My husband, a wise fellow, often uses a nutrition metaphor when talking about his work: he says teaching feeds him. I tried this metaphor last week when chatting up an interesting acquaintance. That boring old question came up: “What do you do?”–meaning, how do you earn money? This question only yields interesting results for privileged, prosperous people who’ve had lots of choices in life. Most folks are just working to pay the bills, not to feed their souls.
That’s the question I asked Fred: “What feeds your soul?” He answered without hesitation: music. Turns out he’s a guitarist who’s played professionally and recorded albums in another country. For this guy, music is a vital nutrient.
Taking this metaphor a little further, there are nutrients you can gobble with abandon–say, fiber, and those that are essential but become toxic in large doses, such as niacin. Writing is my main psychic nutrient, the work I find most rewarding and most essential. But a diet of only writing leaves me as malnourished as if I tried to live on, say, cheese.
And if I neglect certain soul-vitamins, I start to crave them. One nutrient that’s been missing from my diet lately is a change of scenery. I’m quite a homebody most of the time, content with long hours spent writing in my comfortable little office. But too much sameness makes my creative motor run down. (Uh-oh, metaphor overload)
Yesterday, wise Hubs and I went for a long walk in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park, a local beauty spot. I returned energized, cheered, and smacking my head for having neglected these important nutrients:
- fresh air
- natural beauty
- new scenery
To that list of nutrients, I’d add social time with friends and family, ditto with interesting new people, time with other writers, reading fiction, music, dancing…
None of these feel like duty, like work, like bitter medicine. They’re all delicious nutrient for my psyche, and I just have to remember–to take my vitamins.
How about you? What feeds you?
Oh, and have you seen the studies that prove cheese is good for us?http://www.eatingwell.com/article/289455/5-reasons-cheese-is-actually-good-for-your-health/?did=181228&utm_campaign=ew_nourish_101617&utm_source=etg-newsletter&utm_medium=email&cid=181228&mid=9530003697
Hallelujah and pass the Parmesan!