"What Nourishes You?"

by Dr. Susan Nettleton


To nourish is to provide the materials necessary for life and growth. The body is nourished by food and good health requires good nutrition. But there is more to nourishment than food. The other aspects of our lives depend on different kinds of nourishment. Human beings are complex. We are often in conflict with ourselves and therefore our various appetites and longings are in conflict. So the question arises: which aspects of our lives, our selves, do we want to cultivate, and therefore feed and nourish?

Within the parameters of “good nutrition” there are wide variations in diet, ways of preparing food, tastes, and habits of eating that can provide for physical health. It is the same with nourishment for the other aspects of our lives. There is never just one way for everyone. What nourishes us as an individual—what “materials,” experiences, environments, relationships, promote our sense of being alive and our well-being? What feeds us on other levels besides the physical requirements of the body? What nurtures our growth as both human and spiritual beings, allowing us to blossom as individuals? What hampers our growth, impedes our life forces, wastes our resources, or simply leaves us in a state of stagnation?

When you understand what nourishes you, you have a key to your own self-care and well-being. The materials that life offers for nourishment are as infinite as life itself; we do our part by choosing carefully. We hope in these pages you find inspiration and insight to cultivate a deep and fulfilling spiritual life.