Monday, January 2, 2017

One Little Word - Nourish

For body, mind, spirit
Growth, health, and good condition.
In one word, NOURISH.

KEB 1/2/16

For a second year, I am participating in Ali Edwards One Little Word project.  This project invites you to choose one word that you will work with throughout the year.  The word should be one that helps you grow personally and perhaps helps you to reach a goal or goals.  I attempted this project last year.  My word was Order.  Although I did make some progress in gaining order in my life, I did not follow through with the work of the project through the entire year.  I am trying again.  In considering this year's project, the word nourish came to me almost immediately.  Before committing to it however, I spent some serious time reflecting on other possibilities.  I entertained several other words, but I kept coming back to "nourish."  Yesterday, it officially became my One Little Word for 2017.

I did toggle back and forth for a bit between the words "nourish" and "nurture."  In my head these words mean two different things, but I could not make the distinction in a concrete way, so I turned to the dictionary.
Nurture  - Care for and protect (someone or something) while they are growing
Nourish  - Provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition
Both words come from the Latin nutrire, meaning to feed.  (I'm glad there is a good reason for my inability to clearly differentiate the meaning of these two words.)  After reading these two definitions, I still had to spend some time cogitating before I could make an absolute distinction.  It didn't help that some dictionaries consider these nourish and nurture to be synonyms.  The conclusion to which I came is that, though both words are verbs and thus suggest action (and I knew my word had to be one that required action), nurture  implies a more general sense of caring for, while nourish demands figuring out exactly what kind of "food" is necessary to stimulate growth, health, good condition and then taking the next step...actually doing the feeding.  This year I want to find the best ways to nourish my body, mind, and spirit as to facilitate positive growth and health. 

I constantly struggle with nourishing my body in a healthy way.  I know what foods are good for it and which ones aren't, but I don't always make choices that reflect this knowledge.  Interestingly, its not even that I don't like foods that provide the best nourishment for my body; I do.  I am a big fan of fruits and vegetables and healthy grains.  One of the things that I will explore throughout the year is what really drives my choices in how I choose to nourish my body and what I can do to put a better decision maker in the driver's seat.

In nourishing my mind, I often get stuck in a pattern of "eating" the same thing day in and day out because it is convenient.  I get my news from the same sources every day.  I read the same magazines.  I read the same authors.  I do vary things in my teaching from semester to semester.  Perhaps my biggest problem with feeding my mind in that I don't feed it regularly.  I alternate between "binge eating" and starvation.  I suspect that the mind, just like the body, benefits from regular "meals."  I need to figure out both a healthy feeding schedule and menu for my mind.

Unlike my mind that binges and then starves itself, my spirit is constantly grazing, always chewing on something.  But like my body, what my spirit sometimes chooses to gnaw on is not necessarily a healthy choice for me.  And often, it is not even conscious of what it has "eaten."  So here too, I will use this year to figure out how to nourish my spirit with intention.

I do know that to nourish my whole self, I need first to figure out how to balance the care and feeding, nurturing and nourishing, of my body, mind, and spirit individually.  Attaining health and positive growth in all three means figuring out the right ingredients for each that will also combine to create a healthy recipe overall...kind of like a chocolate meringue pie.  With the pie you need a crust, chocolate filling, and the meringue.  If any one of those three parts is lacking, the entire pie will be lacking.  And so it goes with body mind and spirit.

And so in this first month of 2017, I am beginning the process of figuring out how to successfully nourish my whole self in such a way that my body, mind, and spirit receive adequate and healthy sustenance so that I reach the end of the year in "good condition."