“Soul is not a thing but a quality or dimension of experiencing life and ourselves. It has to do with depth, value, relatedness, heart and personal substance.”
~ Thomas Moore, author “Care Of the Soul”
What is a person’s soul?
Soul, in religion and philosophy, is the non-material aspect or essence of a human being in which we move and live and have our being. Ancient philosophers located it in the lung or heart. Descartes said it lived in the pineal gland. Others have stated it is in the brain. While I am not a philosopher, I believe it resides in the whole body and is eternal. It is the foundation of who we are.
Looking for a deeper meaning in life
If we look around us, we may see much beauty. On the other hand, we may see a lot of horror. We live in a dualistic world. Sometimes we become weary, just trying to make sense of it all, and it wears on the soul.
Ultimately, our souls would thrive if we took regular time in nature, whether it is having our own little flower or vegetable garden, taking a walk, heading for water – river, pond stream or ocean, or trekking to the woods. My grandfather loved to lean up against his favorite tree to fish, and he was never upset when he came home without any catch. These activities put us in touch with a pleasure and quietness that we rarely get in our busy, everyday lives.
Taking that time gives us the opportunity to check in with our souls to see what is really important to us on a deep, spiritual level. I believe that during these quiet times, those deep spiritual questions are answered, or we make peace with not knowing.
We are not bodies with a soul, but rather souls with temporary bodies. Believing this with all my heart, I do not want to go Home with a raggedy soul, but rather one that is in peace. How about you?
Ways to Care for Your Soul
It takes time and attention to care for our soul. Because it is invisible, we tend to forget its existence. If left alone, it can shrivel. We, and we alone, are responsible for it. Here are five ways to care for your soul:
- Make good choices
Choose who you follow on social media.
Choose whether or not to tune in to the news.
Choose what shows and movies you watch.
Choose the friends with whom you spend time.
- Practice Gratitude.
I’ve said that many times in my notes to you, and I will likely say it again. So, your day was awful. Be grateful you have a pay check, or a loving partner, or a devoted cat or dog or hamster or horse. Be grateful that you have a place to come home to, that bombs haven’t destroyed your city, and that you have enough to eat. Nobody is shooting at you. Be grateful for finding a good parking space. Be grateful when someone lets you into their lane. Be grateful for the pretty sunset or the delightful butterflies. Believe me, there are many things for which we can be grateful. Gratitude has the power to transform our perspective. I say my gratitudes at each meal.
I suspect you read or hear about decluttering often. Maybe you say, “Aw, not today. I’m too tired or busy or whatever.” Decluttering makes space for you to relax and feel comfortable. It allows your brain more room for creativity. It allows your soul to feel cared for. Take it maybe just one drawer at a time.
- Remember to breathe
I like to do my breath work at night when I get into bed. I usually do several rounds to the count of 8 or 9, but you may need to start smaller, say 4 rounds to the count of 3. I breathe in slowly to the count of 8, hold my breath for the count of 8, then exhale for the count of 8, and hold for the count of 8. It’s called circular breathing, and it really helps to clear and relax the brain and body. This simple task oxygenates your blood, too. And it will help you any time of the day or night to de-stress. It may take a bit of practice to stay in a rhythm, but it doesn’t take long.
- Make Time to be Alone
Are you afraid to be alone with your thoughts? Often you will see a person that must go non-stop. For years, I was that person. It is so important to stop and tune in to yourself. I know – easier said than done when you have kids, a demanding job, and a busy partner. But cut out a little niche. Turn off the electronics, except for some soothing music. In my opinion, heading out into nature is ideal, but not always possible. Each day, take a little time to stop and reflect, process, cry, think, dance. For me, it helps to use a journal and record how I feel. If my mind keeps wandering to tasks or problems, I first stop and make a list of what needs handling. Then, I can let that go and work on thoughts, dreams, talking to my ancestors, prayer and meditation. I can hear if there is a nagging little voice that is calling for a course correction. Getting quiet is not a luxury. It is a necessity for your soul to thrive.
A crowded mind leaves no space for a peaceful heart
~ Christine Evangelou from “Beating Hearts and Butterflies”