Even five minutes in silence will nurture and revive your soul and spirit.
We all like to be nurtured by others, but why is it so hard to nurture ourselves? The definition of the word fits evolution perfectly: “to care for and encourage the growth and development of something”. We nurture plants, animals, children, partners/spouses, friends, and even coworkers, but what keeps us from taking care of and encouraging the growth of our inner ally—our soul?
First, most people don’t even acknowledge that their soul exists. We assume the human part of us is all there is. But our inner self is our real self—it houses the wisdom, strength, endurance, and drive to keep us moving forward regardless of our circumstances. Given that our circumstances can create a great deal of distress, exhaustion, and wounding throughout our experience of the human condition, it is essential that we learn to take care of ourselves at a deep level. Self-nurturance is like sustenance for the soul—we need to nourish ourselves (as discussed in the last newsletter) in order to nurture and promote our evolution.
The other main reason that we don’t nurture ourselves is that we are taught that it is selfish to do so. We are trained to put others first, leaving only the last tidbits of care for ourselves—if there’s anything left. Women, in particular, have always been expected to serve others and often wear themselves out in the process.
As mentioned in last month’s article, self-care does not equal restoration. The point to be considered now is that restoration doesn’t equal nurturance. Taking care of the basics—physical activity, good nutrition, basic hygiene, etc. are all necessary but insufficient in actually nurturing your soul’s growth. Soul “hygiene”, then, goes much deeper.
The theme emphasized throughout my book, Soul Health, is that we need to “clean out” what doesn’t fit so we can “fill up” with what will “fertilize” and facilitate our growth. It is nurturing to a plant to clean out dead leaves and other debris, so removing what no longer serves our lives is a nurturing act for our soul. Whether it is an actual material object, an old belief or behavior, a tattered or broken relationship, or anything else that takes more away than it gives, it is important to remove that which no longer feeds us to provide the space for our soul’s expansion and evolution. Then, we have to “fill up” or nourish our lives with life-affirming things, people and activities so we can really thrive.
During the summer, I frequently sit in nature to nurture myself. Luckily, my house is surrounded by trees and wildlife, so I don’t have far to go to get my “fix”. I tend to need and enjoy a lot of time alone, so the solitude of the woods, a drive on country roads, a hike on a trail, or anything else that gets my soul outside does a lot to nurture the deepest part of me. I also reflect and journal more when I give myself time in nature. Nature inspires me to “air out” my mind so I can go deep within. As American naturalist, John Muir stated, “I go into the forest to lose my mind and find my soul.” His words could not be more perfect for how I nurture myself best.
I also seek out other ways to saturate my soul with what I know will nurture me deeply. At the end of every week, I take an aromatherapy Epson salt bath to help release stress from the week to reset me for a more relaxed weekend. I go for long walks or hikes in beautiful surroundings, I sit on my deck just to ponder life and I always play with and love on my pups, which is a mutually nurturing activity. Learning what nurtures your soul is key in knowing what to do to evolve. The intentional act of nurturing your soul goes a long way in guaranteeing your soul’s evolution.
In an article from the Huffington Post, seven suggestions were made for how to nurture yourself:
- Send loving messages to yourself.
- Take good care of yourself (basic needs).
- Do nice things for yourself.
- Set healthy boundaries for yourself.
- Become your own advocate.
- Believe in yourself, and
- Be compassionate to yourself.
Our soul’s health and evolution depend entirely on our willingness to attend to its needs. Our inner ally talks to us all the time, but we often ignore and dismiss the messages it tries to send. But when we tune into our inner voice and listen on a moment-to-moment basis, we are guided down the path of radiant living.
Nurturing your soul is both the greatest gift and the ultimate investment you can make for your health and your evolution.