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Who Nourishes the Nourishers?

Lately I’ve been feeling sort of empty. I get up early to bake and work in the kitchen, I come home and work on the business plans and financials for Thrive Community Kitchen and Cafe, I go for a bike ride or to another of my 3+ jobs, I come home and make dinner, go to bed, and start all over again. These long summer days are full! But I still feel empty.

I am finding new ends of this candle to burn. Pouring my heart and soul into sustaining my business while also working to bring something profoundly meaningful to the Gunnison Valley, while also working part time for three local non-profit organizations, while also trying to maintain a healthy partnership, while also caring for three crazy fur children. Each day I pour a gallon or so out of my proverbial energy bucket with these passions of mine. Then I squeak in 20 minutes of yoga, half an hour of pleasuring reading, or a bike ride that keeps me up way past my bedtime, and I tell myself “I’m doing good self-care” and “adding back to the bucket”. Which I am, but only about a teaspoon at a time. Then I wonder why I feel like I’m running on a deficit.

I tell myself that I can do it. So much of my work is also my passion, it should fill me back up, right? And it does! It really does. Then I tell myself I don’t have the luxury of taking a really nourishing vacation. I’m trying to raise money for Thrive, I have orders to fill, I can’t leave Jefe alone with the dogs (again), so many reasons not to take care of myself. But, so many reasons that it truly is necessary! This is where I announce that I’m taking the summer off and going to Costa Rica for two months!!
Just kidding.

The kitchen is full of lots of things; food, family, creativity, just a little bit of chaos, and a whole lot of love. Maybe that love is what brought me into the kitchen in the first place. When I bring someone a pie or arrive at a party with a birthday cake, the joy in the recipient’s heart adds to my bucket. The email that I just received thanking me for the cake I made last weekend to assist in the celebration of a marriage adds to my bucket. Providing snacks for an open house for a friend’s new office space adds to my bucket. But my bucket is full of holes. I’m looking for love and acknowledgment in the kitchen and in the food I create. It’s there. I make sure there’s a lot of love in my kitchen and in my food. But no amount of pastry can satisfy the real need for Love of Self. That comes from within.

What I’m really trying to say is this: The kitchen has a lot to offer, but it’s hard to receive when something deeper is missing. The loss of Anthony Bourdain highlights the emptiness that can still exist even when we’re full. I can relate to the idea that those who give the most, those who nourish and offer and reach out with sticky hands are also the ones silently asking to receive. We don’t want to acknowledge that we give with the hope that we’ll get, but it’s true. Sometimes the getting is in the giving, but it often isn’t enough because there is something blocking our ability to receive. There are holes in our buckets. Those holes are ours to fill, but it also takes community and connection. Be kind. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself. There is a lot in this world to fill us up if we’re open to receiving, and if we learn to love ourselves and plug the holes.

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