Bonnie Carroll: Feeding Your Soul – June 30, 2010
While at the Grand Kinetic Championship on Memorial Day weekend, I couldn’t help but ponder all the positive effects that the art, exercise, and camaraderie were having on all the participant and even most of the observers. I was left thinking about what feeds the soul. What do we do in life to create positive energy that builds us up and helps us feel good (or at least better) in life?
I remember a time my own not so distant past when I felt like all I did was work. As a single mom, home owner, and pet keeper who worked full time, it began to seem like all I did was take care of other people and other things. I had very little time or energy for my own self care activities. Life began to feel like something I had to get through rather than a journey I was enjoying. Then I made some changes and am now trying to do as many things that feed my soul as I can. I make sure I set aside time for hanging out with friends, gardening, walking on the beach with my dogs, listening to NPR, reading and listening to stories, appreciating art, and doing creative things. Eating a healthy diet not only feeds my soul but helps to give me the energy I need to do all the rest.
What do you do to feed your soul?
I asked some of my friends what they do to feed their souls and have received myriad answers. Many people reported reading and gardening among their other soul feeding activities. Some of the other activities included: going to meetings, cooking & baking, sitting in a shady area, spending time with their family, snuggling their children and grandchildren, cuddling with their partner, hanging out with their friends, playing games, traveling, doing art, making and listening to music, hot baths, meditating on everything that is good, just, kind, and lovely in life, shopping (especially for shoes: cute, strappy ones), spending time with their horses and/or their dogs, being out in the natural environment, hiking, skiing, kayaking, looking for agates, and having a good cup of coffee. One friend even said that she was about to go sailing for a week in the Virgin Islands, but of course we can’t afford that kind of feast for the soul too often (if at all). As another friend so eloquently put it, he does what he loves to feed his soul.
Doing things simply because you enjoy them helps balance out all the energy you put into the things you do because you have to. So make sure your life is a journey that you are enjoying and not just something you are trying to get through. Make a list of the things that feed your soul and try to do at least one of them every day.
I know that some people are feeling too overwhelmed with the struggles of life to find the energy they need to do what they love, and others may not even know how to feed their soul and bring more contentment into their life. If you are one of the many who are feeling a little lost, you may want to consider seeing a therapist in our community to understand yourself and work on incorporating better choices that will bring more pleasure into your own journey.
The North Coast Association of Mental Health Providers has a fairly comprehensive list of local therapists. Visit its website at ncamhp.org to search for a therapist that will be a good fit for you.
If you have any questions about dilemmas in your own life, feel free to contact me and I’ll try to share my thoughts about them.
Bonnie Carroll is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a counseling practice in McKinleyville. Contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.