It was my morning ritual.
The holy grail in the name of health. I would spend a considerable amount of time planning up different concoctions. Spinach, kale and apple. Add lemon. Add ginger. A dash of turmeric.
I wasn’t sure why exactly I was so religiously making smoothies every morning, other than that it was the latest health craze. That, and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I figured a mega-dose of nutrition couldn’t hurt.
Up until then, I was drinking almost every day after work and waking myself up with a latte in the morning.
I have to admit, the king green smoothie didn’t agree with my body right off the bat. The low rumble in my tummy was an inkling that all was not right. I tried to brush it off as beginner blues. However, just like everything that you try to push under the carpet, it always comes back to bite you in the ass tenfold.
And so began my year-long, in-depth journey into health and wellness. I learned the meaning of true nourishment. I learned how it comes from our career, relationships and the choices we make in our lives just as much as it comes from what we eat for breakfast.
1. I learned the art of self-care.
I had neglected myself for most of my years on this planet, being long on criticism and short on self-love. I finally shushed the inner critic that would nag me to keep on the grind and instead lit some candles, put on some tunes and began taking long, warm baths. I connected to my divine feminine in my element, as I immersed in the water.
I would sing. I would cry. I would melt into the ripples, hidden from the world underneath a pile of soapy goodness. I’d emerge feeling like a whole new person and I found that how we treat ourselves sets the standard on how we allow others to treat us.
2. I focused on doing what truly fed my soul.
This took a bit of courage on my part, as I gave up the road I was traveling on for one full of twists and turns, no set path and no security. I took a leap of faith and I’m still falling. Yet, somehow I think that I’m getting better at growing my wings on the way down. In exchange, I gained tons of freedom and deeper insight on what mattered most to me. I also found that the universe does support you when you go in the direction of your dreams. Somehow, even as I’m falling, I feel like I’m floating at the same time.
3. I learned to coach people.
I was not sure myself of where I was heading. I connected with strangers from all over the globe. I laughed with them. I learned about what hurt them and what was most pressing in their lives. I made heartfelt connections, found soul friends and uncovered pieces of my soul in the process. In helping others with their map, I inadvertently found my way through mine as well.
4. I gained a love for food.
For whole food, food that is alive and brimming chock-full of nutrients and warmed by the sun. I felt what it was like to be truly energized and most at home in nature. I found solace in digging my toes into the ground, watering the plants and, in turn, gaining nourishment from them. I rejoiced in the cycle, and in the oneness that binds us all together.
5. I found pleasure in preparing food.
Rich, delicious food in vibrant colors. I delighted in the symphony of smells and tastes, and in the creativity the cooking process would draw from me. I felt my energy meld the ingredients together in becoming another creation entirely. In serving food to loved ones, I found nourishment for myself.
6. I connected to my gut instinct.
Instead of listening to the millions of voices in my head, I learned to tune into my soul. I felt my way around my choices, instantly knowing when something felt right or wrong. I let my inner guide lead the way and let go of the voices of fear, doubt and worry. I stopped when I felt resistance and instead followed the path of ease, lightness and joy. I flowed and let the Universe flow through me.
7. I focused on the most important relationship of all: my relationship with myself.
I’ve learned to put feeling good first and foremost, and to reach for that feeling above anything else. I practiced my muscle of mindfulness in word, thought and deed. I let go of my harmful habits, clearly seeing how they were forms of violence towards myself. I changed the language of my inner critic to a dialogue filled with love and compassion. I empowered myself by establishing a routine of yoga, meditation and healthful food. I put my growth as a spiritual being at the forefront and felt how this changed my interactions immensely.
“My primary relationship is with myself—all others are mirrors of it” ~ Shakti
8. I learned the concept of bio-individuality.
How one’s food can be another’s poison. How there is no one diet that fits all. I started seeing all the idiosyncrasies and quirks that make us endlessly beautiful. I celebrated these differences. Instead of becoming a barrier, they became opportunities to learn more about myself in relation to others. I saw the universe as an ever evolving, infinite place for expansion and growth—one where contrast and oneness happen at the same time.
In that vein and new awareness, I can now say I have gotten back to making green smoothies. Although now, they come in a variety colors. I pick ingredients based on what I feel my body needs that day.
And so goes with all my choices in life. I tune in first.
The goal now is to feel juiced. Not in the way a green juice is juiced (well, sort of), but to feel brimming with energy, excitement and enthusiasm for what’s to come.
Let all of our choices come from this place.
~ Noelle Rodriguez
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Apprentice Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Emily Bartan
Photos: Author’s Own; Kimber Pine/Unsplash