To me, a soul is the me-iest, you-iest part of us. Like fingerprints and snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. Part of their magic is that they aren’t meant to be. I think a soul can be filled or emptied. I think a soul can spring vibrantly to life; I think it can also shrivel up and die, requiring resuscitation to come back to life. I’ve seen both happen—I’ve experienced both happening in me. Parker Palmer says that the soul is “resilient” and “tough” but also “shy.” Yes. Following a long, soul-swallowing season, my soul is shyly, finally, reemerging. It is breathing, trusting, and hoping again.
I’m a person of faith. So, to me, the soul is God-given and God-connected. But you don’t have to believe in God to believe you have some kind of soul, some kind of essence of the truest you that you were meant to be, some kind of centered fullness, your kind of unique buoyancy and beauty.
Here, at Plenty, we have a whole lot of things that say “Do more of what makes your soul happy.” It’s not by accident. It’s also not by accident that they don’t say: “Do more of what makes you happy.” (Because, honestly, sometimes what makes me “happy,” in the moment, doesn’t make my soul happy at all. You know, things like eating crap food, worrying all night, or binge watching Breaking Bad.)
These days, I’m really trying to do so much more of what makes my soul happy. So, what makes my soul happy? Honest and deep conversations. Time with those I love. Belly laughs. Reading and writing. Talking and listening. Connecting, cultivating, and creating. Building—friendships, relationships, trust. Growing—in health and in hope. Learning. Traveling. Walking. Wondering. Wandering. Exploring. Discovering. Being surrounded by beauty. Words. Gratitude. Life. Possibilities.
If you haven’t read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic you probably should stop whatever you are doing and read it right now. It's kind of about creativity. It's more about life and souls and living your best least fear-filled life. I highlighted most of the book. The words that I return to, again and again, however, are these:
Your life is short and rare and amazing and miraculous, and you want to do really interesting things and make really interesting things while you’re still here. I know that’s what you want for yourself, because that’s what I want for myself, too.
It’s what we all want.
And you have treasures hidden within you—extraordinary treasures—and so do I, and so does everyone around us. And bringing those treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time anymore to think so small.
Tomorrow, I leave for Mexico. I’ll be traveling with my husband and my “bonus dad.” This is our 5th January going. We go because it’s good for our souls. We go to celebrate my mom’s life—a life that ended too early and too tragically on January 30, 2013. As my “bonus dad” says: “We aren’t promised tomorrow.” We aren’t, and so we don’t have time to think so small. We don’t have time to ignore or abuse our souls. We, I think, have to choose the rare, the amazing, and the miraculous every chance we get. The world will keep spinning, with or without us. May we choose the whole ride.
This week, I choose to do so much more of what will make my soul happy.
What makes your soul happy? Get to it!
(See you on 2/1 when Plenty re-opens. That, too, will make my soul happy. 😊 )