where you are.