Hungry and Alone

You ever been hungry and felt it?

The gnawing in your belly.
The gurgle noises.
The rolling and rumbling.

And then, you sit down to eat, and discover you are fucking ravenous and could possibly consume everything in front of you?

That happened around here recently.

::: ::: ::: :::

For years, I’ve ‘done’ spiritual practice.
Add a couple of other things now and then.
Checked it off my list.

And while practice did help calm my brain, surrender to some hard lessons, and help me learn to stay in the moment, it was not always as filling as I felt it could be. Many days there was something missing, but I could never quite put my finger on it.

It felt like I was getting what I needed…almost.
I was ticking the boxes of spiritual practice.
It should have been enough.
But somewhere, back there in my deepest soul, it wasn’t.

Then I discovered spiritual nourishment.
Let me say that again: spiritual nourishment.

And I discovered how ravenous I was.

::: ::: ::: :::

Spiritual nourishment shares space with, but is very different from, spiritual practice.

Spiritual nourishment makes my soul feel juicy and alive. Spiritual nourishment feels like a new lover- whisking me away on desire into beautiful places that fill up my heart and make it sing. It also feels like an old lover, comforting and supportive. Spiritual nourishment is like bone broth with just the right seasonings – filling, calming, exciting, nourishing.

::: ::: ::: :::

As part of both my spiritual practice and my spiritual nourishment, I read poetry.
William Stafford is my favorite. (Hence, my pen name.)
Mary Oliver.
Pablo Castaneda.
Compilations and prayer books.

And these poets and their words certainly bring me joy and comfort and insight.

But I had forgotten, until recently, how nourishing I find the writings of other people on the spiritual awareness and development path.

There is nothing quite like a spiritual memoir or a book of spiritual teachings to make me feel well fed. I had forgotten how good it feels to be spiritually fed and nourished.

I was so hungry- and I didn’t know it until I started reading something besides poetry.

I found this out when I read Tosha Silver’s Outrageous Openness. Her words were concise and dense, packed with so much insight and humanity. I read the book in three days and am proceeding to read it a second time.

After filling the empty spiritual space, I can take the time to savor this second round.

I no longer feel hungry.


woman alone in spiritual contemplation with the sun shining on her face

The major premise of Silver’s book is that we are not alone in the spiritual life, or in life at all.

For so many years I have been practicing solo, with my patchwork quilt of beliefs. I have done what I needed to do for spiritual growth and healing. But I have done it with the feeling of aloneness.

I have pushed ahead on my own for so many years.
I forgot  I actually do have a connection with The Great Something.
And that I am a part of the whole of this Universe; I am not disconnected.

This came as a sort of revelation to me.
I don’t know why.

I knew, twenty-two years ago, that I was not alone. That I had support and unconditional love. But I lost that somewhere.

But, reading Outrageous Openness brought me to that understanding. Again.
And I am practicing this understanding of connection a bit each day. Reminding myself that Life is actually here to support me– and something good will come of all my trials and work.

::: ::: ::: :::

A week ago I felt hungry and alone.
Hungry for spiritual nourishment, not just practice.
Alone with the misguided view that I was disconnected.

But today I feel so different.



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