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Each January, for the past three years, I’ve chosen a “Word of the Year”. In 2014, my word was “Wholehearted”. Last year, I chose “Clear”. This year, my word is “BLOOM”. As you may know from reading my earlier posts, I turned 50 this January. I decided I wanted my half-century year to be about really growing into myself. I had lots of potential words on my list including: nourish, flourish, grow, become, allow, trust….and many others. (I like lists!) Then I came across a favorite, familiar quote:

“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud

was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin.

I saw the word “blossom” and thought of all that goes into the creation of a flower – the seed must be planted, it must be watered, it must have time in the warm, moist darkness to germinate, it must crack open, put down roots, break through the soil, keep reaching upward and turning toward the sun, be willing to open a little more each day until it is fully it’s most lovely, lush self. I thought about how the word “bloom” seemed to encompass all the other words that I had been contemplating. For my self to flourish and bloom, I would have to be nourished, I’d have to trust the process to happen in its own time, I must reach upward into things unknown, bask in the warmth of the sun, welcome support and care if offered, and finally, really allow myself to open fully and be lush and beautiful and unique.

I’ve been following the prompts at Ali Edwards’ “One Little Word“. I’ll post more about other months in the future. Today, I want to talk about the whole “being nourished” thing. There are lots of ways we all need to be nourished, aren’t there? We all need emotional, spiritual, mental and physical feeding and care or we will die – or at least parts of us will. As I thought about this, I realized I have not been very good at giving myself real nourishment. That I’ve turned to things that aren’t real or substantial in an attempt to be filled – except it hasn’t been working very well. I still feel withered sometimes. Small and shrunken. A bit dried up. Or sometimes I feel bloated. Stuffed with too much to handle. Over-full with too many choices. Confused. Tired.

Since puberty, I have struggled with my weight. As I look back at photos of myself as a teen, I think now how beautiful I was. How full, curvy and truly lovely. I didn’t feel beautiful. I felt dumpy, chubby and not ugly, really, but definitely not one of the “pretty ones”. Through the years, I’ve tried every diet that came along, some of them many times. I succeeded for a while, but always returned to old, unhealthy habits. I even had lap band surgery in 2007. I did great for a while, but have slowly gained back some of even that weight.

In the past few years, I have given up “dieting”. I am learning to love my body for the precious, wonderfully made gift that it is. I don’t hate my thighs anymore. I don’t try to wish away my double chin. I revel in my body’s ability to do such varied tasks every day. I give thanks that at 50, I do not take any medications or have any chronic conditions…yet. As a nurse and massage therapist, I know that a lifetime of unhealthy habits (including starving myself in an attempt to be thinner) have not nourished me. Not really. And that I need to find out what that looks like for me. What does it mean to be truly nourished – in the most basic, physical sense?

I’ve been praying a lot about his since January. I’ve been reading a lot. I’ve seen a naturopath. I’ve seen my family practice physician. I’ve read some more. I’ve experimented with supplements, protein smoothies and stevia. I’ve been learning as I go. I’ve been asking God to show me what is right for ME. What does MY body need to be well?

My sister recently started the Whole30. I got that book from the library, along with “It Starts With Food” and read them cover-to-cover. Everything the authors talk about in the books is about giving your body what it really needs. How to be deeply nourished so that your body can function the way it was designed to. It made sense to me. It moved me. I want that. I want to love myself and be nourished. I want to change my relationship with food. I want to bloom.

I started yesterday. I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂