I guess we’ve all had those moments in life when we fell completely “starved and malnourished”. But what does “nourishing” mean and what do we really need?
Often in those challenging moments of life, the first thing people look for is information how to nourish the body with food -what to eat, how, why, where. Of course, there are some basic principles such as eating a nutrient-rich, (mainly) plant-based daily menu with whole foods and drinking good quality, clean water. As is proper rest and some kind of movement that the body enjoys.
However, this approach is somehow reductionist and too behaviorist. When you eat these nutriments or do that, then and only then, you will be healthy and happy. Often forgotten, when “consuming” whole foods, fresh air, clean water etc, we actually consume and commune with the deepest source of life. This awareness alone is extremely nourishing and helps us to remember how sacred food actually is. When touching the object of our awareness, it brings us in contact with all the wonders of life and nourishes us on a much deeper level. Nourishment comes in many surprising and mysterious forms beyond food.
Unfortunately, in search for something that would truly nourish us, we keep looking outside for all the answers. The green smoothie, the massage or yoga class might give us a brief moment of harmony or inner peace but it isn’t sustainable and long lasting. When we fuel our minds with ego-driven stories and psychic tension, we will always have a sense of starvation and disconnection. When we are burdened by thoughts such as “you’re worthless” or “you have to be perfect”, we create more harm than good. However, we don’t need to fight these thoughts, rather speak to the ego and envelop it with love. These open wounds need care, a soothing touch and kind whispering words.
A saying of Rumi “What you seek, is seeking you”. Instead of living solely an outward-focused life, when we start turning within we will find what we are truly longing for. To get there takes courage, strong determination, patience and surrender. “Don’t get back to sleep”, says Rumi, “Let’s stay awake and drink the sweet nectar of the Divine Love”. When we are more and more emptied out of our mental and emotional conditionings and able to dismantle the inner critic, perfectionist or pusher, we can nourish ourselves deeply with a loving heart.
Spiritually hungry, we long for our true nature where love resides at its core. Not just a glimpse now and then in a meditation room, rather feeling this loving presence in our daily lives like an ocean that surrounds and supports us. The desire for true nourishment often starts with a search outside of us. Then, after many years this hunger takes us on an inward journey with a very unexpected outcome.
How would you describe and nourish this deep longing? How do you address this theme with your clients?
Caroline Baerten, MA, RD – Belgium