LIFE ON THE ROAD AND OUR DAILY INTAKE OF EVERY THING
Over the last four months we brought the Nourish Together message to 5 communities in 4 different countries. The DIET talk (Optimizing your DIET: your Daily Intake of Every Thing) was well received and warmly embraced by every audience we had, which is both affirming for us that people everywhere want to connect more deeply to their body and engage in practices that support their wellbeing, and clarifying that regardless of age, sexual orientation, language and cultural background, we are all part of a global community that is dealing with serious food supply, environmental sustainability, climate change, and attention/distraction issues, and sharing resources that can help all of us is a worthwhile endeavor.
Each time we presented, we renewed our own commitment and excitement for this work that combines mindfulness and wellness, linking the gut, the heart, and the brain to bring about optimum health. We will continue to provide services and develop materials to make this accessible to as many people as we can, and we ask that you help us in sharing our articles, recordings, workshops, and events. Here you can view excerpts from our talk in Aasgardstrand, Norway. If the message resonates with you, feel free to share it, and please leave us your comments and feedback. This is a conversation we want to develop with you.
During our travels we exercised our DIET in a number of ways, paying close attention to what nourishes us on a daily basis, and what detracts from that nourishment. We planned for a 6-month departure from normalcy, leaving our home, our routines, our accustomed ways, to experience a different kind of daily presence: one that brought newness with different places, different languages, unique experiences. We wanted to practice our theory in a new context, and share it along the way. The theory is simple: we explore how to integrate gut, heart and mind to enhance health by incorporating three nutrients in daily life: presence, gratitude, and acknowledgement.
Traveling is not a requirement for that, as this can be done at home too. We just chose to intensify the practice – and the discoveries it brings – by placing ourselves in unfamiliar territory. The funny thing is, the old saying “Wherever you go, there you are,” couldn’t hold more truth. I found myself falling back into patterns that I thought I would be free from while traveling. For example, one of the things about this trip I was most looking forward to was to step away from my busyness, the constant doing that was highlighted in my home environment with being a mom, working, and taking care of a house & dog, often feeling like there aren’t enough hours in a day, and seldom making time to reflect, sit in wonder or just do nothing. During the beginning of the trip that same busyness continued with almost-compulsive planning, making sure we would get to experience the best spots in each town, finding the “right” places to shop and eat, and so on. Ha. Very quickly it became apparent that I needed more of my own medicine, a good dose of trust, and that lovely nutrient: nothing. It took a couple of months, but by the time we were in Copenhagen, the daily practice of self-connection and nothingness started to take hold. It was helpful that the culture in Denmark also supports time away from doing just to be, which is one of the tenets of hygge (a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being, regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).
Upholding that, I was able to better navigate the constantly changing landscape of unforeseen events, making the best out of unplanned situations. Even when things didn’t go as planned, I could tap into the knowing that we were exactly where we needed to be, and finding the joy in that. This turnaround used to take me a lot longer.
When we were not able to extend our stay in Portugal (because of Schengen zone time limit), we found ourselves having the most rewarding experiences in the U.K., with the crown jewel being our stay at the Findhorn Foundation’s community of Erraid, where we participated in the Love in Action week (you can get info here if this sparks your curiosity) and had a chance to share our message with that group. This was a blessing we couldn’t have received if our original plans had realized. I remind myself of a phrase written in one of my school year books: “Sometimes wonderful things happen that never would have happened if everything had gone right.” Wise words.
With our travels we also relaxed a bit regarding “the what” as far as our food intake and focused on “the how.” We couldn’t always secure whole, organic ingredients, but we had control as to how we would eat, sitting at the table with gratitude, slowly eating and fully chewing, sending down the intention for nourishment. We believe this contributed to our healthy digestion – and overall health – throughout the trip (the one exception I will discuss in a future post).
Now as we are back in the U.S., and especially in the East Coast, between Boston and New York, where the pace is frantic and our family and friends are so productive and busy, I can feel the urgency rising in me to do do do. We needed time to land and digest the incredibly wide range of experience, inspiration, and learnings we amassed. And yet, after a few days of a very relaxed digestive mode my old ways started nagging at me: Have a plan, fill schedule, achieve, create, make more money. That’s all very well, and necessary to a certain extent, but my main intention as we move back into our routine in the next two months is to carry the spaciousness of travel with us and prioritize connection, with a daily intake of hygge and no-thing. There is always enough time to put one hand on the belly and one hand on the heart, breathe in silence, and feel the current moving through. Time enough to stare into the infinite and be.
For another perspective on doing vs being, check out this article by Derek Beres, where he makes the case that busyness decreases creative thinking.
And speaking of creative thinking, it had been months since I had written a poem, but while on the Isle of Erraid, with long walks and plenty of time to ponder its exquisite landscape, radiant garden, splashing waves, and beautiful people, I couldn’t help myself. This is what came out:
I want to wake down, to the bottom of my ground
Live an honorable life, within and without
Letting love abound.
May this rock beneath my feet support me
The stones in my bones erect me
The wind scrub me clean
My breath usher peace in
The light shining through the cracks
The dark making way for what’s next.
Cold blue sea, numbing my skin
Generous soil, nourishing every whim
I do want to wake up, unblissful as that might be
(It is so much easier not to see)
And then I want to wake down
Every action in integrity.
And then disintegrate into the landscape I am part of. Not apart from.