We all have important roles and responsibilities in our lives that we maintain on a daily basis. For some that role is primarily in the home and for others it may extend beyond. Regardless of your type of role, it most likely involves giving a significant amount of your time and energy to other people. Sometimes you may be engaged in activities that seem to take away energy rather than restore it. While I agree there is a need for these types of commitments I urge you to consider for a moment what it would be like to participate in your role as "self-nurturer." Nurture |ˈnər ch ər| is defined as: "the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something." You and I probably nurture many people in our lives each day. My question is, why should we leave ourselves out of this process? I'll answer my own question: Uh, we shouldn't! Self-nourishment is vital to our roles as parents, sons and daughters, spouses and partners, siblings, teachers, professionals–everything.
I'm not asking you to leave your roles and obligations behind and run free (although it sounds nice for a couple of days, doesn't it?). I'm asking you to spend some time thinking about what it is that you feeds you. We're not talking marshmallows and almond butter here... I'm talking about what is it that makes you feel inspired and re-energized. What nourishes you beyond your daily roles? I know that if I pay attention to what nourishes and feeds me and I take action to do these things, even for a short time, I am able to better fulfill my daily roles as spouse, daughter, sister, mother to 5 furry children, household-maintainer, business owner, friend, artist and photographer. It is undoubtedly an effort to take time out of our lives and routines to spend time on ourselves, but it is imperative to growth and balance.
So, I'll tell you a little bit about what I've done to feed myself. As I've mentioned, I grew up loving art and enjoyed painting and dance and in high school fell in love with photography. As the years have gone by I've been fortunate to focus on my photography and my business associated with it, but I realized I'd left painting and dance in the wings. I think I haven't spent much time painting or dancing because I've always convinced myself that it didn't have a "purpose" since I felt I needed to apply all of my time and energy to my photography business. I've come to realize and accept that there is indeed a "purpose" in my painting and dancing and that purpose goes beyond productivity in the practical sense and extends to the self-nurturing concept I mentioned above. My love for painting and dance never went anywhere. I'm happy to say that I've started to paint a little and that I'm taking a dance class. As I've given myself permission to feed myself with these passions I've realized how much of a hole I've had without them. The feeling of applying a spot of alizarin crimson on a canvas with a brush or a palette knife totally excites me. Reminding my body how to pirouette on the smooth dance floor brings me incredible joy (after the dizziness subsides). I strongly believe that this kind of self-nurtering is helping me in my photography, my business and my relationships.
In addition to inviting dance and painting out of the wings and back into my life I've started to enjoy some exercise outdoors. While I can't say I am a "runner" I've been heading out on jogs to enjoy a break from my computer screen. As this is my first spring in Austin, TX. I've really found loved taking notice of the nature and delicate changes. I found it relaxing to take some images with my camera phone during a run the other day...
Whether your passion is art, gardening, building, cooking, fishing, sports, boating, knitting, etc. I hope you can give yourself the permission to self-nurter and explore one of your passions. I've learned that it's not something that just happens, however, we have to schedule this time for ourselves and stick to it!
What do you dream about spending time doing for yourself?