Feeding Your Spirit

I was browsing the Living section on Huffington Post and came across this: Spiritual Lessons From Wine And Baguettes. How could I bypass so tasty a title? Especially as today is Bastille Day – the French national holiday?

And, I confess, I have allowed myself a bit of both this summer – good wine and good bread – along with an exceptionally healthy diet.

And amazingly, I’ve reduced the Food Budget and found that I’ve lifted my own spirits.

By eating better.  By allowing myself small pleasures.

For me, it is indeed a glass of Cabernet or the satisfaction of a good grainy bread with a morsel of chèvre. It’s soup made with fresh veggies and herbs I love. It’s salads with spinach and parsley, and a drizzle of lemon juice.

It’s taking the time to sit down and appreciate the food I’ve prepared, rather than seeing the process of feeding myself as an annoying interruption as I rush through the day.

Quality of Life

I’m terrible at slowing down. I admit it.

And most of the women I know are just as hampered by a tendency to overload, over-commit, and never feel as though it’s enough – or good enough.

When I lived in France, and even when I’ve traveled there on business, I’ve always been able to slow down just a little. My work output never suffered. My “sanity” levels skyrocketed. When I stayed for extended periods, I ate more – with gusto – and lost weight. My experience has been about getting things done and quality of life, whereas here we muscle through the days and weeks and months at a killing pace.

We’re worried about our marriages, our love lives, our kids. We’re mired in achieving the next milestone toward a goal, in figuring out where the dollars for orthodontia will come from, or how to hang on to our paying jobs – if we have them.

And we forget what comforts us.

We forget what sustains us.

Pacing Problems, Budget Bummers

There’s much that sustains me – paper and a pencil so I can write, conversation with a close friend, exercising my parenting profession, a vigorous walk, great food.

How easy it is to forget that food shouldn’t be an obsession, a cross to bear, a budgetary dilemma. Food nourishes both the body and the spirit, and we remember the former while forgetting the latter.

It’s certainly harder to do on a budget, but it can be done – at least to some degree. For instance I’ve recently found numerous reasonable wines for less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee. A baguette may run a dollar and a half. As for the cheese? Sure – if you’re watching your cholesterol you’d better be judicious in your selection, and moderate in your portions. But the point is really this – the pace at which we barrel through our lives is crazy.

We no longer stop to savor.

I will quote from Huffington Post article:

In my estimation, the French people have mastered the art of enjoying the moment…

The French Revolution, The American Dream

I think of France, and the revelations of my experiences there over the years. I learned the language, I made friends; I realized that appreciation isn’t the same as indulgence. One is about pure experience; the other is about judgment.

Then there is the American Dream, and how for many of us, it seems to go wrong.

But maybe it’s not so much that it goes wrong as it goes real. We come to understand the hard work in sustaining relationships (and there are no guarantees), the inevitability that some circumstances are beyond our control (despite a positive attitude), the job market may be treacherous (regardless of skills), parenting is tedious (no matter how much we love our children).

And aging?

It endows us with perspective, recognizing the need for nourishment of the spirit.

I wonder if we would be so involved in our millennial dialogue of “presence” and “happiness” if we were able to feed ourselves – in a healthy fashion, and without guilt.

As for the reminder of the rhythms of daily life in France, we can leave the berets and baguettes if we wish, and still unwind over a meal or a coffee – alone or with a friend. And we can reconsider this: if it tastes, smells, sounds or feels good – maybe it is.

Even with a heap of headaches to manage this summer, I’m trying to savor – moments with my kids, a glass of wine, a bite of cheese. I’m learning, or more precisely – re-learning.

What about you?

  • Does enjoyment feel like indulgence?
  • What do you do to take a breath, and nourish your spirit?
  • Is food a source of comfort, or conflict?



© D A Wolf

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Comments

  1. I ‘savored’ a tuna sandwich with garden tomatoes and a tall glass of Iced tea yesterday and took a break from the mundane job boards. It truly was refreshing. I have never been abroad, or over the US borders. I have a friend living in France who has extended an open invitation I may get a chance some day to take her up on. I hope I do. I hope you get a chance to savor more often.

  2. It is sooooo important to learn how to slow down and savor. Whether it’s wine, food or relationships. And to be able to savor all three at once is perfection! I wonder how many emotional and physical illnesses could be cured by this mindset. So glad you are enjoying a healthier diet and a little glass of spirits now and again! :-)

  3. I truly have a healthy attachment to food. I enjoy cooking and I enjoy eating. I especially enjoy when others enjoy my food! My sister in law (I hate to call her my ex-sister in law) lives in Italy and I have visited her several times and the pace there is so different than USA. I loved it and having been married to a Danish man, I have to say, he taught me early on how to sit back and smell the roses. I indulge and I never feel guilty.

    Like you said, with all the things that we juggle in our life, we deserve to take a moment, have our me time and just pamper ourselves however that may be.

    Oh and you are right, you can find wine cheaper than a cup of coffee. I find some super duper cheap wine here in California. Trader Joes, is famous for 2 buck chuck. LOL.

    Great post!

  4. It’s said this is a materialistic society. I would say we’re an acquisitive society. But we’re not materialists. Not at all. A materialist savors.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      Acquisitive. Yes, that’s an excellent word for it, Wolf. Among other things, because there is no “enough,” only more.

  5. It’s amazing, isn’t it, how we go to another place and almost instantly fall into that mentality? When in Switzerland I’m highly punctual and efficient. When in Italy, relaxed and happy and usually running late. In France I soak up and savor everything a bit more. Unfortunately our own American culture only seems to emphasize “bigger, better, faster, more.” Doesn’t always make for an easy lifestyle. So glad that you’ve been slowing down this summer. Sounds like it’s paying dividends!

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      So right, Gale. We soak up what’s around us. Theoretically, if we could inject a bit more “quality” into our culture here – in simple ways – then shouldn’t we be able to soak that up? Along with compassion? Respect?

      The challenge is – the past 40 years or so have done a good deal to wipe out those values that still exist in pockets, of course, both here and overseas, but not part of the cultural landscape as they once were.

  6. I just found you from Perils of Divorced Pauline. Exquisite blog. And truly, needed at a very poignant time.

    At a time that I need to be reminded to enjoy.
    To breathe.
    To care for myself.
    To nourish myself.
    To enjoy the luxuries of life.

    I just realized it has been ages since I bought new underwear. Pretty underwear.

    Ages since I went to the bakery to buy a fresh baguette.

    Again, thank you.

    • BigLittleWolf says:

      So glad you stopped by to read and comment, 6degrees. And what a wonderful discovery your site is, as well!

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