Nourishing Choices

nour·ish·ing

1. providing items necessary for life, growth, strength and good condition
2. fostering the development of; promoting; cherishing; building up
Synonyms: beneficial, wholesome, healthful
watering-flowers
Something SO dear to me are the lessons I have learned (and am still learning) about being mindful. And in particular, being mindful about the choices I have EACH moment to either nourish myself (and our world) or to add toxins to my thought, body and environment.
I have learned how to be mindful, aware, through MANY venues, teachers, life experiences, trainings, meditations, etc. One set of favorite reminders for me of how I want to treat myself and our world is a series of mindfulness trainings adapted from Buddha’s teachings by mindfulness teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn. They offer such a practical guide for any seeker – spiritual, religious or otherwise, who wants to have a transformative impact on oneself and one’s world. I am so grateful to have them as part of my guide as to how to LIVE. Each time I read them something new stands out, or a phrase seems especially inspiring. I made a pact with myself many years ago to conscientiously employ them in my daily life.
For the past couple of weeks I have really had this phrase “nourishing choices” in my thought…feeling a blog entry emerging. I see such a need in myself and in our communities, both here and worldwide, to make nourishing choices, void of as many toxins as possible. I realized that the 5th Mindfulness Training really says it…and my, oh my, the word “nourishment” is right in its title! It didn’t images 2seem right not to include it in its entirety in this blog about nourishment and choices.
A word about these trainings…they are goals, a guide on a journey towards a destination, high ideals,…not a means to judge ourselves or others, nor to use as a comparison to another…but to lead us higher, to our best selves, to our best world.
“5. Nourishment and Healing”

“Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.”

As I write today, I am most interested in the mindful consumption that reaches far beyond the choices of daily food…to what imagestypes of inner dialogues, internet sites, game themes, humor, TV shows, movies, and conversations we ingest and digest each day…AND to realize that we have a CHOICE each time to take in and “chew” what best nourishes us, strengthens us, prepares us, brings out the best in us, and in turn, nourishes our world.

I have had several days recently where a health issue has kept me pretty much in one or two spots, kind of hunkered down…i.e. much time with my thoughts. In my efforts for healing, I have been ultra aware of the mental chatter that would try to lead me here and there AND have had the opportunity to observe. I’ve seen how easy it is, unless we are aware, to be subconsciously led by the nose to let toxins flow into thought and experience, and then to let them sit there, digest there. Whether it be through violent TV shows, movies, electronic games, or derogatory thoughts about ourselves and others, or fear of the future or blame from the past, or using substances that could impair one’s ability to think clearly, …and so many other avenues of available, currently trending and tweet-able daily fare.

I am filled with gratitude that I WANT to make nourishing choices for myself and that I learn more each day about HOW to do that better…while still partaking generously of the breathtaking wonders of this life and planet. My gratitude is also because I also know that it is within us ALL to make nourishing choices for ourselves...to actively become more mindful of what we may be doing out of habit, to make step-by-step choices to bring out the best in ourselves, and eventually others, even if it goes against popular social trends or what media tells us will make us happy or unhappy.

Wait postcard

We have been using this acronym at STLC, adopted from an NVC (Non-Violent Communication) retreat we attended this past summer, to help us on our individual and collective nourishing ventures. We all have a postcard-sized laminated card in a spot that we see often to remind us to pause, reflect, and make a conscious choice about what will be a benefit to our nurturance. Some of the phrases that have been helpful for us are:be your best self
What Am I Thinking?
Why Am I Talking?
What Am I Telling myself?
What (or Whom) Am I Trusting?
       and our newest in honor of this blog topic…
       What Am I Taking in?
written by Tien Langlois, Scholars Together Learning Community
in honor of my mom, Carley…SUCH an avid proponent of choosing in each moment what best nurtures her highest self to bloom…and in turn, others to bloom, too.

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