Remember, the old adage about how important it is to “eat three square meals a day?” While I’ve never quite figured out what a square meal is, I do know that the main point is that, if we want to stay physically healthy, we need to feed our bodies a healthy diet on a regular basis.
Pop quiz time. (Don’t worry, it’s an easy question to answer.) On average, how many times a day do you eat?
Your answer goes here:
Now, if you’re like most people, you probably answered somewhere between 2 – 4 times per day. In other words, we all know that we need to eat on a regular basis to keep our bodies fed and fit.
But how about your soul — your spirit — your ‘beingness?’ Are you regularly taking time to feed it or do you have your soul on a starvation diet?
We all have heard about the ‘body-mind-spirit’ triad and how all three of these aspects of ourselves are interconnected — a bit like the 3 legs of a stool. In just the same way, if one of those ‘legs’ is getting the short end of the stick in the area of nurturing and nourishing, then you’re going to end up out of balance — may be a little, maybe a lot.
Now I’m going to make a bold assertion so hang on (and keep reading) —
“Many people in our Western Culture are significantly out of kilter when it comes to the degree to which they nourish and nurture their soul/spirit/being.”
Now, granted my viewpoint may be a bit slanted. After all, a lot of my work is with people who are either overwhelmed, overworked, burned out and/or who have lost their sense of purpose and meaning. So, granted I’m likely to see more than my share of emaciated souls.
The Cost of a Starved Spirit
I have a long term client who has also become a friend over the 15-plus years we’ve known each other. We recently resumed a coaching relationship in part because of the challenge of dealing with some health issues with a family member, coupled with a severe dry spell in his business.
Though he’d been one of the most successful real estate brokers in his region for the past several years, he’d been experiencing a dry spell like never before. He was trapped in a vicious cycle of worry — worry about his family member’s health issues, which adversely affected his effectiveness at work, which led to more worry about his work slump.
All of which led to his feeling like he needed to work even longer hours to make up for the lost revenue, thus escalating the downward spiral.
Meanwhile, his soul/spirit/being was starving for nourishment.
Why Vacations Often Don’t Restore the Soul
Unfortunately, many people, when they are feeling a bit frazzled about their life, use a strategy that can make matters worse — they take a vacation.
How many times have you heard someone returning from their vacation comment that they now need a vacation to recover from their vacation because, once again, they tried to cram too many activities into their time off? And, as if that’s not bad enough, they often then return to a massive amount of work that was put on hold pending their return. Urgh.
No wonder we Americans take the fewest vacation days of any group in the world. So what does work?
Creating a Balanced Diet for Your Soul
After discerning that my friend/client’s soul was starving for some nourishment, I asked him what he felt would be a balanced diet that could revive his spirit. Here’s the list we created:
1- Sharing compassion and love with others
2- Times of quiet serenity (without feeling guilty about not being at work)
3. Quiet time to read, write, and exercise (mostly alone)
4. Time for some adventure and exploration (parts of his true life purpose that had been being ignored) 5. Time with the family for traveling.
The Good News — The Turnaround is in Process
While my client’s spirit isn’t fully rested and restored yet, there has been steady progress. He informed me during a recent coaching session that he’s closed on his first sale in quite a while with others pending. And interestingly, the family member with the health crisis is beginning to improve as well.