“You have the need and the right to spend part of your life caring for your soul. It is not easy. You have to resist the demands of the work-oriented, often defensive, element in your psyche that measures life only in terms of output – how much you produce – not in terms of the quality of your life experiences. To be a soulful person means to go against all the pervasive, prove-yourself values of our culture and instead treasure what is unique and internal and valuable in yourself and your own personal evolution.”
– Jean Shinoda Bolen
What does it mean to care for your soul?
What does it feel like when you or something touches your soul?
I’ve co-facilitated 2 retreats this year with Lauren Flaherty, my complimentary opposite, and in the dreaming/creation phase we titled the happenings ‘Soften Your Soul’.
From our living experience we add layers to our idea of ‘self’ – the roles we play, the stresses we take on, the fruits of our labour. We don’t necessarily pause amongst all that acquiring to touch base with our soul.
You will find that eventually you have to drop a few layers simply for the fact that they get heavy.
My experience of soul is a heart open state, as raw as that can sometimes be, heartbreak can be soulful. Different to spirit – the most subtle animating essence of us, soul is far more tangible – it’s a felt sense, it’s an emotional response from the body, it helps us to process our experiences as they happen and convert them in to learnings/evolution. It demands we show up and feel it all.
Of course it can be so easy to get busy and crowd out the gentle whispers of the soul.
It’s quite profound to see how transformative just a couple of days away can be for those with the intention of ‘softening their soul’. The environment on retreat certainly lends itself to the process, it’s essential to feel first safe and then supported to drop a few of the aforementioned layers.
It doesn’t have to be as extravagant though, I have a very close friend who often asks me “How’s your heart?” and it shifts me straight into the soul space, it gets real. “Good”, is not enough of an answer, I often find myself describing “soft”, “guarded”, “full”, “light”, “playful”, “heavy”. It’s a sweet check in, it bypasses a generic response.
“Whenever I experience something beautiful, I am with Soul. That moment of inward breath, that pause and awareness of “how beautiful this is” is a prayer of appreciation, a moment of gratitude in which I behold beauty and am one with it.”
– Jean Shinoda Bolen
I know I’m engaging in something soulfully when I feel lit up, and may I add that being angry can be soulful – as long as it’s expressed in a compassionate way.
I know this WE MUST MAKE TIME TO PAUSE, it’s becoming my life’s work to slow others down, for their benefit and those around them. When we take time to care for our soul we get potent with our gifts, we more effectively and gracefully interact with our world and those in it.