Hello reader, I’m Nathalie. I have to admit upfront that I’m a little terrified to publish this. I guess the thought of an invisible audience silently or not-so-silently judging me from behind their computer screens is intimidating. Yet, something is calling me to begin this public foray into writing and documenting my experiences. There is always an initiation and a learning curve with any new hobby, so bear with me as I educate myself on the blogging world and, ideally, improve this blog over time.
I am writing this first post on my 28th birthday, which feels appropriate because I believe a birthday marks a new year of life and fresh beginnings. I titled this blog Soul Sustenance because it celebrates everything in life that brings me joy and balance, and what better time to embrace, explore and share it all with the world than on a celebratory day?
Let me explain more about what drives me, which is really the essence of this blog:
- food (life’s literal sustenance): I can’t deny it, I love to eat. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of introspection and actively observing when I experience joy, and most of those moments in my life revolve around food. It’s not just the food that I savor; it’s how food has an incredible power to bring people together, stimulating conversations, expressions of love and connection. Aside from the actual eating, I enjoy the act of researching restaurants, curating my list of new places I want to try, and the adventure of dining somewhere for the first time. I witness the ambiance, absorb the energy of the other diners, evaluate the service of the wait staff, and of course, I hope to relish every flavor – from the wine to the dessert. Throughout most of my adult life, I have avoided the act of cooking, shunning the idea of toiling in the kitchen for hours to make a meal for myself that will take me a fraction of the time to consume. Maybe it’s just a function of the current conditions of my life; I live alone, work a full-time job and generally consider myself to be an impatient person. Or perhaps, I am just a creature of convenience. I live less than five minutes from a Whole Foods, so why cook when I have an abundance of fresh, pre-prepared food just a few steps away after a long day? Nonetheless, while I still consider myself more of a diner than a chef, I am gradually starting to appreciate the art of cooking – at least when I have time. I acknowledge that there is something immensely gratifying about creating a tasty and nutritious meal, so perhaps there is more “sustenance” that I have yet to fully explore. Regardless of how and where I consume it, clearly food is one of my passions and it will continue to be a central focus as I explore new restaurants and recipes, and I share the joy it brings to my life through my writing.
- health & wellness: I started my active life as a dancer at the age of 3 and I’ve never stopped moving since. My choice of exercise and activities has expanded since then to include almost anything that gets my blood pumping. I have also taken an interest in the overall body and how it can change radically through exercise and nutrition. It’s convenient to love to be active when you have such an affinity for eating, but I don’t just exercise in order to justify eating more (although that’s fun too). The endorphin rush of finishing an intense spin class or even better, hiking a mountain in the fresh air of my home state of Colorado is a natural high that is hard to beat. I also love understanding how food fuels the body and impacts everything from energy levels to mood to physique. I read and research extensively on the topic so I plan to share some of my findings here.
- spirituality: What a loaded word. I believe everyone has their own experience and I’ve been spending the better part of the last few years defining what it means for me. I believe it’s a lifetime journey that I’m only just beginning, but I am starting to see themes and connections in every domain of my life. I’ve been finding my own spirituality through reading, meditating, and yoga, and I have truly found a passion for exploring the meaning of life and the experience of the higher Self. I can’t talk about these very physical manifestations of my joy through food and exercise without also contemplating the reason behind it all…
- service: …which leads me to the concept of service and living life with a purpose. If there’s one dominant lesson from my spiritual quest thus far, it is that we are all connected and no one person is an island. One of my favorite metaphors I read once is that living beings are like ice cubes. We appear separate and individual, but we are all comprised of the same elements and ultimately “melt” into the same glass of water. We need to support each other because nobody can achieve gratification and fulfillment alone. I live a very blessed life and I couldn’t imagine not sharing those gifts with others. More than anything, service offers a higher purpose that I mentioned before, and connects us to something beyond the realm of the ego. I believe that above all should be celebrated and shared.
So those are my passions, or the sustenance of my soul. I would be remiss not to mention one constant in my life that ties all these elements together, however, and that is the art of travel and exploring other cultures. I’ve spent my life chasing all that is foreign in both the professional and personal domains. I currently work in a company with a major presence in Latin America, and I am fortunate to travel often to some of the places I adore most in that region of the world. I also have a running list of new destinations, as I do with new restaurants, and nothing excites me more than planning my next trip. Through this blog I intend to explore what I consider to be the four pillars of a balanced life – food, health & wellness, spirituality, and service – in the context of other cultures and through my travels to new places. Each community, whether it’s my own current city of Atlanta or an indigenous population in the rainforest of Brazil, has its own expression of these elements and I plan to investigate them through my excursions.
Welcome to this journey with me and I hope it feeds your soul as much as it does mine. Namaste!