Soul Food

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Mind. Body. Belly. Sometimes nourishing my body means turning on the oven and mixing up a sweet, gooey treat. I’ve always loved to bake, ever since my grandma handed me a ball of biscuit dough. “Consistency is the key,” were her wise words. She taught me about using my intuition before I even know what it was, measuring out buttermilk and flour with a careful eye, no recipe necessary if you were truly paying attention. I don’t always like to follow recipes, but whether I do or not, the creation process soothes my soul.

I’ve been thinking a lot about something one of my friends said to me a week ago. “You’ve gotta nourish your soul. Nobody else is going to do it for you.” Feeding your soul often feels to me like a foreign concept. Since I returned from Nicaragua, I have felt the pressure of performing, proving myself, and doing it all for other people. Decorating and grooming your body and your home has become such a natural part of our daily lives, but tending to deeper matters can feel so time consuming and intimidating. However, I think inner nourishment can be simplified if we think about those things that bring us that deep satisfaction and put them into practice.

The Sweet Balance:

So how do we practice nourishing our mind, body and spirit? I think it’s a very similar practicing kindness towards ourselves. Kindness requires us to consciously choose our thoughts and how we respond to people, life, and the experiences we invite into our lives. Your commute to work, your job, your happy hours and group workouts become an effortless routine until your schedule is so packed that you are forced to pause and reflect on how the activities you have chosen for fulfillment have all of a sudden created the stress you were trying to avoid all along. You can’t always quit your job, sell your belongings and take off to a foreign country to start over. Sometimes you have to sit with your circumstances and look for ways to nurture yourself within them.

I actually feel lucky to have experienced both situations. I have packed up and left and started over somewhere else. I have gotten myself stuck in circumstances that really didn’t serve me, a lifestyle that was fun, busy, yet unfulfilling. The lesson I took away from both of these experiences was that consciously living is how we nourish ourselves. Knowing ourselves and offering ourselves compassion, enough to be willing to create lives centered around kindness and love, that’s the sweet spot.

How do I get there?

“You begin with yourself because without loving yourself it is almost impossible to love others.” –Jack Kornfield

Jack Kornfield teaches about the abundance of life we can allow into our lives when we start by practicing loving-kindness towards ourselves. This is a way we can consciously nourish our souls. When we build a foundation of self-love, that same compassion begins to flow out of us and through us.

If you find yourself in a moment of struggle or stress, I invite you to incorporate this meditation into your daily practice:

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Sometimes, filling our minds with messages of love can soothe the soul in a way that no person, place or cookie can. I often search for encouraging words when I’m going through a rough time. When we can’t make changes to our schedules, we can be mindful of what we’re mindful of. This is where meditations like Kornfield’s are extremely helpful.

When taking action is needed, we can give ourselves a love offering. I love to bake, and often feel so energized afterwards that I want to share my sweet little nuggets with friends and family. Creating, giving, nature, all of these things nourish us within. If you need some ideas on how you can feed your soul, take a look at this collection of practices help feed your soul:

50 Ways to Nourish Your Soul

“Consistency is the key,” I think to myself. My grandmother’s words have become the foundation I have been seeking as I re-establish myself in my hometown. So much has changed. I have changed. But building a stable foundation, a life based on my truth, love and a conscious decision to be kind is the consistency that grows the type of roots I want to be grounded in.

“It was when I stopped searching for home within others and lifted the foundations of home within myself I found there were no roots more intimate than those between a mind and body that have decided to be whole.” –Rupi Kaur

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