Last night as I climbed into bed exhausted and sick after a long day of 2015 work that I had finally pushed out, I had the very defeated thought,
“I really have no idea what nourish looks like.”
This morning, while I took a rant into my journal to sort, I was reminded of a workshop I attended a few years ago, led by a woman who encouraged each woman in the room to identify and embrace the different “women” that made up who she was. At the time, I had rolled my eyes a bit. The language was unfamiliar and it didn’t translate easily into my conservative training. But today I found myself identifying pieces of me, and I remembered the workshop and didn’t find it so far-fetched to recognize and name pieces of a self.
No more lying to myself
No more fighting
No more trying
To be somebody else
No more running
No more hiding
No denying what is true
This adventure, it was never about me
It was You…
– Ana Laura
I’ve unearthed the pieces unintentionally: my sensitive side, my artistic side, my spontaneous side, my perfectionist side, my mama bear/warrior side, my spiritual side, my pragmatic side… I recorded them in my journal, and gave them names, feeling a bit silly and very schizophrenic.
When I am healthy and rested and in a good place, my mama bear side exists to protect my sensitive side; my artistic side balances my pragmatic side; my spontaneous side assists my perfectionist side with new ideas, and my spiritual side connects all the dots to the “God made me this way; He must have had a reason.”
When I am unhealthy, living out of fear, and doubting God, these pieces of me add up to one big level of frustration. My childlike, artistic side whines like a petulant toddler unable to communicate what I really want. My sensitive side suggests full-on agoraphobia, prompting my pragmatic side to put me unhealthily into social situations and override potential hurt. And of course, when the hurt comes – or my ideals are threatened – my mama bear side roars up and starts hollering to SHUT THE WHOLE WORLD UP BECAUSE WE HAVE A RIGHT TO BE A PEOPLE ALREADY!
It’s a madhouse in my head some days. Sorry about that.
My friend Laura has a wonderful newsletter, and in her most recent installment, she shared about “talking to your rash,” a technique that her therapist encouraged her to use to sort out a symptom she’d been having for years. Paying attention to something she had simply written off helped her realize that her physical symptom was tied to a deeper emotional need.
I’d been turning this over in my mind, trying to figure out why it resonated so deeply with me, and this morning, I made the connection that giving “the rash” the attention it needs so that you can thrive is a way to nourish. As I sorted out my pieces in my journal, I began asking each piece what it needs to be what I was made to be, in healthy balance with the other pieces. I felt like I was taking my side for the first time in a long time. I felt like I might be giving God room to be making – or remaking – me.
I don’t have the answers to my “what do you need?” questions yet, but I think maybe I’ve wandered my way into a good place to start understanding how nourish works as it gives attention to things that shouldn’t be ignored.