There is a hunger in my belly. A gnawing rumble. An emptiness. A hollow entreaty to be satiated. It is not food I crave. I am lucky there, food aplenty in my fridge, or delivered to my door. No, it is a deeper yearning, a desire to be fed, to suckle and be nurtured and be nourished by life itself.
I savour the sweet spots of my existence, like a nectar, a mystical elixir that sits precious in this challenging world. Those moments that are like gold. Framed in a timeless shadow of a memory, that I wear like diamonds around my neck. Time with my loved ones, sunrise over a frosty field, the hug of friends and community, a prayer shared around a fire, a good book under the duvet, lunch club, the weight of a purring cat on my chest, caravan adventures, ceremony, pilgrimage, cold healing springs, a buzzard overhead, an out-of-the-blue email from a friend, belly laughs; these gems are sustenance to my soul. I harvest these moments greedily and display them in the scrap book of my mind.
And what warms your heart and nourishes your spirit when the nights are long and dark and quiet? What brings a smile to your face, and lifts your spirits? Do you make time to feed that empty place within that makes you sad, or makes you ponder the meaning of it all? What makes your heart sing? What brings a smile to your face? Can you taste Joy? Life can become swallowed beneath a regime of duties and do’s, and don’ts, and oughts, and musts, and expectations, and habits, and lists, and distractions until we are so caught up in the wheel of it all, the relentless frenzy of the everyday, the white noise of our existence that we have forgotten why we are here at all. That life is more than merely something to be ‘got through’, it is a gift, even if it sometimes feels like a relentless pass-the-parcel with nothing but forfeits beneath every layer, there is a prize awaiting you at the centre. It is up to us to make a life a work of art. And it is not about the applause or the reward, but about the effort you put in, the journey you undertake, and the beauty you seek to manifest. Seeds sown reap their own reward. It is not about success or failure, it lies simply in the act of having a go. And of the keeping going – the keep on keepin’ on when the road gets tough. If you do not make the effort to prospect for gold then you are unlikely to find it. If you do not believe that it may lie hidden beneath the dirt, then for you it will never exist.
It now comes as no surprise to me that against the backdrop of all that currently challenges me, life can taste sweeter than ever. And I don’t say this with any sense of irony. Not every day nor every moment, but here and there, like a shooting star that illuminates the night sky or the glory of a rainbow before it fades. Small nuggets of gold reveal themselves to me, glinting beneath the water on the muddy river bed. And in those moments I am rich. Where once life was something I took for granted, about which I was at times cavalier, not mindful of its divine preciousness, and even perhaps had an ambivalence towards. Now I have been taught the lesson of humility and gratitude. Illness has given me the eyes to see. I marvel at my prior capacity for blindness, where the spotlight of attention illuminated those things that aroused fear or lack, and the blessings in my life hid themselves in the shade.
And so I return to the question of nourishment. How do we nourish ourselves? Why do we need to nourish ourselves. As humans the first nourishment we receive originates from the mother, first from within the womb, and then for most of us at her breast, where all the nutrients we require to develop, grow and remain healthy in the physical sense are provided and tailored to our needs. But nourishment comes to us in more than just nutritional form, if we are lucky, our mother, our parents, our wider community nourish us on an emotional, psychological, intellectual, creative and spiritual plane. And so we develop a robustness and resilience to help us negotiate whatever comes our way. But what if we are mal-nourished? Like a diet lacking in nutrients and overloading on sugar and processed foods leads to weakness to sickness, so too does a life poor in the things that feed the soul. So how do you nourish your soul? Do you remember to make time for those things that bring a smile to your face, a glow, a sense of joy and contentment, an appreciation of the here and now, when the mind is not caught up in the worries of yesterday or worrying about tomorrow and what is yet to come?
Have we mistaken distraction for relaxation, for quality time? A glass or two of wine, hours lost on social media: comparing, competing and validating our existance, TV, magazines, games, drugs legal and illegal – junk food for the soul – all help us to forget and numb ourselves from what is hard to endure.
But don’t get lost in getting lost. Cherish the time you have. Give yourself permission to savour what is sweet and discard what doesn’t serve. To nourish and nurture yourself and what is precious to you is vital to your wellbeing. It reminds you that you are worth it. That you matter. That you are worthy. That you deserve life. It feeds your self-esteem, which feeds confidence, which fosters your sense of being loved. And when we feel loved, and worthy, and confident we can become proud of who we are, we bring ourselves back into balance and feel less inclined to compete, to compare, to judge, to exclude, to be in conflict – both with ourselves and others. To nourish oneself means that we are less likely to need to seek nourishment or approval or permission from elsewhere: from another person, a habit or society at large. Instead, perhaps discontent, anger, fear, boredom, helplessness, sadness, rage, guilt, resentment, blame, meaninglessness could be replaced by a meaningful sensation of contentment, purpose, satisfaction and inspiration.
I am hungry. My spirit is craving to be fed. A walk in nature is the meal I desire. Alone in the woods where the breeze blows new strength into my being, where the stream washes away my worries, where I sit upon the wet earth and feel her heartbeat, my back against a tree for support, my fingers buried in the damp, green mossy carpet. Plugging into the pulse of life. Interconnection. Inspiration. Belonging. Where before and after dissolve into here and now, where my heart calms, where beneath a rock or in the whisper of the leaves I find restoration and rejuvenation, and I look up not down, forward not back, and I breathe in the beauty of life. A true feast for the soul.
Trouble is, I tripped over some washing (I know, ridiculous, and painful!) and have been forced to slow down, to stop, confined to the static safety of the sofa out of harm’s way for a few weeks. Good in the sense that I have no alternative but to get on with writing my book, but oh the yearning for the sweet nourishment of my heart and soul. No matter, the memory and promise of nature’s caress inspire me daily, she is going nowhere. And neither am I.
Cherish the sweet spots. Nourish your soul. Bon Appetit! Oh and look out for the washing!
36 Comments Add yours
We all need to heed your message and take time to really consider what we do every day,it ready can be ‘small things having big impacts’ we have to recognise the fragility of life on a daily basis.
Sincere gratitude Leah for writing this post .
When do you hope to have your book published, we look forward to news.
Namaste ,David & Jill xxx
Beautiful words Leah. You are an inspiration and make me think again on what is important in life. Take care and look forward to hearing more and cannot wait to read your book.
Thank you so much just back from doctor heart rate v high…i have extreme anxiety .i had breast cancer too…leah lovely to see your greys come thrrough i am allergic now but hair dye is full of chemicals you ate beautiful
After a beautiful walk in the cold and sunny Leicestershire countryside this morning I totally agree with your writing, only takes the simple things to lift our spirits.
I’ll keep my eyes on the washing and wait for your book, then I can sit on the sofa too!!
With love xx
Leah such beautiful words, rich and wise in grace and gratitude. Perhaps you’d like this poem by Atticus i love it’s sentiment:
There is an island i know –
I shouldn’t even mention-
it’s a fairy tale, you see
where no one wears shoes and no one needs to –
the houses are hobbit like with grass on the roofs
and the food is fresh from a nearby farm
every morning the tea sits steeping on long wooden counters
with toast and jams from local berries –
the crickets always crick here
and the birds call, the kind that make you stop and say
‘Now that is a beautiful song’-
the sun is hot
without a cloud in the sky
and the beach runs out for a mile
in silky white sand-
So that when the tide flows back in the afternoon
it heats up, warm as a bath,
when it rains
you build puzzles, and paint and read
and light fires that crackle
and smell like cedar saunas
and each night, rain or shine
you drink wine
and listen to records
while you play games
you’ll lay in long grass
and chase the stars around the sky
heads close together with the ones you love –
each day is the same
you do what brings you peace –
and the wildest part of it all
is the island is real
my toes are in it’s sand
Thank you, I absolutely LOVE that. It is a place I would love to reside xx Paradise.
I am so grateful to know a human being as yourself exists and to be able to read your writings ….today I had yet another eye injection and am told I am too young to have wet macular degeneration in left eye and dry in right eye so thank you for having the energy compassion to share your thoughts and yes that island would be wonderful ….tons of love and all good thoughts and feeling Leah ❤ XXXXX
And to you Maria
Lovely, meaningful words Leah. I was just talking to my son earlier about the importance of taking time out to recognise the moments that fill your heart and make you smile. They don’t have to be big things. . sometimes it’s the little simple things that can lift your spirits. Much love to you, Namaste x
And to you and Rik. Miss our Thursdays xx
I love the line ‘dont get lost in getting lost’. It’s so true and what I do and what so many do to escape. Life is beautiful but painful. You write beautifully. XX
Thank you many blessings x
Lovely words Leah, you write beautifully, and your words always ring true. Struggling at the moment with my lungs (two tumours removed and DIPNECH – which no one as ever heard of apparently!!! ont even alot of Doctors 😦 ) cant seem to shift a cold i’ve had since Christmas, feeling very sorry for myself, but I visualise myself sitting by that tree with the stream etc, away from the dark sleepless nights filled with anxiety. Stay well lovely lady xxxx
You truly are an inspiration, Leah.
I’m writing this just as my 7month old baby boy has just gone down for his morning nap. The hours of 6-8am are a blur of nappies, milk, dog duties, clothes washing (taking care not to trip) dishwashing and meal prep. All this so my wife has an extra little lie in.
She has lupus and since having our little boy, her kidney function has dropped. She has plans to quit her stressful work as a primary teacher and teach kids yoga. She’s so excited at the prospect and it’s lovely to see.
Anyway, It’s hard work at the moment and reading this really helped ground me this morning and I really appreciate it x
All of the love x
And to you Rob, and very good luck to your wife with her health and dream. X
Hi there Leah.
Your words are so welcome and a huge inspiration.
Take care and enjoy writing your book.
Much love, light and healing x
“It is up to us to make a life a work of art” – as usual, so insightful Leah. As a carer to my wife, I have difficulty finding time for pursuing many of my own pleasurable activities, but I fit in what I can. Those little nuggets of ‘me time’ are as precious as gold.
One thing I can always find time for though, is reading your blog. Your writings nourish my soul and have led to me finding another gold nugget in yoga. Take care.
God bless you Leah xxx Wishing you nothing but love xx
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Reblogged this on Sue Vincent's Daily Echo.
A beautiful post, Leah.
Reblogged this on GrannyMoon's Morning Feast.
So great to be reading your thoughtful and heartfelt words, I agree that we all can get caught up and lost in the minutiae of our daily lives at times, often following pointless routines that we’ve somehow sunken into. Why do so many of us (myself for certain) waste hours or even years doing things that we do not enjoy with no goal or reward in sight for ourselves or others? Like you say we must feed and nourish our souls and try our best to make ourselves and others happy, as this life is a gift and not a moment should be wasted or unappreciated. Your positivity is inspiring, I wish you lots of success with your book and I look forward to reading it, take care Leah x
Thank you Paul
Leah, you words bring light to my soul- you are a blessing x thanks so much
Thank you so much. Om Shanti
Thanks for finding the strength and inspiration to write this blog. I found it very comforting knowing that after eight rounds of chemo, I’m not the only person living with the feelings and frustrations that you so eloquently describe. None of us want to feel alone. Greetings from Albany, Western Australia.
Thanks for finding the energy and inspiration to write this blog. I’ve just finished round eight of chemo for stomach cancer and reading it has helped me feel that little bit less alone in the world.
Wishing you the very best of luck Peter x
Your writing is breathtaking . Truly. Thank you so much.
Came across this by accident, I have a couple of friends going through similar; but sending you thousands of positive waves! Good luck!
Thank you Adrian