What Nourishes You?
I reached a breaking point in my life in December 2006. I was completely depleted and hanging on by a thread. I was a shell of a person and I felt ‘starved’ for something.
The first thing I was guided to in my healing was information and strategies on how to nourish the body with food – what to eat, how, who, why, where, etc. – and I have done many talks and workshops at local libraries, Whole Foods Markets and universities/colleges about this.
I continue to believe eating a nutrient-rich, plant-based, whole foods diet to be the foundation of properly nourishing the body. Good quality, clean water is a part of that equation. As is fresh air, sunlight, some kind of movement that the body enjoys and proper rest.
And as I continued on this journey, I realized that true nourishment came in many more forms beyond food. And that awareness grew as I moved past a more ‘mechanical’ view of my life to one that is much bigger and more mysterious. By ‘mechanical’, I mean I used to subscribe to hard and fast rules – eat this or do this and your body will experience this and that.
Nutrient-rich, plant food, for example, is so nourishing because it embodies the energy and essence of Source. When we ‘consume’ whole foods, fresh air, beauty in nature, clean water, etc. we are consuming and communing with Source. Even that awareness alone – beyond just all the vitamins and minerals found in these foods – is extremely nourishing. When we eat this way, we take our time, we breathe more deeply. It’s about activating that awareness when we eat.
And even as I got deeper in that place of understanding (how sacred food is), I found something was missing. It’s like I felt nourished on some level, but not in others. And because I was not feeling fully nourished, I started studying and trying to perfect my understanding of foods, supplements, positive thinking, various tools and techniques which promised to bring with them the answers to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual harmony and balance. In doing this, I gave myself adrenal fatigue and would hit highs and lows which was exhausting on so many levels.
Looking back, the fervor with which I approached this I believe was because I was ‘starving’ and there was part of me that genuinely wanted to learn something and impart that wisdom to others and help them on their path. I do think that desire to share what I know was laced with wanting the world to validate me in some way – “Yes, Seema knows what she is talking about. How wonderful she is!” I was also trying to fill a deep void inside me and I thought if I was really zealous about ‘getting it right’ that I would somehow not feel that aching pain inside. (I knew this at some level, conscious or not.)
My zeal and outward-focused life, in search for something that would truly nourish me, spared me from having to tune into what was going on inside. I knew (deep down) there were parts of me I so did not want to acknowledge. (We all have them – sometimes, they can be so deep that we don’t even know we are shutting them out). So, in not wanting to face all there is, I would keep looking outside for all the answers.
My impetus to go inward was when I realized none of the external things nourished me to my core. Yes, I would feel energized after eating a good salad or drinking a green smoothie and feel recharged after a massage or Zumba or meditation, but nothing was sustained. I would get a high from an energizing and nourishing meal or experience, but it would not last. (By the way, I think for some people, they could feel nourished by life as it is and that’s great. For reasons only my soul and Source know, nothing outside me nourished me deeply and I was finally ready to be honest with myself about that.)
Since 2013, I have been on a journey that has taken me deeper within myself. In my intense longing for something I could not even articulate or understand, layers upon layers of repressed energies, memories and emotions have been freed up to reveal my own light. I remember calling a friend when I had a glimpse of my essence for the first time and I said, “Wow, I just had a taste of my own essence…and I am pretty magnificent!!!”.
My ego put up some very tough fights which has been very painful, but I soon learned that the more I was fighting to get rid of my ego, the worse it got. What helped me through these tough times with my ego was to more actively engage in self-care of different forms (foods, baths, massages, etc.), to recruit the empathy of people who cared about me (someone who has walked in my shoes and know how to help me navigate this deep area) and to just accept what comes up and have the utmost compassion for myself. I also started speaking to my ego to soothe it and reassure it that I had no interest in getting rid of my ego. I just wanted to envelope it with love which began to course through me. That seemed to calm the ego down and have it feel secure in its place – that of helping me with day to day affairs and getting things done.
One of the most beautiful things of this journey is that it has necessitated the need for the blinders to come off (ego conditioning) which in turn has freed up so much energy in my body. Much less now is my psychic and physical energy locked and frozen away. I used to be so puritanical about food and supplements as a way to be healthy and now, I am more chill about food and supplements because the body can naturally heal itself when we free it to do so, by not keeping it burdened with so much of our psychic pain which fuels a sense of starvation and disconnection. I do believe eating and living well creates a wonderful ‘container’ within our body for the work of realizing our Higher Self. I just don’t think that alone is enough and certainly, when the desire to eat well is fueled by the tension of wanting to be perfect, it can create more harm than good.
The ego’s grip can be so strong and the loosening of the grip has been painful. But, there is always grace and love and blessings that has poured into what has sometimes felt like open wounds. The more I am connected to my Higher Self, the more I feel Divine presence in my life. It’s like my light has magnetized to me the Divine light and it is so nourishing, to the deepest levels of my being. I used to hear an oft-quoted saying “What you seek is seeking you’ (Rumi). I now know it to be true. It’s about turning within and placing within that space deep inside the heart what it is that we truly desire and following through on what we are guided to do to realize it. To get there takes work, courage, humility, patience, surrender and a sense of humor, among other things.
And drinking the love of Divine presence in a very real way — in my heart, in my body, in my relationships, in my thoughts, etc., there truly is nothing sweeter or more nourishing.
It’s an ongoing journey of walking this road of surrender and drinking from the wellspring of love from within, which happens more and more as I am increasingly being emptied out of my conditionings and pain. I am grateful for the strategies and tools I have learned to keep my body and my nervous system pretty strong to withstand the turbulence of the dismantling of the ego. The fuel for this journey has been the deep longing for love and to be seen. Ironically, for the longest time, I thought the spiritual journey was about me being healed and to no longer have those needs. I used to be fiercely independent and knew I was, at some level, judging people who were needy. I now know that the longing or the deep need/desire for love, turned within, becomes the fuel and catalyst for all to flow.
Longing for love, turned inward, is longing for our true nature and to know ourselves because we are love at the core. And when we take the journey to ‘polish the mirror of the heart’ (Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee), our Divine light becomes clearer and brighter to magnetize the Greater Divine to us. The Sufis call in “light upon light”. What’s beautiful in that space is the Divine is not something that we just get a glimpse of in a meditation class here and there (though that can be very nice and offer much inspiration), the Divine’s presence in our life can feel like an ocean on which we float, so there is a feeling that we are loved and supported no matter what may be happening. I experience it as a density that surrounds and supports me which is quite comforting. What has been also beautiful is that my relationships and life experiences are much more nurturing and nourishing. My outer life is increasingly a reflection of my inner world and resonance. And like attracts like.
The desire for true nourishment, for me, has taken me on an inward journey after years of searching outside of me. What nourishes you?