I don't eat junk foods and I don't think junk thoughts.
-Peace Pilgrim, 1908-1981, American Peace Activist

From "If the Buddha Came to Dinner: How to Nourish Your Body and Awaken Your Spirit," by Halé Sofia Schatz with Shira Shaiman, p. 1:

It's April in New England. I've been spending time in my garden, clearing away the dead leaves, pruning, getting ready to plant...This morning I pick up the clippers and set to work, just as I've done for many years. You have to prune a plant for it to grow. I find pruning to be very satisfying; I love the sure, swift sound of the clippers rhythmically slicing through a branch. With each cut, I know I'm clearing away the dead matter to make room for new growth. Periodic pruning isn't just for plants; it's a natural rhythm for all of us. Cleaning your closets, organizing your personal papers, getting rid of clutter, and spring-cleaning are all forms of pruning. I find that when the weather is warmer, people naturally recommit to living more active and healthy lives, which starts with internally pruning the parts of their lives that no longer nourish them. This internal pruning helps you discover your hidden potential for growth.

This same life force exists within each of us. I will use "spirit" to describe this sacred life-giving force. No matter the language we use, this energy is real and vital. It's our essential makeup. Our spirit is abundant in gifts. In fact, its sole purpose is to help us make connections, heal, and be our truest selves. Our spirit is the place within ourselves that is balanced, connected to the source of life, where we are at home. Deep within us exists a well of nourishment when we can find the sustenance to live joyful and meaningful lives. All that's asked of us is to know that it exists, and then to feed this place within ourselves.

A garden can only grow if there's a gardener to prune, fertilize, seed, and regularly care for the soil and plants. It's not very different for people. If we want our spirits to soar and direct our lives in rich and meaningful ways, we need to feed ourselves with the nourishing foods, activities, and relationships that encourage growth. What would happen if you treated your whole self-body, heart, mind, and spirit-as a garden worthy of your love and diligent efforts? What dead matter would you clear away? What would you plant? How would you fertilize the soil and nurture the seedlings? What will you do with this plentiful harvest from your garden?

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