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How To Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality
John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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Nourishing Spirit

Most of us suffer some guilt when taking time for ourselves. We are often embarrassed by our enjoyment of pleasure; we need to justify it to others and ourselves. We persist in repeating life-negating or energy-draining messages to ourselves, such as, You're wasting time!" or "Watch out when things are going well," or "This is selfish," or "You should be doing something more productive." They have come to us from our parents, our church leaders, our employers, or our teachers, and they are often hard to turn off.

If you still need justification to allow yourself to play, then try this one:

Nourishment of yourself is the best preventive medicine currently available!From all sides we are constantly being challenged: Change! Grow! Move! Volunteer! Contribute! Boycott! Picket! Diet! Exercise! In order to respond to challenge, we must have the energy to follow through. Decidedly, some challenging activities will generate their own sources of energy. Many people who work in highly stressful jobs report that the feedback from clients and coworkers, or the knowledge that their work is making a contribution to the life of all, seems to build their energy reserves, rather than depleting it. However, even in the most ideal circumstances, we will generally need to give attention to receiving nourishment in order to have adequate energy to meet a challenge. That energy comes from breathing, from moving, from eating well, and all the other energy channels mentioned throughout this material. In the context of work and play, it also comes from doing things that feed the soul, the sense of joy, the wonder, the awareness of belonging.

What nourishes you may not nourish me. One person retreats into the quiet and comfort of home; another gets energy from moving out into a crowd. Your needs may vary from day to day. We all need to be good to ourselves. Wellness includes this balancing of challenge and nurturance. When we are loved and cared for, almost anything is easy. When we are deprived, tired, needy, even the smallest detail becomes a monumental task.

The alternatives and possibilities for nourishment are limited only by our old habits, by our fear of trying the untried. Nourishing yourself is well worth the risk involved.

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