It’s been two years since I started writing my first novel, and, as you can imagine, after two years of sitting by myself, in front of a computer screen, for hours on end, I’ve managed to learn a thing or two about myself.
Now, you may not realize it, but writing a novel is like taking a masters course in patience, resilience, and most importantly, self-love. Part of that self-love is the consistent nurturing of one’s soul throughout the whole process. Without this nurturing, I have found, your work and your life tend to suffer.
What is The Soul?
The soul is your energy force. It’s that thing we notice when someone enters a room. You know how people say that there are some individuals who walk through the door and just “light up the room”? The “light” we notice these people possessing is their energy force. It is their “inner light bulb” that constantly reflects how fulfilled, energetic, and happy they really are. That “light” is the light of their soul.
I have found that when we take the effort to nurture our souls, our work comes out effortlessly. We enjoy the process more. Our life, too, takes on a vibrant, colorful quality. Everything seems to pulse with light.
Here are just 7 ways we can nurture our souls on a daily basis:
The more you meditate, the more you’ll realize that most of your day-to-day problems—like finding new ideas, de-stressing, or figuring out how to the answer to a current dilemma—can all be solved with a simple meditation practice.
So, start by taking 15-30 minutes out of your day today to pay attention to your breathing. Then, take careful notice of the world around you. Finally, feel your soul light up with appreciation.
If others try to motivate us to exercise, they’ll often tell us we should do it because it’ll make us look physically better or it’ll extend our lifespan by several years.
But these common motivations for exercise almost always make us fail after the first try.
Because this is what happens: after one jog, we look in the mirror and see no proof of our looking physically better. Then, we begin to wonder why we would ever want to extend our life if we’re spending a good portion of that life doing something we hate—like running.
So, I’ve found that the best way to get yourself to exercise regularly is not to make the purpose of exercising some future, physical reward, but the enlivening of your soul.
Make a decision to exercise because it makes you feel good not because it’ll make you look good.
These days, I’m able to keep up my exercise routine because I use it to de-stress, wind-down, and get out all my negative energy. Every time I finish jogging, I can see immediate results that fulfill my purpose—and that, in turn, motivates me to keep my exercise routine going.
3. Validate your own experience
Before we rush to judgment about how we’ve failed to measure up to expectations, we should validate what we’re going through first.
The best way to do this is to imagine your situation being faced by a friend or family member who you really care about. How would you react if what was happening to you wasn’t happening to you, but to that person you really cared about? Wouldn’t you want to validate this person’s struggles first instead of rushing to judgment?
If you feel yourself not meeting up to expectations, treat yourself the way you would treat a loved one who needs your support. Be your biggest cheerleader by validating your experience first, before rushing to judgment.
4. “Integrate” the challenges you face
If your attempt to “overcome” a challenge isn’t working, maybe you can try asking yourself: “How can this challenge be integrated into my life?”
Integrated, your challenge may be able to teach your soul how to become stronger, more resilient, or more patient. Integrated, your challenge may be able to teach your soul how to be more calm and resolute in a storm. Integrated, your challenge can help you move forward, instead of forcing you into a never-ending battle for perfection you can never win.
5. Accept yourself as whole now
Realize that becoming a better “self” is not the problem–the “self” is the problem. Because The Self is never satisfied and will always see you as lacking and inadequate in some form or another.
There will be always be a better “you” you can be. So, instead, accept yourself as a whole person now, and seek to recognize this complete self as often as possible.
6. Start a practice of “least-resistance”
Much “soul energy” is wasted in trying to build up resistance to people, situations, or things we don’t want to experience. But this wasted energy could be better utilized elsewhere.
I recommend you start with a practice of least-resistance when you encounter unfavorable things, people, or circumstances. Quickly accept the reality of their existence, and then look to see how you can adapt, or work with, the undesirable force.
7. Start with what moves you the most
I’ve noticed that I struggle the most when I ignore the whisper of my soul and, instead, listen to my cold, logical mind. My cold, logical mind often leads me down a colorless, methodical path that makes me feel lost, restless, and confused.
But if I simply ask myself:
“What moves me the most right now?”
My soul always whispers the answer. And when I go down the path of my soul, I always come out the other end surprised, happy, and exhilarated by what I find there.
The Benefit of Nurturing Your Soul
I recommend that you give your soul the attention it deserves, if only so that it may lead you to a place your cold, logical mind cannot take you to: a more fulfilling life.
What are ways in which you nurture your soul on a daily basis? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Ollin Morales is a writer. His blog, Courage 2 Create, chronicles his journey as he writes his first novel. His blog offers writing advice as well as strategies to deal with life’s tough challenges. His blog was named one of The Top Ten Blogs for Writers by WriteToDone two years in a row (2011, 2012) and has been featured on The Huffington Post and Colorlines.com