Nourishing the Soul
Monday, May 19, 2014: What do you do to nourish yourself apart from food?
This is such a good question! While food is required to feed the body, the things that feed the soul differ from person to person. When I think of activities or behaviors that nourish what comes to mind are the things that we do when no one is watching that give us inner peace and calm.
In no particular order, here is my list of things that nourish my soul:
- Quiet: When my mind is clear of all distractions I tend to feel the most at peace. Sometimes I might look like I'm staring off into the distance and doing nothing, but really I am just being. I guess you could say that I am meditating, but I don't like all of the hype that comes along with the idea. So I just sit, quietly. Most of my really good academic ideas and insights come from when I just sit and let the world wash over me.
- My cats -- Cali and Scooter: These two critters were my first fur-kids and I love both of them dearly. Cali is the aloof, chunky monkey that likes to love on her terms; Scooter is my lean, stodgy machine. Both have very strong personalities and always know when the right (and very wrong) time is to jump in my lap and cuddle.
My three fur-kids bring a lot of joy to my life.
- My dog -- Commander Benjamin Sisko: Our chihuahua mix has been in our lives since November 2013. Hubby and I rescued him from the humane society and he snuggled his way right into our hearts. Neither of us was really prepared for the amount of time it would take to properly take care of Sisko, but we wouldn't give him up for anything. I love how happy he is to see me in the morning or when I come home from school. I love throwing his ball or playing tug with him. I love dressing him in cute outfits. I even love the way he runs in tall grass. This little dude completes my day. I always thought that I was a cat person, but I think I have room in my heart for our Sisko Nabisko.
- Books: I have a lot of books. Most of them are on my Kindle now and I have downsized considerably over the last few years, but a life without books seems like a sad life indeed. I am not one of those people who insist on owning physical books or even keeping all of my books. Unless the book is particularly good and I know that I'll read it over and over or if I cite the book on an almost daily basis, I don't feel compelled to keep the book on my shelf. There are an infinite number of books in the world, which says to me an infinite number of ideas. The more books I manage to read, the more ideas I can mull over. While non-fiction is the bulk of my library, fiction is where I get to let my mind roam. Instead of discussing concepts concretely as non-fiction does, fiction illustrates concepts through themes, characters, and stories. For example, I have studied inequality and privilege for most of my academic career, but reading the Hunger Games and talking it over with my sister brought those ideas to her in a new way.
- A really good conversation: I really do love talking to people and sharing ideas. The best conversations are when both people are completely engaged and participating in the discussion. In my experience, a really good conversation can have a maximum of three parties. If there are more people, the discussion tends to be dominated by one or two people while the others remain silent. I see a good conversation as one where when you walk away you feel energized or rejuvenated -- that euphoria that comes from having all of your brain cells on fire. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does I feel like I know my purpose.
- Crafting: I spend so much of my day in my head that I often feel disconnected from the "real" world. Making things is one of my ways of reclaiming some of who I am and finding myself in something tangible. Recently, I took up crocheting and I am loving the quiet peace that comes from hooking along. I have tried many hobbies over the years including knitting, scrapbooking, sewing, and cross-stitching, but all of them bring out the inner perfectionist in me. I like crocheting because it is easy to pull out any mistakes and try again. Also, there are several online communities that make doing this solitary craft a much more social event.
Crocheting my breaks away.
- A cup of tea: Every afternoon, around 2 or 3 PM, I start to feel the afternoon slump. It's too early to think about stopping work and too late to contemplate changing the course of the day. At this point, I usually make a cup of hot tea and a light snack. When it's nice outside, I have my tea on the deck. It's my mini-vacation that lets me reflect quietly on whatever project I am working on or what I need to finish in the remainder of the day. Often, this is when my really good ideas come to me. I always feel centered after tea time and ready to address whatever comes my way.
Tea time on the deck
How do you nourish your soul?