Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It Feeds Me

The phrase was uttered quietly, that Thursday morning, without flourish. I am here, a fellow student told our class, because this is what feeds me.

That simple sentence has resonated all week. I am here because it feeds me.

The question started niggling around in my head as I ran, as I sorted laundry, as I spent an hour online. What feeds me?

I thought about McDonalds. I thought about how you can order an entire family's worth of food, have the crowd swarm around the table, stuffing french fries and picking breading off chicken nuggets and dripping Special Sauce from their chins and at the end of the meal feel ... unfed. I may feel bloated, greasy-fingered, maybe even full, but without fail, when I leave a table at a fast food restaurant I feel unfed.

Conversely, cooking does feed me. The act of sourcing ingredients, of methodically chopping the vegetables, of remembering that thyme tastes better in this soup than basil, of simmering beans and tomatoes and garlic and onions in a cast iron pot all day: this is feeding myself. The warmth of soup in my throat, the melting parmesan on top, the crusty bread to dip in, the appreciative humming of my companions: this is feeding my people.

Writing feeds me.

Cleaning does not.

My Thursday morning class feeds me.

Filing papers does not.

Teaching feeds me.

Running feeds me.

Sit-ups do not.

Connecting - genuinely connecting with people - it absolutely feeds me.

Funny: once I started asking the question, the answers came thick and fast. This feeds me, that does not. This feeds me, that........ meh.

Saturday morning dawned a beautiful autumn-y gold. There was so much on the schedule: tight timeframes, a lot of shuttling back & forth, parents juggling duties to fit it all in. I finally rolled up to the sidelines of the soccer pitch, coffee in hand, thinking This day won't feed me. It won't feed any of us. I said as much to Torbjorn.

So we ditched the day's agenda.

I made our apologies for unmet commitments, and we took off for the country, for a day in the fall sunshine. There was some time spent on our backs in a Virginia meadow watching clouds, there was some spiced cider and kettle corn, there was art and music and... simple. And there was soup at the end of the day.

Is it so much to ask, that your occupations will feed you? I'd argue that no, it isn't much to ask of your life, that you pursue those things that will make you full, sated, content. And yet easy, so easy, to navigate your days, mindlessly ordering the spiritual equivalent of Happy Meals, constantly 'consuming', and never ever feeling fed.

So let's do a little experiment, shall we? How 'bout you go through your day today and ask yourself what feeds you - ask if what you're doing feeds you, or if might be filling your life with psychic Big Macs.

I'd love to hear what feeds you.


Varda said...

Kirsten, I love you. Right now, not much will be feeding me, as I am hollowed out from the past two weeks leading up to my mother-in-law's passing yesterday. Tomorrow is the funeral, and then we start Sitting Shivah (the week of Jewish mourning.)

Jacob will not understand what this is all about, though he will react to everyone being sad. Ethan is definitely pissed about losing two grandparents in one year.

I am looking forward to next week, to getting back into the swing of life without an impending death hanging over us, to pondering your question "Does this feed me?"

I haven't thought about myself in a long, long time, and that is overdue. "Does this feed me?" Hmmmm

Rose West said...

I loved this thought-provoking post! Writing feeds me - I always feel full when I've done it. But procrastinating does not. I liked the imagery of happy meals, by the way :)

The Empress said...

OK, and holy cow.

You can write.

CaraBee said...

Can I just double down on The Empress' comment. For real.

What feeds me? Today, it was my hour and a half at the gym. Working my body. Reading on the treadmill. A beloved pastime blended with something that rejuvenates me. And there was a lovely long phone conversation with a dear friend. I'm not much for phones, so it is unusual that I spend any time on them, but today was just right and we talked for an hour.

Duane Scott said...

I'm in!

And I love the way you write.

desiree said...

So glad I didn't get to personal email till just now...your post made me realize what feeds me most...The Sabbath..my day of rest and peace. Thanks for the thoughts..

Kristy said...

What a great post, I will likely think of it all day. Walking/jogging feeds me, writing feeds me, cooking feeds me, sewing feeds me, working with children at work feeds me, accomplishing a big project at work feeds me, complaining co workers deplete me, taking care of a tantrumming sick child without the help of my spouse depletes me, extended family drama depletes me. So far, this I know.

Jen L. said...

Thank you for giving my negativity ear worm the boot. I'll be reordering everything tomorrow, thank you very much!

Ginger Davis said...

Thanks for the reminder....why is this one simple question so easily forgotten? If we actually asked ourselves first, our gut might tell us "not so much" more often!

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said...

So much to think about and consider. I doubt that I've ever asked myself these questions. Thank you for the "food" for thought. This post has definitely fed me.

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