Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nourishing Ourselves

Can it be Spring?? We’ve passed the Spring Equinox, but will it ever really get here??  I wonder this as I type  and their is a new blanket of snow in my backyard.  I’ve been enjoying watching the daffodils poke up from moist soil and the fat robins building their nests.  I have even seen a few little buds starting to come out of hibernation.  All of these moments in nature are humbling and help one to appreciate the simplicity of life.  I guess they are on hold for the next few days.  
When we think of spring we think of growth, new life, awakening.  Its a time to shake out the rugs and breathe in the warm sun.  Nature  is nourishing.  It provides us with food to eat, an environment to protect, people around us, and our thoughts about it all.  Life seems to be held in a delicate balance. Managing children, meals, cleaning, exercise, taking care of your own needs, and fun can be difficult to balance sometimes and at other times not so much. It all flows best when we are nourished.
But what does it mean to be nourished?
Tasting and feeling satisfied by wonderful, nutritious food is certainly a large part of it. Being able to properly digest and absorb your food is by far one of the most important aspects of nourishment. The health of our bodies lies in the health of our guts. Creating a healthy gut is a first step.
We are also nourished by filling up our senses with beautiful things, such as noticing the way the evening sunshine dances on the leaves or the sound of the spring rains pounding on the roof. A garden full of young, tender herbs. Sunflower seeds sprouting before your eyes. Apple trees blooming, bees buzzing. Noticing and breathing in the magnificence in your own back yard is nourishment. In fact, simply breathing deeply is nourishment.
Taking care of your own needs and exercising is nourishment. Move your body everyday - it was designed to do this.  

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Spring corresponds to the Wood element, which in turn is conceptually related to the liver and the gallbladder.  The liver is responsible for the smooth flowing of Qi (energy) throughout the body.  When the liver functions smoothly, physical and emotional activity throughout the body also runs smoothly.  For good health this spring, move your Qi!  Stretch every day: try yoga, tai chi or Qi Gong.  Eat green foods like fresh spinach, baby greens, sprouts and herbs, and sour foods like lemons in your water or fresh squeezed on your salad.  
New experiences nourish us. Taking a new trail on your hike is a simple, new experience. Reading a new book, learning a new skill, cultivating a new friendship, even spring cleaning, would all be considered nourishment. Children's brains develop and grow through new experiences. Ours can too. It's never too late.
What Nourishes You?  Take steps to ‘fill up your tank’ this spring.  Even though we got another blast of snow, its here.