Oh, it feels that the time has come. The time to slow down, get cozy and nestle in for the season. The nights are getting longer and the days are often wet and dreary.
For many this time of year can be quite difficult, myself included.
This morning while I was trying to motivate myself to get out of the warm comfort of my bed, seeing my cat lying next to me inspired a thought.
You see, during the summer months my cat is… well, very self-sufficient. She is outdoors most days, doing her thing. As the weather shifts to the wetter and darker months she spends more time indoors. She wants to be around people more, she wants love and cuddles….
She needs nourishment… of a different kind.
During the summer the sun nourishes us. We spend more times outdoors. In our bodies, playing and exploring.
During the wet months we spend less time outdoors and more time in. So what if we go “in.”
Let’s consider the darker months a time to go inward, into our own darkness.
While we are there, we can find something new to nourish us.
Nourish. Something that fills us up. That energizes us. That gives us new purpose. It gives us drive. It engages us with life.
Nourishment is something that cultivates happiness.
What could you bring into your life that would bring you joy?
I use the word joy here intentionally.
I am currently reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo.
If you haven’t read this book it is fabulous and I highly recommend it! The question she has you ask as you handle each item you own is “Does it spark joy?”
Imagine. It is a dreary wet afternoon in November (apparently the rainiest month here in Seattle) and you are sitting at home feeling heavy from it all. It’s as if the rain has penetrated your body. Your clothes are drenched and weight twice as much. They cling to your skin. You feel that your body is becoming one with the couch. Sigh. (Insert image of Sadness from the movie Inside out).
In this moment, what would happen if you asked yourself a similar question? “What would bring me joy. (or) What would nourish me right now?”
Maybe it’s time for a soothing bath, relaxing music and essential oils. Ahhhhh.
There are probably so many possibilities! Perhaps you have wanted to learn how to throw pottery or make jewelry. You could take a dance class, or check out the circus arts/trapeze classes. Or there is that book club as well as that flower arrangement class. Perhaps you want to take a writing class…. or maybe you want to learn how to cook some nourishing meals. Maybe it's an evening with some friends, or a quiet evening with the family. Oh, and there are those boxes of games and puzzles, those sound inviting.
The list of possibilities are as long as there are numbers of people. We are all uniquely different and therefore we all are nourished by different things. What brings one person joy may do nothing for another. (The quote "One man's medicine is another man's poison" comes to mind).
As the days slip into night earlier and earlier I invite you to sit with this question: “What would bring me joy? Why would nourish me right now?” Grab a cozy blanket, a warm cuppa tea, a few candles and journal. Start by feeling into your surroundings. The heat penetrating your mug, the steam dancing in the air, the flames of the candles flickering in the dark. Maybe even listening to the rain pitter-patter out your window.
Then dive into inquire. Acknowledging what lights you up during the summer months? What feels nourishing in this moment? What brought you joy as a child?
Let your pen be a free flow of consciousness. Don’t edit, just let your inspiration leap from your pen. You may need time to warm up, and you may discover that your list isn’t too long. Whatever your experience, embrace it.
It could be that you only have one thing that you can think of that nourishes you. It could be that the only thing that you can think to do is curl up with a book until you fall asleep? Or maybe you just want to cry yourself to sleep because this task seems too freaking daunting.
Embrace whatever arises. There is a truth to that. Allow yourself to experience what you believe will nourish you.
Sometime later; days, weeks or perhaps months, sit down and do the exercise again. Things will move through you. Sometimes we have to welcome the dark. To feel safe in the dark. We have to adjust to our surrounding before we can start exploring. Once you have settled into the darkness, you may find a flicker of light. Like a moth to a flame something new will call to you. Nourishment will speak to you in different forms. The only way to find it is to make the space, be still, and listen.
I think most often when we think of the word nourishment we think of food. This is most likely why we turn to food when we feel empty in some way. We want to be filled up. We want to have more energy, excitement… Life. But the kind of nourishment we often need isn’t food based. Instead it is something based in creativity, movement, emotion, nature, spirit, community and self. Let’s reexamine this idea of nourishment. Let’s ask ourselves the bigger questions. We all want to live a happy and joyful life. It starts by honoring our needs. When we allow ourselves to be nourished with the bigger things of life our spirit receives the most important, and most healing thing there is. Love. Nourishing yourself is taking care of yourself. Self-care is self-love.
It feels good because it is good!
Now…. get in there!
What lights up that darkness inside you?