What Does Making Stew Have to Do With Self-Improvement?

I love home made stew when the weather turns cooler and I like to have some in the freezer during the winter months. So yesterday I made stew.

It’s a healthy dish – good lean meat and a friendly medley of carrots, onions and celery in a nice light gravy like my mother used to make – not the tomato based stew of the cookbook variety.  It’s a hearty dish that causes even slight eaters to ask for second helpings.  It tastes good and it’s good for you. (I think that’s someone’s commercial but I can’t remember whose it is, so right now it refers to my stew.)

“So,” you ask, “what does this have to do with self improvement?”

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I’m so glad you asked that question! Giving your body good, nourishing food goes in the category of physical improvement. Everything that went into the stew was selected for freshness and then sliced and diced in stew-like proportions. Hopefully it’s hopping with vitamins and minerals and other things that are listed in “minimum daily requirements.”  It’s even good for someone who is always dieting as long as they eat it in moderate servings. It’s a meal in itself. And it tastes so good it is eaten with a smile which I understand aids the digestive process.

But we need other stews as well. We need emotional stew, intellectual stew and spiritual stew if we are to remain balanced during our quest for self-improvement.

Emotional stew is a mixture of all kinds of feelings that sooth and motivate, encourage and teach, restrain us and push us forward and, best of all, make us laugh. Sometimes, for example we need a little fear to get us moving and motivate us to complete a project. We need the joy of completion and a feeling of satisfaction at success to balance it out. We need to learn to feel what we feel and to accept the fact that we are human. And we need to lean how to make decisions about how we feel and how we express those feelings to others. And most of all we need to learn to love as unconditionally as we can at the time. Yummy emotional stew!

Spiritual stew is a lovely combination of reading materials that lift your spirit, sitting in meditation to quiet your mind and  to be guided by your own High Self, managing our thoughts to keep them positive, and spending time in prayer and gratitude. It may include time to experience and enjoy nature, to breath in fresh air, to rest and rejuvenate. Spiritual stew is best eaten when the mind is quiet and  the heart is full of love.

Intellectual stew challenges the mind. All kinds of things can go into this stew pot: books about new subjects, unknown places and cutting edge ideas; puzzles and games; intellectual conversations. Anything that stretches your thinking can be tossed in the intellectual stew. Eat intellectual stew in small bites and digest well.

But wait! This sounds like we can divide ourselves up into little compartments and give each compartment its quota of the appropriate stew and, once filled, we can go on functioning until the compartment is again empty. Wouldn’t that be nice – and convenient?

It just doesn’t work that way. Our whole being is affected by what we eat, what we feel, what we know and what we think. What affects a part of us affects the whole of us. We are holistic. We need a balance of  nourishment in all areas for optimal well-being.  It is important  that we continue to learn and grow intellectually, that we continue on our spiritual path, that we grow emotionally, that we take care of our body so we remain healthy. If we do this we can go on self-improvement maintenance rather than take the crash course.

So excuse me while I go have a bowl of stew while I read a challenging, mind stretching spiritual book that makes me feel good all over. See ya later.

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