FEEDING THE MIND, BODY, HEART AND SOUL
By Greta Rossi
How do you feed yourself?
I am a foodie, hands down. I do not eat out of hunger alone; rather, I take enormous pleasure in savouring all the flavours in the meal in front of me. Especially if I cooked it myself, expressing my culinary talent (no, I am not ready for MasterChef, but I do like to expand my repertoire by trying out new recipes). I find it deeply rewarding to get locally sourced seasonal ingredients at the farmers’ market and to dedicate time to artfully create a balanced but tasty culinary experience that provides my body with the nutrients it needs. As I am feeding my body, I am also feeding my soul. Hopeless Italian romanticism? Maybe so, but I can genuinely say my levels of joy increase if this becomes a shared experience where I am cooking for others.
In a similar manner, I love working. Even if I won the lottery and did not have to work to sustain myself financially, I do not think I would stop. In fact, working goes beyond feeding my bank account (which has been on a fairly regimented diet since I started my first social enterprise almost five years ago); it deeply nurtures my soul. I see my work as a lifelong journey that invites me to explore, experiment, and express new ways of being and acting in the world. Like me, many people around the globe find infinite joy in dedicating their lives to enacting a purpose that serves other people and the planet. These are what I call changemakers, people devoted to imagining new recipes for a nutritious, balanced, and flavoursome world.
However, the dominant paradigm is urging us to do everything bigger, faster… even bigger and faster… without taking a moment to breathe between one bite and the other, between one project and the next. As a result, many people find it difficult to maintain healthy and nutritious habits. To keep up with the demands of modern life, some opt for hypercaloric fast foods (think about people who work in fast-paced stressful environments where it is all about maximising profits at the expense of others’ wellbeing); others slip into binge-eating (observe how many friends mindlessly move from one task to the next without absorbing the experience), while yet others forget about eating altogether (how many colleagues compromise their health by stopping to sleep or exercise to work longer and longer hours?).
This growing disconnection with the food, the ingredients, and the land, is nothing but a reflection of a deeper sense of alienation from ourselves. Our kitchen is a complete and utter mess, with dirty pans left everywhere, the smell of burning covering everything else, and a stained apron left hanging on the table… Could we find inspiration from the great chefs to learn to clean our internal kitchen?
Discovering Recipes for Wellbeing
This is the intention behind Recipes for Wellbeing, a newly-established not-for-profit association, co-created and co-led by young changemakers who find joy in cooking and sharing wellbeing experiences with others. Our aim is to shift the culture of changemaking to re-discover the importance of holistic wellbeing to enable anyone to contribute more effectively to creating positive change in the world. We interpret wellbeing both as a catalyst for positive change in the world, and as the positive change in the world itself. In particular, we support changemakers in experiencing wellbeing for themselves and in spreading wellbeing to their teams, societies, and to the whole world.
Recipes for Wellbeing offers a series of services and products to boost the wellbeing of changemakers and their organisations to increase their capacity to tackle more effectively the challenges that are in the way of broader societal and ecological wellbeing.
In the same way a recipe in a cookbook takes you through the steps to prepare a particular dish, our wellbeing recipes guide you through specific processes to cultivate wellbeing in your everyday work and life.
There are a number of ways you can engage with our recipes: you may wish to focus on a particular category, which guarantees a balance among all recipes; or you may prefer to dig deep into the main courses but across categories; or else you may want to choose a particular level of difficulty, based on your needs and previous experience.
Our recipes are divided into four main categories:
Mind: Recipes that engage your mind and benefit your mental wellbeing.
Body: Recipes that engage your body and benefit your physical wellbeing.
Heart: Recipes that engage your heart and benefit your emotional wellbeing.
Spirit: Recipes that engage your spirit and benefit your connection to your unique and deepest identity, as well as to the universal consciousness that animates the cosmos and everything in it.
As with any cookbook, there are different kinds of recipes: starters, main courses, desserts, etc. but also quick-on-the-go options, or more elaborate alternatives. We also provide various difficulty levels, from easy recipes that do not require any previous knowledge or experience of wellbeing, through medium to hard recipe that require some or extended knowledge or experience of wellbeing.
When you go out for a meal, you look for more than merely satisfying your physiological need for food. You may be curious to taste new combinations of flavours, to savour new ingredients, to find new recipes to try out at home… overall, you are looking for an experience. Our wellbeing labs offer similar experiences for individuals and their organisations to savour wellbeing.
We host anything from short inspiring talks through half-day interactive workshops to emergent personalised wellbeing retreats immersed in Nature lasting from 2.5 to 4 days for groups of individual changemakers or changemaker teams and organisations. Our retreats allow participants to explore the different ingredients of wellbeing through our recipes, which they choose at the beginning of the retreat to meet their needs and fulfill their hopes. Participants also receive valuable insights into how to become “wellbeing cooks” able to create a wellbeing plan to incorporate in their life and work to sustain their wellbeing.
Building a peaceful, democratic and inclusive country is a long term challenge which requires systemic changes to face the roots of our problems.
“Work, Life, Social Enterprise: Where’s the Boundary?” on 25 January 2017 brought together social entrepreneurs, support organisations and academics to consider the implications of digital technologies for social entrepreneurs’ work-life boundaries.
I spent last week at the Esalen Institute, at something called the Well-Being project, which I was introduced to through World Economic Forum.
“Our project started with research—deep conversations with people working for and leading social change.”