So.. I listened to my first TED talk ever today. The amazing meditation course Roy and I took encouraged us to do something emotionally, or intellectually, or spiritually or creatively nourishing at least a couple of times a day, and this was my nourishment for the day (in addition to yoga, meditation, and a bit of writing!)
Why do nourishing things daily? Because in times of stress and busyness, either work-related, or financial, or just life, the nourishing things we love are sacrificed first… and then we slip into “an exhaustion funnel.” It takes us longer and longer to do simple things… and we burn out!
Doing nourishing things a couple of times a day, mini-non-caloric treats, is also something I decided to do after reading an excellent article by Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist: How to Craft a Life You Don’t Need to Escape From. We’ve followed a boom and bust circle for years… pushing ourselves too workaholically and then travelling and doing no work at all. It isn’t really sensible, though I love and adore travel: it makes me come alive. In 2018, I see looking at my calendar that we went on 10 short trips the highlights being Dubrovnik, the South of France, and Berlin. This year, we have been on 5 trips already… Cordoba, Krakow, Poland, and Iceland’s Ring Road being highlights, and still have trips we’ve booked to New York City, Porto, Portugal and Malta.
But I need to break the excessive travel habit, because it is disruptive of good routines and good habits, not to mention creative work. And it’s expensive! So we are building in daily “nourishing things” and a weekly day of adventure in Oxford, or London, or the many fascinating surrounding towns–and fewer short breaks in Europe. TED talks and New Yorker articles are on my list of nourishing things.
So in “Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating,” Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how great success, financial, creative, academic, whatever, has this in common with great failure… it divorces you from yourself, takes you into the dark hinterlands of the psyche. And then what you have to do is return home. She defines home as returning to the one thing in the world that you love more than yourself. And then you have to build your house on that rock. For her, home was writing.
What the poet Rilke calls, “the things that will not ever leave you” also form a home–sunrise, sunset, cirrus, cumulus, and cumulonimbus clouds, the ever-changing panorama of nature, the starry night sky, the quiet patience and dignity of animals, the people who love you, and the inalienable love of God. Opportunities to read, to pray, to meditate, to sleep, to walk, to awaken your body with exercise, to love, to rest and rejoice in the love of God.
As I listed what I love more than myself, I—I am sorry if this sounds goody-goody or pretentious!—realised that the biggest of these was God. I know this because I have often taken decisions which have cost me money, time, energy, and work and dream setbacks, because I heard God calling me to them. And, of course, building my life on God is both safe… and the great unknown, because God is not a tame lion. I do not know every chapter of the story He will write in my life… but I do know it will be a good one.