The last time I made a New Year’s resolution (the same year I started this blog) it was “to be a better friend to myself.” In the years before that, I was always resolving to lose more weight, exercise more, read more, watch less tv — all the typical ways of improving myself that never worked, and if they did, never stuck because at the heart of those wishes was the belief that I was broken, that something was wrong with me, that I wasn’t good enough already.
In the years since that vow, I have instead picked a word to guide my year. A mantra of sorts, a reminder of what I want most, what I want to cultivate. I have picked retreat, freedom, home, and this past year was nourish. As is usually the case, the year didn’t turn out at all like how I expected.
I picked nourish because of its double meaning: to feed and to cherish. I imagined a year in which I would reach some optimal level of health and well-being. I felt like I had a solid foundation, had done the work and was standing on solid ground. Instead, I spent the year in a cycle of illness and injury, some of which I talked about here and some of which I didn’t. I was laid low.
It was so confusing to me, considering my intention, my wish to cultivate strength and health. Instead, nourish for me meant feeding and cherishing from a much deeper place. Any one of my issues carried the threat of being long-term, even chronic and ongoing. I had to confront the impermanence of my body directly. The year was about strength, but rather than a kind that allowed me to do extraordinary things, it was the kind that enabled me to endure suffering, the kind that kept me from giving up, the kind that cultivated healing.