Soul-keeping (Pt. 3 in Self-care series)

We are continuing on our journey towards a more HOPE-full life by learning to take care of ourselves as triune beings made of body, soul and spirit. And while we are focusing intently on this right now, self-care isn’t meant to be an all consuming idea of self-centered obsession just an awareness of our choices and how they can effect our lives. We CARE for ourselves so that we can offer the best version of ourselves to our loved ones, our co-workers and the world around us. I picture my soul like a garden that I have to protect and tend.

“The soul is NOT “a theological and abstract subject.” The soul is the coolest, eeriest, most mysterious, evocative, crucial, sacred, eternal, life-directing, fragile, indestructible, controversial, expensive dimension of your existence. Jesus said it’s worth more than the world.”-John Ortberg, Soulkeeping.

So with that thought in mind let’s unpack the acronym C.A.R.E.

C.A.R.E. for The Soul

C-create s safe space for your soul to grow. Avoid negativity, insults, sarcasm whether from yourself or others. Our journey in this life is one of discovery.

You are your first line of defense against the tumult and chaos of this life. You were given this unique soul to cherish, nurture, and honor;  and while there is much in this life we cannot control, there is much that we can and must.

Avoid negativity in yourself and others:

throw out that negative thought immediately-don’t give it time to take root.

Avoid gossip,

sarcasm,

bitter speech as much as possible.

Don’t stick your head in the sand or run away screaming but be your own filter for what is allowed to stay and develop in your soul space.

Avoid the vampires and dump trucks who want to suck every ounce of positive life out of your soul or dump all of their crap on you.

There were people like that in my life, that I had to let go.  I just couldn’t do it any more. I still love them, pray for them and occasionally spend small amounts of time with them  (I am not a totally cold-hearted person) but I choose to filter and limit my exposure to their soul crushing drama. I discovered that they really didn’t want my help or advice. They just wanted to suck or dump.

If you can’t get away (work or home) find ways to cope like imagining that what they say is sliding off of you and not penetrating because you are covered in protective oil or after they are done dumping or leave, picture yourself under a shower or waterfall and wash off the crap that they just dumped on you.

Above all else, guard your heart/soul (mind, will, emotions), for everything you do flows from it.-King Solomon (1000-931 BC) The Book of Proverbs 4:23

A-allow yourself to be vulnerable to love and goodness. Don’t let hurt and fear build a wall.

I just told you to protect yourself NOW I’m telling you to be vulnerable? Yes. Protect yourself from negativity, life-drainers and other soul-crushing influences but seek out and be open to kindness, joy, encouraging words. Practice random acts of kindness. The act of creating positivity and goodness helps to soften our hearts against hardness and fear.

R-reach out to others and work to build a support group/community.

Doing life alone may feel safer but it is a much smaller way to live. We, as human beings, were meant to be in community. We have families, friends, and communities that can help us to live much bigger, stronger, healthier lives–recovering addicts know this fact well. Choose wisely and carefully those who are brought into your circle. Make it a priority and a part of being more intentional. It may take some time and some missteps but once you find your tribe life becomes a much more joyful journey.

E-enjoy even the smallest treasures/moments. Learn to savor.

Research  has shown that learning to savor has amazing effects on those recovering from PTSD. While I am not diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I have weathered some trauma–as we all have. Here’s how it works: pick something:

like that first sip of coffee,

a hot shower,

sip of a cold beer,

the look of a fresh cut lawn,

the color of your favorite lipstick, etc.

and take a few moments to savor it…then…

tell someone  (this is where your tribe comes in handy). This process of savoring and sharing has be shown to stimulate the negative pathways in your brain, created by trauma and overuse, into building more positive highways. Simple but effective.

You are the keeper of your soul. And, like gardening, our souls need cultivated, weeded and nurtured.

Truth is, we get one soul, one body and one spirit so let’s tend to them as if our very lives depended on it. And when it comes to your soul remember to C.A.R.E.

Heidi Mull, gardener, dreamer, and soulkeeper.

 

 

 

 

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