Are you Starving Your Soul?
I had the fortune of being adopted by the Hemminger family, first coming to them via the foster care system as a baby. My parents, Elma and Julius Hemminger, were kind, fun, and very big-hearted people. They were also very wise.
I am not a Christian. I used to, however, marvel at my Mom, Elma’s tremendous faith in who she called God. Her faith and prayers filled her soul. There was no question about it.
Whenever Elma felt sad or fearful, she prayed. She prayed when she worried about one of her children. She prayed when she worried about finances. She prayed because the very act of doing so nourished her.
Elma totally and thoroughly believed that God was listening to her. She also believed that God loved her and every other person on our planet because “God didn’t make no junk.”
On Sundays, Elma went to church, and later on in life, when she was less mobile, she watched church programs on the television.
Everything about Elma’s faith was of huge importance to her until the day she died.
The kind of Christianity Elma believed in didn’t seem to follow any particular sort of rule book. She simply “knew” that there was a God, and that he was in charge and that he loved us and forgave us for everything.
During Elma’s last months and weeks on this planet, she was content and looking forward to her upcoming journey. She had zero fear about dying. She had no question as to where she was going next. She said, “I am going back to God’s house and I am going to be with your Dad again (my Dad passing many years before).”
Throughout her lifetime, Elma did many other things that filled her soul. She loved raising children. She enjoyed watching her soap operas.She loved big family dinners. She loved playing cards and dice (she loved it even more when she won). She loved to laugh.
Elma did not learn how to read until she was 70 years old. Once she learned to read, she read pretty much every “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book she could get her hands on.
Although not well-educated, Elma was a profoundly wise person. Throughout her lifetime, she made the things that nourished and fed her soul her priority. She did those things every day.
I compare this to my own choices in life and those of so many of my colleagues.
I am referring to those depressingly tedious and “soul-sucking” activities.
Here is the big problem. Many of us spend way too much time in those “soul-sucking” activities and not enough in the activities that nourish us.
For divorce lawyers, it might be acting for toxic clients, doing trial work, or doing legal research. For everyone, their soul-sucking and soulful activities are different.
Also, have you considered delegating the stuff that drains you?!
Just because something drains all of the energy out of your being (a strong hint that you should not be doing it) does not mean that it is the same energy drain for someone else. For example, I work with a guy who LOVES doing legal research. I can’t stand doing it. So, guess who gets the legal research projects in my practice?!
Because we work in the family law industry, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of doing the things that matter to us uniquely, things that nourish us.
For you, what are your soul-filling activities?
Have you structured your life so you can do those activities every day?
For me, walking in the woods nourishes me completely. I have a theory. No matter what my day is like, if I go for a walk in nature, my whole day (and my experience of that day) improves. I have tested this theory hundreds and even thousands of times. To date, my theory has ALWAYS been correct.
I had to rearrange my life and schedule to fit in this one thing that matters to me so very much.
What nourishes your soul?
Here are some things that nourish mine:
Hiking in nature (duh, of COURSE I said that);
Watching ridiculous funny movies;
Reading great books (currently hooked on David Sedaris yet again);
Listening to audiobooks (I listen to them all the time when driving, walking, doing dishes, you name it);
Snowboarding (even though I am slow, oh so very slow)
Making great soup;
Taking road trips;
Sharing with my daughter stories about my childhood;
Writing articles like this one; and
Cuddling with my not so cuddly terrier, named Inu.
We are all different. What nourishes my soul may not nourish yours.
Take a piece of wisdom from Elma and the way she lived on this planet.
Do what nourishes you. Do at least one thing that nourishes you every single day. Nourish your soul now (not one day after you retire, or only on the weekends, or after you have worked a very long day and you are tired . . . you get the idea).
In this Episode: