During the time my mom faced cancer, there was a day when I felt so emotionally overwhelmed and energy depleted that, instead of helping my parents, as I had traveled to their home to do, I wanted to open the back door from their kitchen and run and run until I could run no more.
Instead of running, I stood still, closed my eyes, inhaled, and whispered, “Strength.” Literally, I called for it. And with grace, it came, immediately and with a force so full that it startled me.
If you were to ask me to describe what that was like, I would ask if you ever watched a Popeye cartoon. Similar to how that character was transformed after eating a can of spinach, ready to take on the world, I felt completely energized–physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was ready to take on everything that was my world at the time–which was to shop, cook, clean, and be lovingly present for my parents.
I often think back to the experience of that day.
I also think back to those Popeye cartoons. Although I probably wouldn’t have used these exact words back then, I used to wonder, “When is Popeye going to get it?! He needs to eat spinach all the time?! Every day so that he is always ready!”
Perhaps that was the lesson that children were supposed to get as we watched the cartoon series and saw that spinach needing-spinach eating scenario episode after episode: Popeye needed to eat spinach in order to be strong! Maybe we were supposed to want to eat spinach, or at least our vegetables, in order to be strong in our little bodies.
At this stage in my life, I realize that I need to nurture myself every day with “spiritual spinach.” I need to be strong on all levels.
Like it was for Popeye, it’s wise for us to always be “ready” to face whatever comes our way. Being nourished in this way strengthens our sense of self-worth too.
What might be spiritual spinach for you?
For me it’s inspirational quotes, affirmations, uplifting music, prayer, and meditation. It’s also being playful and pausing throughout the day to express gratitude.
Spiritual spinach can also be hiking, walking the dog, gardening, or bird watching.
What nuggets of inspiration might you consume to stay strong? Or what might you do each day to refill your inner strength tank and keep all the forms of strength flowing through you?
Consider identifying that for yourself and making a commitment to nourish yourself daily with “spiritual spinach” so that you are “ready” to take on “whatever”.