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  • Writer's pictureKaren Queller

Nourishing or Depleting?

This morning I came across a Facebook post that said this:

“If you can’t meditate, pause before every sip of coffee. If you can’t pray, simply say ‘thank you’ before every meal. If you can’t manifest, enjoy what’s already yours. If you can’t journal, talk to yourself in the car.

There is no spirituality rulebook. Just show up for yourself in ways that feel good to you. “

These words spoke clearly to me, resonating with my struggles and doubts on my personal journey. We live in a world that incessantly demands more from us—more productivity, more engagement, more achievements. This overwhelming pressure can lead us into a never-ending cycle of 'not enoughness' and wondering ‘am I doing this right?’. A vortex of self-doubt.

Above all the information and advice bombarding us, it's critical to pause and reflect on what truly nourishes our souls and what depletes our energy. The pressure to do things in the ‘right way’ or to compare ourselves with others can lead us to push against our most authentic selves.

What is the right way to do things? Whose standards are we trying to meet, and why? Are we attempting to live up to a fantasy of how we think we should be living or feeling? There is no one-size-fits-all solution.

Each one of us is unique, with a distinct set of experiences, beliefs, and values that shape our journey. What works for someone else may not resonate with us. It's essential to remember that we are all on our paths, learning different lessons in different ways. Instead of getting tangled in the web of shoulds, let's liberate ourselves from these external pressures. It's time to ask ourselves, "What works best for ME?" We need to honor our individuality and trust our intuition to guide us toward practices and experiences that genuinely nourish our souls. Writing Exercise

My teacher, Dr. Markus Scott-Alexander talks about the importance of discernment in his book, The Just Right Next, “It’s essential to know what nurtures and what depletes. Notice what thoughts and questions revive you and which ones deplete you. Discern.”

Here is an exercise to help you easily and clearly distinguish if something is nourishing or depleting. On one half of the paper, write down all the things you do, the thoughts you think, the interactions you have throughout the day, or any specific ones that come into your mind. On the other half of the paper, write if this is nourishing or depleting. Follow your intuition and trust the words that are wanting to be written down.

Some things may feel conflicting, but that’s part of the exercise. For example, if I put down, ‘Journaling for 5 minutes in the morning when I wake up’, on the left side, and my intuition guides me to write ‘depleting’ on the right side. That could be confusing because I thought this journaling practice was supposed to help me feel good, gather insight, and clear my mind for the start of the day. But for some reason, I realize that it seems to be taking my energy away rather than boosting it. That is wonderful information to have! Either the practice itself may not be affecting me in the way that I hoped it would, or something about the way that I do the practice isn’t effective. The more I think about it, the more I realize I hold my breath and use a lot of tension in my hands while I write because I just want to finish the practice so I can go eat breakfast. Ahaa! With this information, I can experiment and make some changes. The next time I do my journaling I try eating breakfast first, and then I sit down with my cup of tea, take three deep breaths, relax my body, and then begin my journaling practice and I notice that it does feel nourishing now instead of depleting! So, trust the words you write down, and be open to experiment with anything that surprises you, or depletes you of vital energy. Let’s embrace our uniqueness and choose practices that light us up from within. There is no one right way to walk this journey; it is ours to shape, explore, and embrace in all its beautiful imperfections. Trust your body and your heart to guide you into what truly nourishes, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense or fit the mold of what you think you should be doing. Like Markus so often says- Follow the nourishment.

Follow the nourishment my friends.

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