The need for nourishment


“What is to give light must endure the burning.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Reflect on the way you live your life. Do you look after others, but let yourself get run down? Have you taken on board views that lead you to sacrifice yourself? This is very common.

Imagine then a field of wheat. Every year the field gives abundantly, but nothing is ever put back into the soil. For a few years the field gives good yields and sustains others, but eventually the crops become more and more meager. If the field continues giving without receiving then it will, at some point, turn into a dust-bowl.

It’s good to give. Giving creates deep connections of love and gratitude. But in order to give on a long-term basis you need nourishment yourself. Just as a field needs to be fertilized, so you need to feed yourself with self-metta.

Sometimes people will say to me things like “I’m too kind,” or “I think about other people too much.” I disagree with this idea that we can have too much of a good quality. I don’t think it’s possible to be too kind, too generous, or too compassionate, and I think this diagnosis misses the point, which is that we lack some necessary quality to balance out the love, generosity, compassion, or whatever quality it is that we have in such abundance.

When someone says they are “too generous” my perspective is that they have a well-developed ability to give, but lack the ability to sense when they need to give to themselves, or lack the ability to make their needs known to others. It’s the lack of these complementary skills that is the problem, and it’s those skills that need to be developed.

I really don’t think we can have “too much of a good thing.”