Saturday, October 07, 2006

Feed your whole self

"Food for the body, food for the mind, food for the heart, and food for the soul."

I was just getting ready to settle down for the night and watch a movie, when that sentence popped into my head with such a strong force that I had to write it down. It sort of fits with the sentiment/mood/motion of life that I'm in right now.

And I like it a whole lot.

Food for the body
My goal for this year [note: I still measure "a year" in terms of the school calendar. A year starts in September, and thus ends in August.] is to learn how to cook. And I don't mean just mom's meatballs or grandma's hotdish [read: casserole for all you New Englanders out there]. I mean really learn how to cook. Learn what spices will add which flavors. Learn what works best when putting foods together. Learn to bake more complicated things.

But, as I've been starting this process of learning to cook, I've found myself paying much closer attention to eating healthily as well. I try to put together balanced meals when I'm trying out a new recipe. And I've been consciously not eating as much junk food because I know I have good-tasting stuff at home that's much more healthy.

I also have become a lot more active in the last few years. I dance like crazy. I walk almost everywhere in Boston. I'm starting some new dance classes. And I've started to do pilates and stretching regularly on a regular basis. I feels wonderful. I find I sleep better, which in turn rejuvenates my body so it's ready for a new day each morning when I wake up. I'm feeding my body wholesome, good things to satisfy it's natural hunger.

Food for the mind
I read a lot more than I have been used to in the past. I write more (here and other places). I've found people who like to discuss matters. People I can have engaging conversations with and from whom I can learn new things. My new job is teaching me new skills. I allow myself time to ponder questions that pop into my head at random times throughout my days and weeks and months.

I'm also beginning to think about actually going back to school for a graduate degree. It's always been a goal, but an untouchable one. I'm starting to be able to focus on a tangible reality that includes school. It's very exciting. And as I think about this, I consider taking extension courses just to start exercising my brain a little more than it's been used to over the past few years. All of these things feed my mind with the stuff it craves--active brain usage and exploration.

Food for the heart
I've made some amazing friends over the past year. People I really care about and people who truly care about me, instead of people who are there as companions but have little else to tie me to them. These friends have taught me the value in laughing and sharing joys and sorrows. They've shown me what true kindness is. They've taught me to open my world up to allow people to love me.

And that's not to say that I am consciously completely opposed to love. I'm not. I love love. (haha--that sounds funny) But I've always shied away from showing it or allowing someone to show it to me. And I'm also not speaking about romantic love, but friendly love. There have been very few people in my life that I allow to get that close to me, close enough to see everything about me and have the chance to truly love me for who I am. It's a very vulnerable state that I tend to lock up so securely that no one can get in.

Now, these friends are new, they haven't made it all the way in. But they're showing me what it means to earn a person's trust enough for that person to open themselves up fully without feeling that, in that vulnerable state, others will attack. These people aren't doing this consciously with a lesson plan in hand mind you, but merely through their actions and interactions with me and with each other. It's an amazing experience. They are providing the food for my heart, allowing it to fill up with the stuff it desires and deserves.

Food for the soul
I have been searching for quite sometime now. Searching for my beliefs, my faith. Do I fit into a religion? Do I believe in God, like I was brought up to believe? Do I consider myself Christian, as I was brought up to be? Searching, laying to rest and trying to forget, picking back up and searching again...for not quite ten years now. 8 perhaps. That's a long time. And my soul has felt empty since I first began to question and stray from the religious path laid out for me.

Quite recently, I have discovered a group of amazing people who have helped me understand more clearly what I was searching for, and in some cases, they've actually helped me find the answers to some of the questions I've had in my head for 8 years or more. Through them, I have been able to calm my world down enough to ponder my beliefs. With their help, I've discovered that I do believe in God, but that I do not believe God "belongs" to one religion. God does not actually belong to any religion, but is the God of all of us. And we all know God in our own way. Different religions talk about God in different ways. Some have a different word/name for God. Some name many forms of the Ultimate Being. And then there are some people who don't place themselves in any religion. Who believe they are completely secular. But they too speak of God in their own language.

I don't mean to preach here. I simply wish to impart this amazing revelation that I have recently stumbled across. A revelation that has brought me to a sense of peace. A revelation that is very new to me, and that I continue to explore and consider everyday. I am finding ways to fill the void that my soul has been in for so long, and feed my soul with the richness of faith that it yearns to embrace.

Healthy eating and living, education and reflection, true friends and people to care about, growing in my faith with each passing day.

Food for the body, food for the mind, food for the heart, food for the soul.

Nina! You are the man at blogging! :)



(hint: I live with you!)
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