I do believe that it is when things are alright, or maybe even when things are more than alright, that we recognise a kind of hunger: a need for something we can't identify.
I call it the gap. An emptiness. A space inside us we do not know how to nourish.
I'm feeling it again. We are old friends, the gap and I, and all too often I circumnavigate her and hope that life, the everyday, will find away to nourish her. But it is rarely so, and all too often the gap requires a shift in thinking. A determination to change. A commitment to the routines and rituals that will fulfill me again.
When the gap comes I experience the world differently. I am more alert to danger. To worrying about the fox in the garden roaring at my son. The odd smell of cigarette smoke lingering in my bedroom last night, though nobody here has ever smoked.
When the gap comes for a while I try to fill it with things I know are bad for me. With doorstop sandwiches of white bread and cheese. With an extra glass of wine. TV that appalls me. The picking of a fight. Or like last night, numerous fights with almost everyone. Screeching while they stare in astonishment as I spill myself all over the house, and they (the men) look at each other bewildered and reassure themselves with mutterings about female hormones.
While it might be true that hormones are a-raging, it isn't their merry monthly dance that causes the gap. No. The gap arrives without bidding. She has no timetable and she is as pervasive and unwelcome as the common cold.
In my wiser moments, when the gap has been nourished for a while -hungry monster that she is - I recognise what she is for. I see that she is needling for change. She is the chasm, motivation causes, to push us forward again. The gap exists to remind us that resting on even the loveliest of laurels will not serve us and that we risk the kind of static life we have long abhorred, if we will not seek to nourish our very soul.
For me nourishment means making plans. Taking baby steps towards new goals. Banishing bad habits over and over again, (for they turn up like bad pennies and offer sanctuary from the gap). Picking up the routines that sustain me. And sitting with myself. Not filling up my head with games and magazines and apps, but sitting without a phone or tablet in my hand. Sitting in silence without fearing what I might hear deep inside.
Nourishment then isn't food. Or noise. Or words. Or even a hug from someone who cares from us. Nourishment requires acknowledgement of the gap and observance of that which our soul knows and is trying so very hard to tell us. It means nodding our heads when the truth about our current circumstances surfaces and above all else it means taking decisive action to remedy all that ails us.
Today that means getting my finances in order so money worries do not derail me. It means banishing all the food I have acquired recently in an effort to fill the gap. Sitting in meditation with my candle lit. Sipping soothing tea. Fixing myself without merely sticking a plaster over the gap.
It means acknowledging that I want a home of my own. Throwing myself whole-heartedly into learning everything I can about the courses I am taking. Focusing on the next four years and working out exactly what has to be done if I am to change the direction I am currently heading in and committing to, and no longer resisting the hardships that achieving those dreams will require.
I think I have been self-indulgent. The gap says nourish me now, Nourish me with what matters, Not with what you want, but with what you really need. The gap says, you have never been happier, so now is the time to chase your dreams. And you see, she might be a bossy cow, but I do believe the gap knows of what she speaks.
How then will you begin to truly nourish yourself?