Jan 22, 2010

Nourishment.

Lately I've been thinking, reading and writing a lot about eating. A couple of my last posts refer, directly or indirectly, to feeding. I've stopped eating meat (okay, except for eggs) and I consume very little dairy (okay, except for cheese). I've read "My Year of Meats" and "All Over Creation" by Ruth Ozeki, and I've done quite a bit of research about various practices of raising, feeding and slaughtering animals for human consumption. I've also delved into the truly frightening reality of genetically engineered crops (too many to list), and now I find myself wondering, "What exactly am I supposed to eat?" And, more important, what should I feed Grace? Of course I know the answer to this, but it's takes more effort and money to eat truly healthfully, and I've been lazy.

Why so preoccupied with food? Good question, which I asked myself the other day. I believed I was being pragmatic, both as a consumer and a mother, in trying to create parameters that would make buying, preparing and eating food an ethical, healthy and happy experience for my family. Now I suspect my focus on diet is symbolic of a greater need; what I'm really longing for is a better way to nourish not just my body, but also my mind and soul. I'm at a point where I need to make conscious decisions about what I choose to digest — physically, emotionally and intellectually — because so much is being thrown at me.

From my own struggles, to the fiasco that has become U.S. politics (ugh), to the tragedy in Haiti, it's easy to become so overwhelmed that the most appealing option is to just keep it all at bay. (Even food; when overly stressed, I forget to eat.) But I know that's not the answer, because ignorance is not bliss. It's not even living; it's hiding. For the last few months, I've been alternating between hiding or taking in way too much. I have yet to find the balance that allows me to tune out the overabundance of bad news and negativity, and to replace it instead with what is good and healthy for me and Grace.

The wolf post touched on this, but I didn't realize how perfect the timing was for me to receive that message. I think I've been feeding both wolves, and not equally. (The evil wolf is clearly the one who has made himself comfortable wrapped around my midsection.) I indulge that wicked wolf with anger, sorrow, regret, self-pity and guilt. I've been making a halfhearted attempt to bring joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, and faith to that poor, hungry good wolf, but this may prove more difficult than I expected. (Note the masthead of this blog!)

In a week Grace and I will be moving into a new apartment — the downstairs of a house owned by a woman who was looking for a housemate, and who meticulously transformed her basement into a beautiful, airy, comfortable space which I will heretofore refer to as my "garden apartment." Everything is brand spankin' new, and there is a beautiful back yard just starting to bloom; how can this not represent a fresh start? To say my future housemate and I have a lot in common would be a hilarious understatement; one of the first things we talked about was planting an edible garden. She's delightful, and I look forward to a new friendship.

So for the next week I'm going to focus on starving that evil wolf by taking in as little negative energy as possible, whether self-generated or thrust upon me. And it's definitely time to start feeding the good wolf, to summon all of the joy and hope that Grace and I both need right now.

How do I do that, exactly?

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