What is Nurture Really?

You wanna know what confuses me? Why do we use phrases such as “nature verses nurture,” while we still consider nature to be nurturing? Which one is it? Maybe we see nature as nurturing in a spiritual sense, but in the physical sense, we know nature is pretty scary.

I wonder if maybe we need to view our definition of nurture in a different light. Maybe we need to expand the definition so that it not only encompasses niceness, but fairness as well.

When I think about what makes someone nurturing, particularly a mother, I have a tendency to picture a soft-spoken, patient, caring woman who never gets angry and constantly dotes on her children. But Gaia is not this woman. Maybe this is who she is sometimes, but this certainly is not all there is to her.

So when Gaia is not behaving in this way, does that mean that she ceases to be nurturing for those particular moments? Or is the act of nurturing something more complicated than we’re able to understand right now? And I have to be honest, as I’m on this journey to discovering who I really am, my complexity is seriously daunting.

Everything you are is not all you are. Words may be limiting but they can be redefined; you don’t have to have rigid definitions that make it easier to keep your understanding of yourself and the universe confined.

So instead of saying something like, “Because my definition of nurture is the act of being syrupy and sweet, when I see someone who does not behave this way, it must mean they are not nurturing;” we can say something like: “This person is not behaving in a way that I consider nurturing, but she is still considered to be a nurturing person by others, so maybe I need to expand my definition of nurture.”

When we’re needy or feel superior to others, sometimes we demand that people nurture us by catering to all of our needs, and essentially sacrificing themselves for us. But what if catering to us is not what’s best for us? What if floods, earthquakes, and fires are actually an act of nurture? Self-nurture?

What if true nurture is self-preservation? After all, if the womb is not preserved, how will the species survive?

If something happens to Gaia, we all disappear (all trillions upon trillions of the lives living here); so self-preservation is actually an act of nurture by nature, even when it feels like an act of savagery against us.

You are not a slave to your responsibilities. You are a steward of your responsibilities. Our beautiful planet is an amazing model of this because she’s learned very difficult lessons.

Gaia went from trying to control everything, to ignoring abuse, to finally settling in on a balanced approach to motherhood. She regulates her life and therefore sets boundaries with her inhabitants. The nurture is in her nature.

“People depend on me and that’s why I take care of myself first,” she said. “It’s never my intention to hurt anyone, but if someone gets upset because I choose to preserve myself, it’s obviously because they don’t want me to survive.

“They want to use me up, and suck the life out of me so that they can gloat in my destruction, before moving on to their next host… but I keep outsmarting them. I keep rebalancing and regenerating, and I can do this forever.

“Eventually, the parasites will give up out of exhaustion and move on. And I’ll still be here with my powerful, fertile, resourceful self. So I’m totally okay with being called ‘moody,’ ‘selfish,’ and ‘savage.’ They only insult me because they can’t control me.”

Gaia is my hero.