Soul Food

Editor’s Note: Make the Days Count is republishing its top 10 articles for the benefit of new readers. This article was first run on November 18, 2008. Article by Make The Days Count Contributor Judy Mosley

 

It’s a simple signal – a little growl in the stomach or the sudden urge for “something.”  Human beings are superior for knowing when we are hungry.  Even if we aren’t exactly starving, we will snack as much as possible to keep hunger at bay.

 

There is another part of us that needs just as much attention.  It can’t be seen on an x-ray or an ultrasound, but it’s still an important part of who we are.  We’ve all felt its’ many signals … from unwarranted anger, the loneliness that creeps in while we’re in a crowded room, to the feeling inside when we have nothing left to give to those around us, just to name a few.

 

It’s our soul speaking to us in different ways, and it’s telling us it’s hungry.

 

Feeding our soul, however, is not as simple as going to the fridge and eating Thanksgiving leftovers.  We must give our souls what will nourish it and make it strong. This can be relatively plain to us, if we know who we are and what we need.

 

Why feed our souls in the first place?  If food, water, shelter are all we physically needed, wouldn’t those be enough?  No matter who or what we believe in, we admit that there is something deeper that surpasses our physical hunger.  There is something inside us which pushes us further – to be more, to do more than simply exist.  I call it the soul.   When we overlook that deeper part of who we are, the effects can show themselves in a myriad of ways.  We might lose focus.  Goals that we have set for ourselves might not seem possible.  Our view of our future may become distorted.  Being surrounded by the mundane and monotonous, we start believing that things will always be this way.  Change begins to feel like an enemy instead of a friend.  And, it becomes difficult to make ourselves available to those who need us the most.

 

What do we feed our souls?  In one way it depends on who you are and what touches you personally. There are, however, universal ways that reach nearly every soul that resides on this planet.  For example, art, music, and nature and can be found in nearly every culture and region.  By making these elements part of our daily living, we can satisfy our souls in amazing ways.  Beautiful artwork can be found in stores, on-line, or can be created on your own time.  There are a myriad places you can access music for free, and you can even create customized stations on the internet.  If you can’t be in nature on a daily basis, find a pretty stone or leaf flower while you are walking.  Keep these close to you, where you can see them throughout your day.

 

Prayer can connect you to something more than yourself.  It’s a way of expressing gratitude, acknowledging we all need help in our lives, and thinking of others.  It does not matter when you pray or for how long, and you will be amazed at how much better you feel afterwards.

 

You can meditate or just be quiet.  Take five minutes to yourself and listen. Don’t talk or try to think (easier said than done, I know!).  But simply talking a few minutes to be in the moment allows you to relax and separate yourself from the rush of our daily life.  Finally, exercise can draw you out and fill you up. Start paying attention to what connects you to life.

 

How often to feed our souls?  Every day.  Even if we wake up, feeling fine, or we don’t feel like it at the moment.  Just as we make conscious choices to feed our bodies, we choose to feed our souls.  Just as we feel better when we were hungry and enjoyed a good meal, we feel better when we pay attention to and feed our soul.

 

How long should we feed them?  Intentional time for your soul is imperative.  Create a space where you can focus on becoming connected and centered with life.  Start with five minutes and expand it from there.  Don’t try to pray for an hour when the only time that you’ve prayed is before a meal.  Post a favorite poem where you can see it often.  Memorize a quote that moves you and call it to mind often.  Then, it becomes habitual; you can expand the time you have set aside.

 

What will come out of this feeding frenzy?  You will feel more centered and connected to something larger than yourself.  You can be more real while the masks start to fall away.  All of your life problems won’t go away, however it will become easier to take care of the tasks of daily living. You can think clearer and be able to make decisions with more confidence.  Taking care of others will begin to flow naturally instead of being pulled out of you.  The future will look brighter and change becomes possible.

 

Take time to feed your soul. You cannot give what you do not have.  If you don’t take care of yourself, how will you take care of others?  We need you in this world.  Take time to do this and watch what happens.

 

“One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”
-Johann von Goethe

 

“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it.”
-Rabbi Harold Kushner

 

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Posted on 9 April, 2009 in Gratitude, Happiness, Spirituality
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