Mazvita’s post on wholeness reminded me of something I have long known, but often ignored. Just as my body needs nourishment of many kinds: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, fiber, vitamins, minerals, water, my spirit also needs nourishment of many kinds. My spiritual nutrition lately has been lacking. I know it because my spirit feels anemic and listless. My creativity has taken a plunge, my personality is out of sorts, my physical energy level has dropped and no amount of food, sleep or caffeine makes any difference, my emotional energy is low and I find interacting with others exhausting. These are all symptoms of spiritual starvation. I’m not necessarily talking about spiritual in the sense of my relationship with God (although that’s been lacking lately also). But more on the level of my inner self. My relationship with me, so to speak.
There are definitely several different things that contribute to my spiritual nourishment, but there are also counterfeits. Kind of like junk food for the soul I guess. For example, I really enjoy reading. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, I just love reading. For entertainment, to learn stuff, to feel something. For me, reading has always been a good way to recharge my batteries, to unwind, de-stress, spark my creativity. What I’ve found is that on some levels, surfing the web seems like it accomplishes the same things as reading. I’m being entertained, learning things, but somehow, under the surface it’s not the same. Sitting down with a book and reading through several chapters does something for me that flipping from one page to the next on the internet does not do. I don’t feel at peace while I’m doing it. I always feel like I’m looking for the next thing and am never satisfied. Like eating a bag of cheetos. You feel like you’re eating, but when you get to the bottom of the bag, you wonder where it all went.
Lately, I think I’ve been filling up on spiritual junk food and not really taking the time to nourish myself. Spiritual junk food, just like real junk food is easy and convenient. Breezing through my Google Reader feed on my lunch break, wasting time on Facebook, or reading a couple fanfics – it’s all stuff I can do in between things I’m working on. While I’m waiting for something I’m working on to upload or I’ve got a few minutes of spare time between projects, I can just open up Firefox and have instant entertainment. But it’s not feeding my soul. Just like plucking around on the mandolin, playing the songs I have memorized without even thinking, is not the same as learning a new piece. It’s cheap and easy. It’s microwaveable. It’s drive-thru.
I guess I need to actually plan my recharge time, so that I make a point to actually do the things that I know actually add value to my life, have “meals,” instead of just having “snacks” of crappy mindless entertainment. Blech, sounds like a diet. But, like a diet, it’s probably going to pay off in the long run. Let’s just see how my self-discipline holds out…