I recently bought a new little book.
What’s new, right?
But it’s way more than just a little book– it’s a journal too! And it’s lent-specific. Things to think about every day for 40 days. Kind of excited!
The title of the book is “40 Soul-Stretching Conversations” and every day for the forty days of lent, there’s a little bit of space to write, and two little things to think about– one quotation from someone awesome (e.g. Teresa of Avila) and a reflection on the topic by Joan Chittister (the awesome-est).
So let’s chat about these things, shall we? For 40 days! 40 nights!
Hopefully it’ll be more pleasant than wandering in the desert 😉
So today, conversation numero uno:
“The things of the soul must always be considered as plentiful, spacious and large.” –Teresa of Avila
“But what are the ‘things of the soul’? Surely they are every breath we breathe, every word we hear, every thought we think. The things of the soul have been too long compartmentalized. And so we got religion but not spirituality. We got church but not God. We got the sacred but no the sacredness of the secular. Or better yet, the revelation that there is nothing ‘secular’ at all.” –Joan Chittister
And in reading that very first page… I knew that this was absolutely the book for me. It so eloquently says things that have been swirling and twirling around in my head for a long time now.
Simply put: merely going through the motions cannot feed your soul.
Granted, the entire notion of something “feeding the soul” was completely foreign to me until two short years ago when a woman I met at a conference in Milwaukee asked me about the church I go to– she said, “yes, but are you being spiritually fed?”
I was kind of taken aback at first. How do you answer something like that? How do I know if I’m being spiritually fed?
So I stopped thinking and I answered with my gut.
No, I was not being spiritually fed.
But was that my church’s fault?
It was mine. I wasn’t even looking for food for the soul.
I had church without God. I had religion without spirituality. I had a compartmentalized soul that was so well compartmentalized that it rarely saw the light of day. And not just in the realm of religion/spirituality/the other-worldy-in-other-ways. In everything. What fed my soul just wasn’t a consideration.
My soul, though, has been released from it’s compartment as of late. And dang. That this is hoooooong-ry! Nom nom nom…
Turns out, lots and lots of things can feed my soul. Before that nice, yet rather blunt, lady I had never even thought about it. Now I think about it all the time.
Because I think if I look for the common denominator in all these soul foods, of the metaphorical variety, of course, I think intention is really where it’s at.
My intention changes the way I approach everything, even secular things, and turns them into activities that feed my soul.
When my intention is to build relationships and be the best communicator that I can be, work feeds my soul.
When my intention is to move my body and feel my muscles work, exercise feeds my soul.
When my intention is to spend time preparing good food for myself and my family, cooking feeds my soul.
Anything can feed my soul… if I choose to let it. If I choose to approach it with good intentions, a positive attitude, a sense of optimism, an eye out for the silver lining.
A little soul for everything and everything for my soul.
Nom nom nom…