Being able to nurture yourself is the heart of renewal. The nurturing process is essential to an open, clear, free mind, as well as being the foundation for a supple, resilient, unstressed physical body, and for emotional stability. Quality nurturing is the basis for overall well-being and zest for life. It allows a sense of aliveness and awareness to flourish.
Nurturing is a natural thing to do, yet few American men adequately partake. Statistically, they die earlier than women from stress-related conditions. In fact, many men in our fast paced, production-oriented culture have no experience of what being truly nurtured feels like. Some profess “no time” for it, while others lament that they have no nurturing “other,” meaning a woman in their lives. A few men, in simpatico with “the men’s movement,” report a lack of male friends to “bond” with in a life-restoring manner. Very sadly, our troops, returning from tours of duty with record-level post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSDs), are far removed from the healing forces of natural nurture.
What can a man do about this? The first and foremost step is to discover how to nurture himself. For many, this can happen via communion with Nature, whether exploring the mountains or desert. Just taking time to smell the roses can be deeply renewing. Another kind of self-nurture involves tactile pleasuring such as found in wearing comfortable clothes, luxuriating baths, and even contact with pets. Of course, both sensual and sexual pleasuring, free of goals can offer deep nourishment to soul and body. Eating healthful food at a leisurely pace also is beneficial – as is a cleansing fast. Taking mindful care of yourself physically leads to psychological and emotional restoration.
A second vital step in responsible self-care is learning to “be yourself” by expressing your true feelings. Without this self-revealing, vulnerable, surrendering aspect, no real intimacy is possible, and ultimately, nurturing is a deeply intimate experience. Choose to be with others who really care about you, and be patient while you’re learning. With women who will remain a most significant resource for your nurturing, seek to develop mutual ability to spontaneously give and receive, to establish the capability for nurturing “flow.” And don’t expect good nurturing from a woman who is “needy,” or under-nurtured herself –or from stereotypical, macho relationships with men. Be willing to risk breaking the old ‘strong, silent type’ codes, and be real. Risk intimate moments.
You’ll find, in time, that as you take responsibility and time for nurturing yourself, you’ll have better relationships all around. Developing the capacity for intimacy connection moves to the heart of the renewal many men are seeking, the sense of well-being we all deserve. As women, too, follow steps for authentic self-nurture, they serve the boys and men in their lives, too. By being nurtured and renewed on a daily basis, the fulfilling, intimate relationships we all dream about and the health we desire can become a living reality.