Maria A. Mansfield
How’s Your Soul?
We often forget we are a body, mind, and spirit intricately interconnected to live life in balance. Most prioritize their physical health and keep it the best they know. They may be aware of their overall mental wellness too. We have these two down. -But what about our soul? You may not even think of your soul too much. What would it look like if we could see or scan it? Would it look alive, healthy, vibrant, or maybe distressed, thirsty, and weary?
I’m often surprised that our soul, the innermost part of our being, from where our thoughts and feelings derive, can sometimes be overlooked. Maybe we don’t prioritize the soul in our fast-paced cultures anymore. So how do we take care of something we are not too in touch with? I think awareness of our soul is an excellent place to start. What does your soul mean to you? And what would self-care for your soul look like to you?
I’m sure things like worry, stress, anxiety, sadness, and anger, among others, affect us more than we think. I believe burnout occurs at a soul level before any physical symptoms show. C.S. Lewis once wrote: “You don’t have a soul; YOU ARE A SOUL. You have a body.” At first, this quote seemed backward, but it has since been so profound to me.
Our minds can become overwhelmed thinking of all that concerns us and how we overthink everything -it’s almost exhausting. Stress, anxiety, worry, regret, and guilt can tax our souls. Just as our body can become weak without the proper rest and nourishment, so can our soul. We feel our emotions so intensely that they can only come from the soul. We might feel so much joy it seems it’s going to burst out of our bodies. Maybe that’s our soul rejoicing. Other times, our hearts are saddened and so distressed we say: ”my heart sunk” perhaps it’s our soul that feels heavily laden. -So how can we do “soul care”?
I’m sure everyone might do this differently. Spiritually comes in many forms, all of them just as valid. Connecting with my faith in God and in myself, knowing we’re all part of something bigger than our life, is an inspiration to me. Understanding we’re given our life as a gift, to give back in love to our Creator and others. This thought makes me mindful of how I can best use the time I have left by using my experiences and gifts to help others as a Life Coach.
We might know ourselves enough to find ways that help us feel better at a soul level. But only some things might be satisfying. Sometimes our souls are thirsty and weary. Maybe we’re longing for meaning, for finding our “Why,” or a new start in life. As the Psalmist mentions: “As the deer thirsts for water, so my soul thirsts for God.” Maybe the chronic exhaustion that lingers in our body could be at a soul level. Connecting with ourselves, God, or our Higher Power can be life-giving and vital to living well.
Sometimes the things that help keep our soul healthy are the ones we can remember to practice, like letting go of what happened -forgiving those who hurt us as a gift we give ourselves. Trying to move forward with our life -being grateful for the ones we love and who love us back. Being mindful of how our experiences shaped us into who we are today. Saying I’m sorry. Being patient with ourselves and others. Being kind and peaceful can sometimes calm the storm in us and in others. Being human -doing life every day at our best. Knowing deep down that every day is a gift, one we can never get back.
The rush of the holidays will be here before we know it! If we can find time to rest our tired souls, what a different experience that could be. What meaningful times we could spend with our loved ones! How much easier it could be to feel excited about our life -of who we are and what we do. We may have more hope and energy to achieve our dreams and goals. How much easier it would be to keep the promises we made to ourselves.
Maybe the next time someone asks us how we’re doing, we can check in with our soul first. After all, we owe it to ourselves. Our soul is our very essence, that part of us that will never die.
All my best and Happy Fall!
Maria A. Mansfield
Author & Certified Life Coach