Nourishment for Hard Times

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Where We Are

What does it look like to confront moments of uncertainty? We all do it, day after day. I was listening to a doctor on a podcast who is temporarily staying in Harlem, and she was talking about how there is a depressive cloud over NYC. The subways are silent. You can hear a pin drop. (Unless it’s someone getting attacked due to high crime).

I think we are all sort of over the current state of the world. Many are over the increasing gas and food prices (and we haven’t even seen heating bills, yet). Over the city and its blatant discrimination and senseless restrictions. Over the incompetence in leadership roles. Over the pain and suffering so many have endured. Over the politicization of everything.

I was watching Christine Anderson the other day, (she is a German politician and member of the European Parliament). She has been outspoken regarding the recent human rights violations and political state in Europe. The person she was speaking with praised her for her courage and work, and anyone just listening would of thought she rebuffed it or dismissed it or was rude. But when I looked into her face on the screen, I saw someone who was exhausted. She was honored in her own quiet way, but she was still in fight mode.

My deepest admiration goes out to everyone who is fighting this on frontlines. From first responders, teachers, real journalists, attorneys to politicians trying to hold the line for common sense, human rights and decency.

People are exhausted. We are all drained and suspended in a cloud of uncertainty– waiting our own respective sentencing in life.

I don’t contribute anything close to the people I have discussed. Not at all. I am just a community lawyer, learning every day. But I am one of the people looking to the future and really wondering what is next. What will this turn into? What will this look like? Will the world look back in shame, or is it so far gone that it won’t even be able to do that?

We are all sort of operating in a weird survival mode. Life is looking more and more like those Spanish movies that end and there really was no conclusion. The screen just goes black and you raise your eyebrows like, I sat here this whole time for this?

Our eyes turn to the political arena here in the US and also in places like France and Italy, where people are choosing between freedom and tyranny that is no longer afraid to hide. Poland is preparing for military mobilization as I write this, and yet no one in shameful leadership seems to care. I write my stream of consciousness here, wondering what the world will look like months from now. Will we look back and sigh with relief having dodged the canon ball? Or will life look so wildly different, we won’t even recognize it?

I’m sitting here hoping we all don’t end up like Winston Smith.

How We Can Nourish Ourselves

Not my style to just end with despair. After all, Scripture is constantly coaxing us to ‘fear not’ and to look ahead to the future promised by God. One where things are judged and made right. A future where God’s essence of love, justice and righteousness prevail.

So, as we are all pressing forward in our own circles and with our own circumstances, what can we do to “nourish” ourselves, as my favorite fitness YouTuber asks? I like that word. It makes me think of laying my head on a spongy folded soft throw. Comfort. Safety. Rest.

Curating

A lot of nourishing has to do with setting boundaries. I was watching a video by Lydia Millen about 9 Ways to Change Your Life Today. She discussed such great topics like living unapologetically (don’t misinterpret this one; has nothing to do with hurting others or being unkind), curating your inner circle, cutting out drama and really carefully curating what you consume. The consuming part got me. We are flooded by information. So cliché, I know. We know this, and yet we aren’t careful with who and what we let into our space. She is right that we get one life. ONE LIFE. And we let so much clutter it or make it heavy. I talked about this with my dad, the other day. Millen talked about how she doesn’t watch horror or action movies. Same. I don’t like watching people suffer. If you can help it, don’t consume the unnecessary and negative. Be informed, but don’t let anyone tell you what to think. Important. Just strive to honor God.

I know people who are absorbed in the news cycle or complaining 24/7, and they have a palpable heavy energy that brings the whole vibe down. We fill up with what we consume. If we don’t like how we feel or we are overwhelmed or deeply unhappy, it may be time to shut off some stuff (or people) and recalibrate.

On the flip side of this, not only are there things we should stop consuming, but there are things we should start consuming. If we aren’t seeking inspiration and God’s promises every day– we are going to be at a huge loss. I know for a fact that there are times when it has been God’s promises and just that, which have sustained me. We have a God who passionately loves and cares for us. Open Scripture, and pray to God that He can speak to your heart through what you read. Scripture, whether we realize it or not, has transforming power. It is the definition of truth.

Movement

I can’t stress enough how that silent moment to yourself in movement changes everything. I realize I think the world is ending on days when I don’t move. Cooler weather makes us want to hibernate, but this is exactly why it’s important to move, even if it means moving slowly and intentionally.

I saw a poll on Twitter the other day where people were talking about how they don’t work out because they don’t like exercise. I didn’t either when I was into cardio and frantic paced movement. Now, it’s one of my favorite things to do. I love moving, and I love moving slowly.

Read Cozy

There are books that you read that are cozy. I think it starts with the author. There are authors who write in a poetic way that makes us feel warm and seen. Reading just anything won’t do. It’s not about how much you read but the quality of it. If you read trash– well, that doesn’t help anyone.

I think a lot of classics are cozy reads (see Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens), and here are some of the more recent authors I consider cozy read authors: Katherine May (Wintering), Mary Oliver (Devotions), Tish Harrison Warren (Prayer in the Night), River Jordan (Praying for Strangers), Richard Paul Evans, Marisa De Los Santos (Belong to Me), Julia Cameron, Beth Kempton and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

Prepare Your Home for the Coolest Guest

You know the frenzy, when someone is coming over. We clean and try to make sure our best towels are ready and blankets and pillows are fluffed. We make things a bit more aesthetically pleasing and put other things away. We take out our best plates– you know what I am saying. I was reading the letter to the editor in Better Homes and Gardens, if I remember correctly, and he was discussing how he went to a friend’s house, and she took out her finest china for a regular meal. She said she didn’t believe in waiting for what others consider a “special occasion,” as she considered the present moment one.

What if we honored ourselves in the same way we often strive to honor others? And let me tell you, after hosting some perfectly insane people, I mean this. I am not saying you treat a guest poorly, but why do we treat strangers who probably end up gossiping about us when they leave better than we treat ourselves?

So prep the house. Bust out your cute baskets, and bring out the best plates and towels. Use them. Make your home a sanctuary. Your coolest guest is you.

Reflect

Spend some time thinking about what makes you feel nourished. It may be having certain types of meals at your fingertips or involve other senses. It doesn’t have to cost money. In fact, mine don’t (if you get the books from a library or if you read them free on Kindle. Another favorite hack is getting them for a few dollars from used bookstores). Curate your life, and be picky. (Have high standards because your soul has infinite value. God said so). I know I need to do better. My suggestions are more about using what you have, now. That’s part of gratitude.

Stuff is tight, right now. I never want this to be a space that is tone deaf or blind to our realities. But no matter what is happening, we don’t get this time back. Let’s make it all it can be. Nourish your soul because you are most certainly worth it. Nourish your soul because the fight is hard. Fight hard. Rest hard. Sending you love. xx

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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