“We must never stop dreaming. Dreams provide nourishment for the soul, just as a meal does for the body.”~Paulo Coelho
For the past several days, an enormous, alabaster egret has flown nonstop across the marsh and swooped down twenty feet from our deck. She stands still, facing the house for a long time. And then proceeds in her eternal and elegant pavane of fishing, of feeding.
She lures our attention with these graceful dances of cultivating sustenance. Reminding us of egret wisdom: the importance of following your own path; striking while the iron is hot; relentlessly chasing down opportunities that others wouldn’t bother with.
Synchronistically, the wise man I spoke with yesterday focused me in the same direction the egret has been modeling. He advised me to meditate on one simple question: “What nurtures and nourishes you?”
In response, I had the immediate physical sensation of a glow flowing through my body. No doubt, a somatic reaction to that very primal need to feed ourselves, in every sense of the word, to thrive.
When we nurture, we “care for and encourage the growth or development of” something or someone. To nourish is “to provide with the food or other substances necessary for ” that growth. It seems that we often focus so much on the sustenance for our physical selves, yet forget or ignore the nourishment essential to the robustness of our souls.
Is it that we feel selfish in feeding our souls or we avoid doing so because it may require more effort and thought–not always something concrete we can readily cross off of our to-do lists? Or are we believing that we barely have the time and energy to put food on the table and that our souls’ food is not as important?
Ah, but as Coelho suggests, there is more than one form of starvation….
Our reluctance and neglect deprive not only our own souls, but also that of the hungering universe. Anais Nin vividly depicts how when we feed ourselves we, especially we creative types, can then go on to sustain others with our craft, our vision, our lives:
“[Y]ou have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and into writing.”
So this afternoon, when it feels as if I have a million other things to do before performing tonight, I go and sit on the marsh to nurture and nourish. The better to share my dancing tonight. Taking a page from the egret’s book about cultivating vitality and vibrancy…one intentional step at a time.