Nourishment is an action, attitude, and philosophy that we value and speak of often at the Brooklyn Herborium. A recent conversation with a customer brought me to reflect on nourishment in a new way.
The customer had recently made a big career change. In the course of discussing how this impacted her routines, meals, and self-care, she voiced the anxiety living under all those daily functions: I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing.
Oh Certainty. It is a concept that lives in close partnership with perfection; always elsewhere but ever present via unconfirmed rumors and whispered promises. Like closure or balance, it is a concept that doesn’t account for the ever changing nature of life itself, setting us on a quest to arrive at some anchor point between a set of solid circumstances, impervious to shifts in fortune and perspective.
As a person who makes her life and livelihood in the arts, I have had to come to terms with ever-present uncertainty. I have learned to make friends with the question: am I doing the right thing? Sometimes this is a friend I spend a lot of time with, and sometimes this friend is just someone I know, someone who lives in my world, somewhere. It just is, it lives in me in the same way that other unsolvable experiences of the human experience do, traveling with me, changing shape, and always a little bit hungry.
There are many ways to come into being with these parts of our lives. One way is through nourishment. We start by taking care of the basic needs of our bodies. Healthy food at the right times of day and frequency, rest and relaxation, resetting ourselves by engaging in self-care; these form the foundation that allows us to welcome in new experiences. Then, we tune into the small pleasures of daily life. That patch of wild sunflowers growing along your new commute, the satisfaction of getting your shopping done at the slightly less crowded Trader Joe’s before you start your work day, the light that comes through your home office window at 3pm that you’d never felt before — tuning into these moments, into the way our bodies and spirits feel, is what allows the present to swell and bloom into full color, and the doubts to fade into abstract shadow.
Falling in love completely with anything — a job, a person, a city — all at once can be a great big anxious set-up for the sensitive questioners among us. But little moments of daily joy are available to us all the time and don’t require rock solid resolve. Noticing the way your thoughts flow when you don’t skip breakfast doesn’t require you to be super duper sure that your 10 year plan is working, but it can contribute to a feeling of rightness in the moment.
When we nourish ourselves, we shift the internal narrative from “I am unsure” to “I am curious.” I am curious about my life and my values, the way I live my days, the way I come to make decisions and the actions I subsequently take.