checking in on that one little word

My one little word for 2010 is NOURISH.

I figure it’s time to check in and see how that is showing up. Or as my brother says,
“How’s that working for you so far?”

Things that feel nourished already:

  • my writing, with the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York in January
    Committing to this last fall, and attending last month, was a way to take my writing seriously, and to give me a deadline for a finished manuscript. After reaching “the end” of the first draft in November, and being completely dissatisfied with the work, I was sure I had no place at the conference.  But I worked through that, with the help of a new perspective, and am now at work on a completely new version of the manuscript.  I was able to get feedback on the new version in New York (more on that later), and I am confident in the new direction.
  • peaceful connection, taking nine days completely away from the internet
    Visiting the Big Island of Hawaii for the first time was a revelation – it feels completely different from Kauai – and exploring this new place with my husband and my daughter was delightful.  I left my laptop at home and didn’t look at a screen (not a computer or a television) the whole time; I felt connected to myself, the people around me, and the place I was visiting in a way I have let slide recently.  The raw – and varied – beauty of the place took hold of me and hasn’t let go.
  • my health, with a renewed commitment to taking care of my body
    I have to admit that seeing myself in a bathing suit was disconcerting – I have put on the pounds in the last few years, and have been uncomfortable in my body.   I have wrestled with distorted views of this body my whole life: I would be grateful now to be in the shape I was when Ed & I got married in July 2007, or when we started the house remodel in April 2005, but I know that at the time I was desperately unhappy with what I saw in the mirror.  I’ve managed to fit in a workout every day this week (baby steps, I know) and this time it’s about feeling fit and strong, not about pounds or inches.
  • inspiration, for photography, community, and sense of home
    The first time Ed and I travelled together was to Kauai, a new place for each of us; I learned that when he visits a new place, he likes to bring home a book – booklover that I am, I could get on board with this idea, and we still enjoy the books we brought home from that trip.  This time, we came home with a newly published history of the Big Island, a collection of photos from the Hawaiian islands, and an oral history (peppered with black and white portraits) of contemporary Hawaiian elders (of all ages) who seek to preserve and cultivate the rich culture of the islands for future generations.

Things I still want to nourish this year:

  • connections with family and friends – it is just too easy to let slide the relationships that have nourished me at other points in my life.  I want to make the phone calls, write the letters, set up the coffee dates (or the Skype calls) that will keep those connections alive and well.
  • growing food and flowers at home – even in under the trees where we are, there are a few places we could get rid of rocks and tree stumps to plant beautiful gardens.  There is a small space away from the road where I would be comfortable growing food to eat, and this year, I want to make that happen, even if it is just a few lettuces and beans.  It can grow.
  • my portrait photography skills – I have had the opportunity this last year to do several portrait sessions (single and group) and I am eager to build on these experiences.  I especially like working with young people and may explore doing senior portraits this year.  Okay, I will.  I will explore this, because I love it.

All in all, I’d say NOURISH is working for me.  And playing for me.  And playing with me.

Right now, the sun is just a bit of chilly light filtering through the raindrops in the trees.  But the days are getting longer – and brighter and warmer – spring is coming.  The daffodils I planted are coming up for the second time, leggy stems reaching out, eager to burst open any day now.  My dog has wandered in to nudge me with her head and let me know it is time for a break, so we’ll head out on a walk.  I feel rested and optimistic.



listening to: Michael Bublé, Feeling Good


  • I continue to contemplate your choice of the word nourish. This post was a good one to read and to ponder the word again. A moment of clarity and perhaps even an epiphany for me…the word nourish begins with the word NO, which I am horrible at using in my own vocabulary. Perhaps my own first step would be to work on the beginning of the word so that I can fully appreciate the remainder of the word in my own life.

    P.S. Not very naughty although, I suppose, I could say that saying the opposite of NO helps nourish a part of my soul at certain times and in certain places 🙂 (I’ll have what she’s having)

  • And after that first step, I’m eager to hear how Urish makes its way into your life. (Sounds like the name of an Olympian from an Eastern-bloc country.)

  • Here is my favourite quote: “…now it is about feeling fit and strong, not about pounds or inches.” Rock on! What a great goal and a great place to be. It is so cruel that young girls feel unattractive or wish they were thinner/bustier/etc/etc, but you hit the nail on the head when you say that you can often appreciate ourselves retrospectively… When we are 80, what will we say about how we look today? Probably we will wish we enjoyed it all more and didn´t worry so much. rant/ Feeling dissatisfied with ones body is not a unique pathological obsession of one or two people; there are powerful, ubiquitous social conditioning campaigns to encourage us to feel this way. Make no mistake, a lot of people/companies make a lot of money off people wanting bigger boobs, smaller bums, smoochier lips. However, you can also get breast minimizing bras so “you don´t look fat” and bum pads or injections – I think this shows that you can´t win, and no one who can sell you something wants you to be satisfied… they would prefer you spend money trying to be something else. The voice in one´s head that says “you aren´t good enough” was never really your own, someone put it there. Say it with me now: FUCK THEM!

    So… good for you for choosing your own definition of health and value and pursuing that to nourish yourself. I think fostering confidence and self-acceptance is what leads to creativity, contentment, and general “fabulousness”. It is inspiring, especially from someone who works with young people who seem especially vulnerable and could use a good example. Yay Jet!


    You ladies have made my day. I laughed so hard. Thank you both for sharing conversation with me here. (Kim, you are assuming Urish is a him?)

    On a (slightly more) serious note, I said nearly that exact thing to Ed as we snuggled down for the night a while back; I was reflecting on how I could be so much more appreciative of my body from a few years ago than I was at the time. (I mgiht have said something along the lines of being willing to give my left arm for the 2004 version of my body.)

    And then I wondered aloud what my 80-year-old self would think of my butt now? Maybe she’ll be all skinny and droopy and wish for my curves, my muscle tone, my butt, my hips, my thighs, my flexibility. Possible? Given my experience in the last ten years or so, I think it’s mroe than possible. I think it’s likely. (I have been pondering a blog post on exactly this since I had that revelation.)

    So yes, FUCK THEM, those messengers of feelbad. The most interesting message to me is the one from my friends and family who see beauty in who I am and what I do, not what size skirt I wear, who tell me what they like about me, who cheer me on, and who let me cheer them on.

    And that is absolutely what I work to share with the young people I get to spend time with.

  • Love the Nourish, its so applicable in a lot of ways….. also in the Nourishing our bodies with good food, and so on.

    I love the feeling in your posts, and I so could picture Davids face saying with arm gestures and the arm cross lean and the head tilt while asking “so hows that going for you?”

    I so agree with Catherine’s slant on the Beautiful you, however you fell vs HOW people or the media want you to see yourself, or want you to be.

    I never heard Nana say my bum is big, fat, chunky, or any of the above, she loved herself and smiled putting her lipstick/ face on the way out the door.

    I never realized how having a positive role model of self makes a huge difference in comparison to role models among Grandmothers, Mothers, and Grandchildren and how diet or self worth seems to be taught or learned through the family tree.

  • Anita! Thank you for the visit and the kind words about what you find here.

    I love the reflection of Nana you bring here. You’re right – she never, EVER, criticised her own body. When I was younger, she would say – quite cheerfully – something along the lines of, “oh, I’m too fat for that, dear” with a great laugh. We knew, even then, that this was not an okay way to talk about oneself. David and I would run over and hug her and tell her she wasn’t fat, she was cuddly. She was the best hug going. But she was comfortable in herself: accepting, loving, content. She wasn’t trying to be anything but herself.

    I love the memory of her putting on lipstick. *sigh

    We can all be role models to/for each other. My sisters are the best at catching my self-denigrating comments, pointing them out, helping me rephrase, refusing to let me put down their big sister. And they are each profoundly accepting and loving of their bodies. Fine role models, indeed. I still have much to learn. How wonderful!

  • Jet, I’ve read all the posts down to here, starting with the one on writing–discovering that you are working on a children’s book–and the one about your trip to NYC. I commented on this picture in your photo blog today. I called it “Perfect Zen.” But, somehow, subsconsciously, I also thought nourish. It’s so pure. I love the post on your beautiful friend, above. I love this post. It’s been nice catching up with your life and workings. The Big Island IS beautiful. I hold fondly my trip there about 26 years ago. My how the time flies.

  • Leisa, so nice to see your comment. I always enjoy your visits. I’m glad the concept of nourish came through, even without the words directly. Photos can have that power to communicate. I know you get this. Cheers!

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