There are 749,404 restaurants in the United States and with that comes an astounding variety of foods available to us. There are also countless types of diets that anyone can choose from. Our dietary choices are often affected by ethical and religious beliefs, medical needs, or a desire to control weight.
From a young age we learn, and over time better understand that our physical growth and health require that we provide our bodies with proper nutrition. We need a regular intake of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
However, not all diets are considered healthy. Some people follow unhealthy diets through habit, rather than a conscious choice to eat unhealthy. If we deny our physical bodies these necessary nutrients over a period of time, we will be deficient in our nutrition and our bodies will be starved of the essential nutrients. The symptoms of malnutrition and starvation include problems such as weakness, mental confusion, memory loss, decreased defense against infection, and even a decreased ability to absorb nutrients.
Imagine yourself at a feast. What kind of food would be there? Would it be what we sometimes call “junk food,” or would it be nutritious food carefully prepared? Or a combination? Would you sample a few items and then hurry away? Or would you stay for a while and feast, which suggests that we partake slowly and deliberately, enjoying the quality and variety of good food until we are filled?
In our fast-paced lives, we sometimes get going so fast we don’t always remember that we have options that will nourish and sustain us, not just feed us empty calories. Sometimes, we get too busy to focus on our physical health, until our health starts to suffer and reminds us that we need to pay attention to nourishing our body.
As much as having a variety of food is important to nourishing our bodies, so too our souls need nourishment. Things that help to nourish and strengthen our souls include:
safe places where we can apply our creative gifts,
opportunities to build utilizing our minds and bodies,
taking time and opportunities to serve others, and
surrounding ourselves with people of similar motivation and practice.
These are actions that nourish our souls and help us retain focus and meaning to our daily lives and interactions with others. When we take time to feed our soul we will have so much more to give and what we give will be more meaningful.
An example of this is Carol. She was busy raising 3 little boys, two with several health concerns. She would work tirelessly to make sure they had the food that their bodies would tolerate. They had severe allergies and medical conditions that required a special diet and medications to be taken when they ate food. As you can imagine, fixing a meal was a big process. After she made sure they had all that they needed, she would quickly grab something else to eat and move on to the next activity. Because of the complexity of the health concerns her boys had, she found very little time to take care of herself.
Several years later she found herself tired, depressed and weighing more than she would like. She began to realize that if she wasn’t eating the food her body needed and if she didn’t take time to connect with friends and family or do some of her hobbies, she was left feeling empty.
She began to evaluate and talk to her doctor to get her body, heart, and soul back in sync. It did not come quickly, but as she began to eat what her body needed and started exercising, she found she had more time for other people and hobbies she enjoyed. This also had a positive impact on her boys. They learned that they too could keep going with hard things as they watched someone else do hard things and share their experience.
When we find ourselves in a similar situation, there are things we can do to nourish our soul and bring deeper contentment.
Music. Music has been described as “love drawn from a higher plane and distilled for human ears.” It is important to listen to the kind of music to which our souls respond to. It is different for every one of us and can change from day to day, but it is one way that wakes up something inside of us. Music also has the ability to create negative feelings inside of us, we should be sure to listen to music that leaves us feeling inspired, better, or more positive.
Creativity. Creative expression of any sort is another way to nourish the soul. Drawing, writing, painting, building something, singing, along with many other creative activities, help us disconnect from clock time and flow into a state of calm known as soul time, where time flies and contentment is present.
Listening to others. Truly listening to what another person is saying to us without interrupting is one of the greatest gifts we can give to another. Sometimes a response is wanted, but more times than not, we just want to be heard. That is healing to the soul. Being able to truly listen to another also helps bring healing to our own soul.
Sense of humor. It is important to laugh at something every day. It releases stress and lightens our mind and opens our heart to possibilities.
Meditation and Prayer. This quiet time to welcome inner peace and gratitude will unclutter the negativity and help us become a human “being” instead of a human “doing.” Taking this time to recenter will bring energy and understanding to many things we can do to improve our circumstances.
Gratitude. Learning to live in the present, not distracted by what is past or yet to come will open our heart to receive more and enjoy what we have. When we focus on what we have, we soon find that what we don’t have, we don’t necessarily need.
At Believe we know that taking time to nourish our body and soul by taking responsibility for our own thoughts, words and actions, will bring great things and the impact will be unmeasurable. We would love for you to join us!