nur-ture (nur’cher), n. [ME. nuriture; Ofr. norreture, nourture; LL. nutritura < L. nurtrire, to nourish; see NURSE], 1. anything that nourishes; food; nutriment. 2. the act or process of raising or promoting the development of; training; rearing; upbringing. 3. in sociology, all the environmental factors, collectively, to which the individual is subjected from conception onward, as distinguished from his nature, or heredity. v.t. [NURTURED (-cherd), NURTURING], 1. to feed or nourish; maintain; foster. 2. to raise or promote the development of; train; educate; rear.
—Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, copyright 1966, page 1009.
“It’s as if there’s a pot of something, and it’s simmering,” Cissy says while taking my pulse. “But when you cry, it boils over – only a little bit though.”
“I cried every night for two weeks,” I say matter of fact. Then I almost start crying.
“I gave you blood moving herbs. It moves the emotions, what emotions have been brought up since I last saw you? What are the dominant ones?” she inquires.
Oh yes! I think, The herbal teas I’ve been making from Joe. Yes! That’s why I’ve been going nut-so for four consecutive weeks. I explain, in quick detail, the emotions I’ve been experiencing. I tell her about the eating. I tell her about making myself sick. I tell her about my forgetfulness. I tell her I can’t sit still. I tell her about disrupted sleep. I tell her about mental ruts. I tell her, I tell her, I tell her.
“So you need to find a way to just take the whole thing down a notch. It’s exhausting to have it on simmer all the time. Just let it go,” she continues.
I pause to consider this.
“Ok. But what’s on the pot? What’s boiling in the first place?” I want to know the answer now but I know she doesn’t have it. Only I have it. I glance at her as she scribbles on my chart. She looks up.
“It’s grief, something to do with grief. Our position is not necessarily to re-live it or ‘figure out’ precisely what caused it. You could have the grief of the entire planet for all I know. You could have grief from the past. I don’t know. But it’s deep, and it’s coming out in anger and in other secondary ways.” Suddenly, I remember the Mason Jars. And I remember that it was my period – the massive cramps with hardly any bleeding, or moving of emotions, that got me here.
“And the food,” she continues, “the eating,”
“I know. I know, it’s like trying to fill the emptiness. I know. But to what end?”
“It’s nourishment. Remind yourself that that’s what you’re trying to give yourself. You can find it in other ways. It’s about nurturing, nurture yourself.”
For the rest of the day I repeat this to myself. My feet make a sound as I walk over the gravel: cr-unch, cr-unch, nur-ture, nur-ture. The car beeps when I leave the keys in the ignition: ding-ding, ding-ding, nur-ture, nur-ture. The yoga instructor chants in sanksrit at the end of class: om shan-ti-, shan-ti, shan-ti, om nur-ture, nur-ture, nur-ture.
I’m-home, nur-ture. Din-ner, nur-ture. Show-er, nur-ture. Bed-time, nur-ture.