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WEEKLY WELLNESS// to nourish

there was a dance in my kitchen yesterday afternoon, just as the last of the now-too-quickly-fading light crept under that wet blanket of winter night.

the lift of the faucet to fill the pitcher, the turn of the dial to warm the coffee maker, the twist of my foot to open the fridge. the flick of the match to light the candle, the shuffle of feet to get to the bath to run the water to pour the salt.

a messily orchestrated movement of steps that ended with me submerged in water, coffee mug resting on chest.

bath and latte.

the thrum of the details of everyday life.

this is the way in which i nourish myself. with a song that is that thrum of everyday life.

to nourish: provide with substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition//enhance the fertility of (soil)

when i read that definition the first time round i mistakingly read (soil) as soul and i had this really hippy-dippy moment in with i let out a huge breath and felt totally justified. yes! yes, yes! fertility of the soul, perfection! and then i realized my mistake.

such a good mistake. such a good and delicious mistake.

you know that expression,  food is love? you must. surely someone reading this has it on a sign hanging in their kitchen. and i get it, and i respect it, but the thing is, i hate it. i absolutely loathe the expression. because it's true in that it's some of the story. but it's not true in that it's not enough of the story. and i think it proves dangerous in that most people in most places think it's entirely true and so they eat and eat and eat. but most things cannot be fed by food.

food is not love. food alone is just not love. believe me, i know. for years i let it try to fill that space meant for self-love and i ended up with a lot of extra weight and a sadness far heavier than there are words to describe it.

when i first met tom he would have me fill out a sheet of paper when i ate. i was meant to say what time it was, where i was eating, what i ate, and how i was feeling. it's a pretty standard practice--he knew that, i knew that, and i wasn't terribly invested in it. i didn't do it for too long, but i have to tell you, the practice of it stuck with me and over the course of time i began to understand the method to this madness.

when i was deep in the throws of the eating disorder people would ask, well, why do you binge? what is it that brings it on? and that question would drive me nuts. it would absolutely unhinge me--because it was so very much the right question and so very much the point and i didn't have an answer. if i knew, i'd tell you. if i knew, it'd be easier. 

how i was feeling.

i used to feel like every emotion was wound into one giant ball of string and a binge was brought on by one of the strings, but all i could ever identify was the mass of the thing--everything and all at once. but slowly, over time, i began to unwind and untangle one from the other. this one here that's guilt. and this one is frustration. and here's thirst, and this one is failure, and this one is that shitty, shitty thing that that shitty, shitty person said to me. and on and on i untangled until i had a thousand separate threads spread between my hands, a bouquet of all i'd ever felt or wanted to know.

and i came to figure out that binges often occurred when i confused thirst for hunger or when i was overly tired and a good long way from bed. to drink and to sleep. basic needs. two ways in which we must nourish ourselves--a need to feed that has nothing to do with food.

to nourish: provide with substance necessary for growth, health, and good condition

to fill. to provide with sustenance. to enhance the quality of life. to drink a cup of tea. to hold something warm between the hands. to submerge the body in water. to take a bath and wash one's hair. to read. oh, to read! to challenge the mind. to call a friend. to crawl into bed. to make love. to date. to laugh. to see a film. to see the world--by boat or train or foot or through a camera lens. to do something of great risk with great love. to listen. to compose. to dance naked. to sit down to a good meal. to hear a child's footsteps against the wood floor.

to ask for help. to say no when no is what is needed. to live one's truth.

there are an infinite number of ways in which we can nourish ourselves. and to nourish one's self is to love one's self. it is to give and offer up love. it is to receive love. food is one form of nourishment, yes,  but just one. it is but a sliver of an ever-extending, all-encompassing sky.

i truly believe that when we figure out how to nourish ourselves--and the importance of it--we'll have begun the next great revolution. that will be how we change the world. that will be how we step back and see the whole of the picture. that will be when we begin to act with greater courage and greater love.

small acts, small kindnesses that we must first give to ourselves.

to feed the (soil) soul.


Suzanna said...

This is so beautiful. I have enjoyed your wellness posts so much. This one really resonates with me....I think there is something one learns by living alone that can't be learned any other way. I remember that dance (I'm now married, the dance is different now, wonderful! but different.) I want a bath and a latte after work today now. My soul/soil needs food.

Chicago girl moves on said...

Yes. A thousand times, yes.

Shelley said...

you are so amazing. My eyes filled with tears as I read this. I know you know how talented you are, but I hope you know how much your words have moved me. You have put things into words in a way that I never could. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Food IS love.

It's too easy to blame the food. The food has too many trans fats, is too unsatisfying, sourced too far away, too delicious to resist (cheez-its!), too big of portions, but in reality, food is just a choice. We have to make the right decisions so we can love food again. Let it be simple, let it be wholesome. And, as you said, let us not confuse spiritual for physical hunger. Let's eat Grandpa's Favorite Casserole and bake a pie for the love of fallen leaves. Food is love.

Diana said...

Needed this one. It is just perfection. I'd honestly like to add "read Meg's blog" to the list of things that nourish my soul because somehow, your words always make me envision better and inspire me to no end.

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with this. :)

Anonymous said...

thank you so much with all my satisfied heart for your blog. I am going through the process of living alone and I have a shower but God do I miss my bath. Have to sort that one out as a matter of importance. I feel nourished when I can connect with other humans on a real level that reminds me that we dont need all the bullshit.