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Feeding Our Souls During Difficult Times

Peppers Picked From The Garden On Sunday


My sister’s Facebook profile this morning read, “wishing I was at home in bed with a cup of tea and a good book. I guess it’s just that kind of day.”

While doing some research this morning, I realized that going to community meetings in my neighborhood really feeds my soul. It makes me realize I’m not alone, that others care, and that together a group of people can make a difference.

And come to think of it, a lot of other things feed my soul, too. Laughing and enjoying a good home-cooked meal with my husband. Hanging out on the couch with Raisin (the cat) curled on my lap and Ellis (the dog) asleep by my side. Smelling garden-fresh peppers roasting beneath the broiler. Hugging an old friend and catching up with each others’ lives. Walking through our neighborhood, smiling at neighbors and taking in the scents of fall. Reading comments at One Green Generation, and thinking about how wonderful all you people are out there, and thinking about the good things you’re doing, too.

These are just a few of the things that feed my soul during difficult times. It is tough to watch or read the news, and to worry about our finances, and to fear the state of the climate and the resources we are depleting and the people and creatures who suffer. But I encourage you to push on, to do as much as you can to put positive good into the world, and also to allow yourself time to feed your own soul.

An American Psychological Association poll released today found that 80% of Americans are feeling stress, anger, and/or fatigue because of personal finances and the state of the economy. More than half said they lie awake at night. Almost half said they have been eating badly.

Remember as you go about your day that others may be more stressed or irritable than normal. Take care of yourself and your family. Eat well. Shop sustainably. Save money. And make sure you actively seek out ways to de-stress and unwind. Nurture yourself and those around you.

What Feeds Your Soul?

Please feel free to share here. And then… go do it!

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15 comments to Feeding Our Souls During Difficult Times

  • Settling in with a good book, the dogs and the cat, and something hot to drink; knitting, spending time with friends and family, thought provoking conversations, cooking, working in the garden, a hot bath (these are really a treat now), music and walking. If things are really bad, sitting on the beach watching the water, the birds, whatever is going on around and listening to the waves or watching the moon and stars.

  • Going to knitting club and hanging out with other people who just want to hang out — which I did tonight. Also sometimes just knitting. Drinking tea. At home I watch my favorite movies with my family. Hugging my cats. I miss them so badly.

    Talking to people that inspire me and make me laugh through IM and e-mail. Keeping in touch with dearest friends. Reading blogs I feel comfortable with. Take walks. Begin exercising, more than just a PE class twice a week (I took up jogging the other three days of the week, of all things).

    I think here what helps me best are walks. Long walks to contemplate while the weather is still moderate. They are lonely walks sometimes though.

  • LOL reading this blog feeds my soul. That and a good meal out, playing with my kitty, Sammy, feeding the dogs- they are so grateful! Wrapping up in a blanket with fresh hot sumatra coffee(fair trade of course) and a book or watching the boob tube. oh and meeting a friend for coffee.

  • Singing, praying, going outside with my camera and looking for interesting things to photograph, riding my bike around the neighborhood. Just the routine stuff.

  • SusanB

    Music (playing it, listening to it live, listening to it recorded, thinking about it, remembering it) — I just went to an absolutely fantastic blues concert, Shemekia Copeland and Taj Mahal, nothing like the blues in times like these. And we followed that up the next day with a Weimar cabaret evening at the Art Museum, also an appropriate genre. I especially like live music outside for free that I can walk to, but it’s not quite the right time of year for that around here.

    Swimming in the diving range when no one is diving or swimming in the lap lanes while the men’s diving team is practicing or again, just remembering same while I swim in less inspiring venues.

    Laughing with my partner

    Watching our backyard wildlife

    Reading a good book

    A good cup of coffee

    Eating a homecooked dinner on our deck

  • Daydreaming is one thing . . . That adorable chick in hands and your post yesterday let me muse about my chicken raising dreams. I spent a couple of hours reading from the linked sites. I later visited with neighbors about chickens. This was done in a purely fanciful way, just letting the idea percolate. It is different than making a plan with steps and calculations. It is reveling in possibilities. I am trying it on for size, rehearsing.

    Another thing to feed my soul is to listen, read or watch something I value and trust for a second, third or fourth time. There is so much information out there, and I find it comforting to let myself slow down and turn over information several times to really absorb it. I did this with a wonderful 4 part series done by the BBC called “The Century of the Self.” It is available on Google Video and well worth watching. (The first couple of minutes are choppy, but it settles down.) It helps me understand how we as people have be ‘handled’ and manipulated in the past 100 years.

    Like community, knowledge and understanding helps me feel I am not alone.

  • Tom

    My morning bike ride is often sweet to the soul.

    I enjoy discovering sweet potatoes underneath the dirt. (I also like to cut them up into french fries, add olive oil and pepper, and eat them).

    Sipping a glass of wine and listening to my wife is often a great remedy for my sometimes misaligned perspective.

    Laughing around the table with my now grown kids is medicinal.

    Other things that relieve stress are marvelling at a huge oak tree, discovering a blackberry patch, woodworking, and reading a good book.

  • This is such a great post! I do try to treat myself with a few minutes of peace or a good cup of tea. A much less expensive luxury than shopping or getting a manicure, etc. It’s not a stress reliever if it makes you stress about money.

  • My little kayak. In the middle of the reservoir, surrounded by coots and geese and grebes, as the fog lifts.

  • I had dinner tonight with my dearest friend and I told her about your post and we talked about what feeds us. It was a wonderful conversation. One thing that feeds me is preparing food for my friends and family. And not just food but real food, with story and character that I’ve bought from real people, prepared simply but with appreciation. The time in the kitchen and around the table with people I love is the best. Thanks for inspiring our conversation.

  • becky

    a week or so ago my daughter’s friend had a birthday. so i pulled out a fall table cloth, placemats and napkins. Some yellow and red flowers were snipped from the garden and placed in a pottery vase in the center. The dinner was simple enough= thai vegetable curry, salad and cake. The food was delicious, the conversation pickled with laughter and the time at the table with family and new friend (far from his own family) soul comforting. so, yeah, that’s one thing. there are so many others tho. just the regular everday variety- walking to the store for groceries and having a pleasant chat with a passerby on the way, or sitting in the garden in the late afternoon light with my husband, butterflies flitting by, two dogs rolling and wrestling with each other at our feet. And if i get really bogged down in anxiety there’s nothing like baking a pie, or a fresh loaf of bread or the dazzling creation of a homemade pizza decorated with all the colors of whatever’s fresh in the vegetable bin. There’s something therapeutic about handling that dough, pressing it with a rolling pin or kneading it or stretching and pinching it at the edge of the pizza pan- it just totally wisks away the worries for me and then much more relaxed we all enjoy eating the result! i guess what i mean is- any little activity, task or moment when i am truly IN the moment, when the gratitude comes flooding back in. that does it for me. it’s a well that is ever full, a wealth of endless supply…there always, if i just remember to train my eye, hand and mind to bend toward it!

  • A cup of tea and a good book does wonders for me as well! Other things that feed my soul include digging in the dirt, stacking wood with my husband, tending the fire in the woodstove, listening to Loreena McKennit while baking bread, wow – lots of things! Thanks for the reminder to feed our souls, and to be grateful for all the things/people/ideas that do that :)

  • Wow. My confession is that just as I wanted to help you all remember to feed your souls, I also secretly wanted to feed my soul with all the wonderful tidbits you share here… : ) Thank you. Please continue to share…

    Deb G, Just reading your peaceful thoughts makes me relax…

    Stephanie, “They are lonely walks sometimes though.” I feel that sometimes lonely walks are good for the soul, with the space and fresh air to contemplate, evaluate, resuscitate. But you can always invite a new friend along. That can be a nice thing, too.

    It sounds like you are adjusting pretty well to your new environment. Keep feeding that beautiful soul of yours. ; )

    Rob, You’re very kind – thank you for that. Your words made me smile.

    Joyce, “Just the routine stuff.” : ) I’m glad it’s routine – I love it.

    SusanB, Mmmm, I saw Taj Mahal for my birthday a few years ago. I had a WONDERFUL time. He’s such a great person! Thank you.

    Katecontinued, That chick is precious… makes me want to have a chicken family right now. Ah well, I live vicariously for the time being. “reveling in possibilities” I love that phrase. When I have a bit of time I will check out the video – it sounds wonderful. Thank you.

    Tom, Your thoughts made me smile. All of those things sound wonderful!

    Allie, Indeed – I hadn’t even thought about it, but all of these things people have mentioned here are free or nearly so. Nourishing the soul is more about talking, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and lavishing the senses to relax…. Thank you for pointing that out.

    Risa B, I can picture it beautifully.

    Katrina, : ) Thank you. Thank you for telling me that!!

    Becky, “the conversation pickled with laughter” beautiful words. “any little activity, task or moment when i am truly IN the moment, when the gratitude comes flooding back in. that does it for me. it’s a well that is ever full, a wealth of endless supply…there always, if i just remember to train my eye, hand and mind to bend toward it!” Beautiful.

    Theresa, You’re welcome!

    Thank you all so much. I hope the words you wrote, and the words you’ve read here brought a wide smile to your lips, and a sense of peace as they did for me.

    Please, continue to leave thoughts here!

  • [...] Thanks.  I hope you’re able to de-stress and unwind a bit this weekend.  Don’t forget to feed your souls, and those around you! [...]

  • Jo

    I know you wrote this post ages ago, but I just found it. I love this kind of thing and often think about it, so I couldn’t resist adding a comment.
    Singing with my choir, sneaking off to the produce market, in the early morning for fruit, vegies and breakfast with my husband while the lazy teenagers stay in bed. Also knitting, baking, cooking something that fills the house with good smells (especially using vegies from the garden) and my favourite – sending my kids to the garden to pick vegetables and herbs for dinner. They think they are doing a chore, but I just love to watch them through the kitchen window as they sniff the basil and examine the corn…and sneak a strawberry.

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