As a young man, I was fascinated with the kitchen. I loved to watch my mom make bread. She had the larges mixing tub I have ever seen. Each month, she would go through the routine of bread making. There had to have been at least 24 loaves and just as many cinnamon buns. I loved it. Coming home from school and smelling the freshly baked bread to this day takes me right back to those years.
In the early years, it was more cost-effective to produce and create as much from scratch as you could. With the family farm just down the road, we had livestock, chickens and pigs that fed three families not to mention the fields of wheat and oats that sustained the family farm.
These are some of the things that nurture our souls. Not just the memories. It is the lessons we learned growing up. The evidence of our parent's hard work showing up at the dinner table or cold room. We nurture our souls through participating and paying attention to what is happening around us. It is what I mean when I say, “take purposeful action.”
When we nurture our soul we improve the quality of our lives. When we don’t we are starving ourselves of connection, abundance living and living a full life. It’s time to do things differently otherwise we continue to carry a negative vibe. A tell-tale sign that you’re soul is being starved is gauging how much you complain and are being a dick to others. Soul starvation makes you bitter, needy, angry and resentful. It is even possible that you feel lonely because friends inadvertently shy away from you.
Stop waiting and start living.
We tend not to think about our soul because it’s quiet. And because it is quiet our busy mind rushes us through the day forgetting to stop and absorb what is around us. Listen, I am the worst for just pushing through things. Just to get them done. Instead, taking the time to appreciate the moment. When I can stop myself long enough to do that. Well, then life transforms.
What about eating? Do you ravish your food not taking any time to taste and enjoy the textures? Yep, that’s me.
Thinking of the mind, are you stuck reliving past events, especially the painful ones? Check that one down as well.
And finally, is your focus on what’s happening “out there?” Darn, I’ve got that one too.
How to Nurture Your Soul
Thankfully, these are just temporary inconveniences that can be overcome, here’s how.
Eckhart Tolle in his best-selling book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose says: The ‘waiting to start living’ syndrome is one of the most common delusions of the unconscious state. Expansion and positive change on the outer level are much more able to come into your life if you can enjoy what you are doing already, instead of waiting for some change so that you start enjoying what you do.
Nurturing the soul can take many forms so here are a few for you to consider. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means just something to get you kick-started.
Take walks in nature and notice everything. Walk at half the pace you normally do. This challenges us to see what is around us instead of making it a blur. The way to understanding our experiences comes through the senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.
When you eat food, be mindful of the memories it brings up for you. As I started this article the memories of my mom’s homemade bread still comes back to me every time I smell fresh-baked bread. Just notice what emotions come up in you and honour them whatever they may be.
Notice the smells as you walk into your home. Look intently at the people who share your table at home or at work. See them, notice what is in their eyes, what kind of day they are having, what stories lie beneath the surface in their faces. You’ll be amazed at the connection you’ll find there.
Listen to music. It can calm you down or energize you. It can resonate with your mood, remind you of hope and help you to move from one mood to another.
Meditate and be silent. The gift of silence can be life for the thirsty soul. There is quite of bit of sound in silence, like wind, clocks ticking, and breath that we can begin to hear if we slow down to listen. The wisdom traditions and contemporary neurosciences agree on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices for our health and well-being.
Have a strong community. Good community happens when we share our table. Our souls were created to be shared. We share ourselves with those we trust. We nurture our souls when we can share our thoughts without fear of judgement, our feelings without fear of dishonour, and our love without fear of rejection. The integration of our hearts, minds, spirits and relationships is directly impacted by the community.
While some of the strategies can be done in solitude, our soul-nurturing strategies are not complete without connection, interaction and meeting. We meet and are met, we give and receive, we love and are loved. Everything I do impacts those around me and the world in which I move and have my being. Just as everything around me impacts me as well.
Ultimately, do what lifts your heart, arouses your curiosity and gives you a sense of wonder. Do these while being in the moment. That is the ember to stirring your soul to speak louder. So, looks like the only thing left to do is to put it into practice. That’s how we nurture our soul.