Category Archives: Nourish

Nourish: My One Word End of Year Review

nourish2015The 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.

Winter Joy Retreat: Edible Memories

nourish2015As you may or may not remember, my word for this year is nourish. I don’t blame you if you don’t remember, kind and gentle reader, as it has slipped my mind at times too. I picked it initially because I loved its double meaning: to feed and to cherish. Those were both things I felt I sorely needed.

The last traditional New Year’s resolution I made was to be a better friend to myself. After that year, I heard about the practice of picking a word instead, a single word that would guide me and help me focus on what I really wanted, an intention that would act as a sort of mantra. The first year I picked retreat, then freedom, then home, and this year nourish. Those first few years I was more immediately focused, had a clearer intention, even did mid-year reviews on the blog.

The first part of this year, I thought a lot about what nourish meant to me, what it would mean to have that in my life, to experience it. But then I got sick and was down for a long time, and when I was finally better, my foot was hurt and has taken such a long time to heal. I tried to rest and take care of myself, but I was confused about what was happening and what I really needed, what I was “supposed” to do, how to “fix” it. I got depressed.

Just recently, however, I’ve felt the fog lifting. I’ve been practicing, reading and listening to podcasts, taking part in some ecourses and other experiences that have helped me see truth. Some of the things I’ve learned, in no particular order:

  • I need more rest, and that is NOT a sign of weakness. I am allowed to rest, it’s okay to be tired. Sometimes the wisest, most compassionate thing is to quit, to do nothing.
  • Because I’m sensitive and tender and keep my heart open, the will it takes to just get out of bed or to leave the house on some days is fierce. This can get confusing when I need rest or quiet or to be alone, because that big will wants to say “suck it up, keep going, get out there,” but that only leads to collapse. The trick is to balance the will with gentleness, to know when and where.
  • Heart-centered work isn’t just about what I can offer the world, it’s about supporting and nourishing me too.
  • Discernment and receptivity are essential to my process, to my life, but they also require a lot of effort and therefore a lot of rest.
  • I am driven by what other people need and want. I have to be so careful to not abandon myself in the pursuit of easing the suffering of others.
  • Breaking old habits takes a really, really, really long time, especially under stress or in chaotic conditions.

WJREdibleMemories600x481As the holidays wind up and the year winds down, I am doing a few special things to support myself, to treat myself. One is taking part in the Winter Joy Retreat hosted by Jena Schwartz and Cigdem Kobu. Just to be clear, I’m an affiliate for everything Jena and Cigdem do through The Inky Path because I absolutely and utterly believe in their work and their mission, and want to share it. Separately these women offer amazing things, but together they are a force to be reckoned with.

I’ve done Winter Joy Retreat before and loved it. I am so excited about this year’s focus on writing and food, and the women contributing are some of my favorites. Edible Memories: A Writing Retreat on Food as a Metaphor and a Feast for Memory is described as “a 14-day annual end-of-the year event that combines inspiration, introspection, connection, fun, and creative expression. It is a fabulous way to relax, rekindle your creative spark, and reconnect with yourself and others as one year finishes and a new one comes along with fresh new possibilities.” Yes, please!