Monday, September 16, 2013

Solace For Your Soul



Solace for your soul
For deep wellbeing we need to put as much attention into feeding the soul as we do into a nutritious diet, exercise, and positive belief systems. Discover how your inner fitness can affect your outer health. Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, writes: “When soul is neglected, it doesn’t just go away. It appears symptomatically in obsessions, addictions, violence, and loss of meaning.” An attempt to treat these symptoms without looking to the root cause is simply a waste of time. What we need to do is renew our interest in the soul and to restore its wisdom in our lives. Spiritual good health relies on regular soulwork, and the commitment to conversation with the Divine in one form or another.
The soul yearns to appreciate both the light and the shadow, and to face both fears and challenges with courage and hope. It asks us to be:
* Willing: Clinging tenaciously to rigid patterns of behaviour that no longer serve us makes us empty. Willingness to change, on the other hand, enriches our soul.
* Open: “We are taught to love the light, the surface of things, daytime, summer, fun and talk, but they are only half of our human condition,” writes Caroline Jones in An Authentic Life. “They are incomplete without the twinning of darkness, roots, night, winter, suffering, and silence.”
* Patient: Rushing and tripping over each other to reach goals, get somewhere fast, satisfy greed just result in us tripping and falling. The soul teaches us to listen, slow down, and wait humbly for life to unfold.
* Satisfied: There is a danger that we are becoming consumers and target markets, rather than citizens with souls. We can learn to live with fewer things in our lives, if we can learn to slow down and still ourselves. We have got to be more than genuinely happy with less – something which is entirely possible.
1. See the sacred
Begin to look around and value the sacredness you see. Introduce more symbolism into your life, to nourish your senses. Consider how to introduce more soul into your life: photographs of family and friends, a collection of seashells, candles, a much-loved teapot, fresh flowers in a pretty vase. All of these ‘ordinary’ things are symbols: of friendship, love, sustenance, and the cycle of life. In valuing and reflecting on them, you bring your attention to the simple things that nourish your soul in a special way.
2. Honour life’s complexity
Edgy, irritable and female? It must be PMT. Sad because your kids have left home? You’re just an empty nester. Busy all the time? You’re a NETTEL (Not Enough Time To Enjoy Life). Thanks to copywriters and faceless marketing managers, much of life’s experience is becoming reduced to buzzwords, acronyms, and catchphrases.To bring your consciousness to the full range of human emotion and experience, you need to avoid shallow talk that skims the surface and leaves you feeling empty. Instead, turn to writers and activities that provide you with soul nourishment, wisdom, inspiration, and deeper, fuller understanding. The German poet Johann Schiller wrote, “Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales of my childhood than the truths taught in adult life.” Pull out those old children’s books – C.S. Lewis’ Tales of Narnia remain my favourite. Such stories reach places deep within, connecting you to far greater realities than we usually live out in our days.
3. Treat yourself to a retreat
We need to withdraw sometimes. This doesn’t mean retreating altogether, just ways to value the place of soul in daily life. For example, you could walk more, rather than drive; write in a journal rather than watch pretend lives on TV; put more effort into home-cooked meals rather than eating out. When you do take a holiday, consider going somewhere where you can have quiet time for reflection and solitude. The noise and insistent busyness of some holiday destinations are hardly conducive to soul health. It may seem strange at first to be in the midst of non-activity, but given some space, fresh air and inspirational reading, your soul will benefit enormously from simply being removed from the world for a while.



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