A to Z, day 6: food, for your creativity, for your spirit — not just any old thing, real nourishment.
Somewhere in me, there lives a sled dog. Yes, one of those fabulous Idtarod dogs who will haul themselves and their team and their sled across miles and miles and miles of wilderness, just keeping on. This is the part of me that facilitates wakening at 04:30 and writing, day in, day out. I am grateful for this part of me. I have to take care to allow my gratitude to manifest itself in nourishment. The best trainers know that a well-tended dog works hardest. That’s not the only reason they nourish their dogs, though. They do it because they value the dog, love it, find the relationship a key part of their lives.
The word nourish comes from the French nouriss (an obsolete meaning was nurse) and further back to Latin, meaning to suckle, feed, foster, cherish, preserve, support.
All of these are important to continuing to be a decent writer (and a decent human being). So here are a few ways in which I nourish myself and my inner sled dog.
Cooking. I love to cook. I like thinking about a beautiful meal, shopping for fresh ingredients, taking the time to slowly prepare the meal and then sharing it with people I love.
Walking. I walk every day. As I go, I try to make it a meditation, being fully present in the moment, really seeing and hearing and smelling what’s going on around me.
Meditation. Again, every day. Usually morning and night. But if all I manage is ten minutes of sitting right before bed, it still counts.
Yoga. If the sled dog has been working really hard, I might take supported poses in class, or I might do some restorative poses at home. Here’s a link to an article in Yoga Journal that might help you get started. http://www.yogajournal.com/basics/991
Yes, of course, reading. That’s everyday too. Don’t be a snob about it. If you feel like reading something that’s totally outside the realm of anything you’d ever want to write, that’s okay. Just enjoy it.
I take in other art. Dance. Sing. Paint. (Usually in the privacy of my own home. It still counts.)
I also keep a gratitude journal. In it, I thank the sled dog.
Then we get harnessed up, because, although we all need nourishment, those of us who have strong inner sled dogs are really happiest when we’re working.