Soul Nourishing

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what actively feeds my soul and what I do simply out of habit, or because I think I have to, or because I feel like I’ll disappoint someone if I don’t. Maybe that sounds easy, but I’ve been finding it kind of hard to untangle recently, to be honest, especially when it comes to things that I feel like will disappoint people if I don’t do them (or if I do do them).

It’s kind of a mess sometimes, but I’ve been trying to tip the balance toward more soul-nourishing and less doing-out-of-habit-or-self-imposed-and-maybe-not-useful-or-necessary-obligation.

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(biking as the sun rises, for example, feeds my soul. Especially when it looks like this)

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So I’ve been trying to lean on what I know, and what I notice. Running feeds my soul. Crunching all the dry, fallen leaves feeds my soul. So does spending the weekend fully present (and freezing) in Smith Rock with my boss — climbing, running, journal-writing, experience-sharing. Ecstatic dance, a discovery wrought of a sweet friend. Being able (in large part) to set my own schedule. Co-working with good friends, that blend of hanging out and getting shit done. Lighting candles to complement a homemade dinner, especially when that dinner’s made from our CSA, where the veggies have been grown and are now being eaten with respect and love. Working outside with people. Pedaling, pedaling, pedaling on the long way home. Being productive. Spending time with plants and birds. Teaching someone a new skill, or opening someone’s eyes to something they’d never thought of. Discovery. Nurturing.

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(losing myself in the trees)

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What it all comes down to, I think, is being fully present — doing things that are fully absorbing with my full attention, so I don’t have time to wonder if there’s something better I could be doing. In fact, forgetting the whole idea of better and just reveling in what is — what, when you get right down to it, I’ve chosen for that moment. Because I have chosen my moments. Sometimes I get cranky because I feel like I haven’t, but that’s what I’m talking about with self-imposed obligation: Seeing myself as the maker of my own life, not the passive responder to outside circumstances.

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(little fungus discoveries feed my soul too;)

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I don’t think soul nourishing has to be a fully fun kind of thing, or the thing that only comes from extra-curricular play. I’ve been lucky to have a bunch of jobs that have super soul-nourishing aspects, for example, where I’ve actively felt that I’m doing good for the world and my fellow creatures. Or, another example, taking care of hearth and home can feel like a chore (yardwork again?), but is also soul-nourishing when I feel like I’ve tended our garden and caretaken my little part of the world. Or even just the itty-bitty things, like taking time for a luxurious cup of tea with my cozy down blanket over my lap, staring into space and thinking my thoughts. I guess what I mean is that I don’t want soul nourishment only to come from things that happen outside of normal life obligations. I want the choices I make in all parts of life to be as soul-nourishing as possible. Because with my full soul is how I can best be present to the rest of the world, and how I can best give of myself.

So that’s what I’ve been up to recently. Trying to figure out what’s important, and, conversely, what makes me feel empty and hollow. It’s a process, as always, but also as (almost;) always, I’m feeling pretty optimistic about it.

What feeds your soul?

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