Dear Beautiful Souls,
Each of us, no matter what our path, faces challenges in life. It’s easy to feel alone in our difficulties, but in truth they are universal to the human experience. At some point, we will grieve the loss of a loved one, a home, or an important relationship that has ended. Many of us make our way privately through the darkness of anxiety or depression. And we all feel daily dissatisfactions of one kind or another.
In our quest for happiness and well-being, we may approach these challenges as if they are distinct problems that we can solve by ourselves if we just discover the right strategy or remedy, make the right change, or improve ourselves in some way. But these are not separate issues defined by their specifics; they are all the outcomes of a single underlying process: disconnection from Source and our own soul.
Struggle is not the problem; indeed, challenges and even chaos can strengthen us, just as a tree on a windy hillside develops a stronger trunk. The real problem is in forgetting your roots and distancing yourself from your true self. When we feel we are at the mercy of life, without control or influence, we can become fearful or hopeless. When we reconnect with the soul, we gain access to a deep well of strength and a profound source of guidance.
Challenges such as loss, anxiety, or dissatisfaction can be an opportunity to create a new reality, but only if we understand them fully. Yet the clamor of daily life can make it difficult to hear the voice of the soul. Our habits and everyday routines can blind us to new possibilities. There is tremendous value in taking a thoughtful break to reconnect with the soul and investigate what really matters to us. This kind of pause can reinvigorate us, and it may even dissipate some of our struggles.
Connecting with the soul requires us to attend to its three primary needs. First, the soul longs to find and connect to the Divine. Second, the soul seeks its own distinct ways of being in the world – states such as love, joy, freedom, compassion, truth, beauty, serenity, peace, and trust. Each soul comes with a signature blend of these states, and the soul seeks ways to express this uniqueness. And finally, the soul yearns to find ways of expressing its beauty in the world. Every soul comes with a figurative fingerprint, a blend of God-given gifts and talents. Ways of expression might include finding the courage to speak your truth about a certain situation, or creating a peaceful and loving home.
We take the first step in meeting the soul’s needs by creating practices to nurture ourselves at every level: physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual. The first four levels of self-care are relatively familiar to most of us; we’ve all heard about the importance of nourishing the body with authentic food and loving or building a strong network of friends and family. But many of us neglect to care for ourselves spiritually by cultivating the daily practices that nourish the soul.
Stepping back from daily life to attend to the needs of the soul is not a matter of escape. Indeed, you cannot fix your life by abandoning it in search of something better. The reality you live and breathe right now – in the midst of your troubles and suffering or your joy and happiness – is your spiritual path. It is the reconnection with the soul, not a disconnection from daily life, that transforms us.
When we set the right intentions and choose our focus carefully, even a short retreat can give us an entirely new perspective on life. It’s an opportunity to gather yourself and realign with your own soul. It’s about listening in with the intention to make a real change. You can take this retreat on your own or with a trusted facilitator. Either approach can be effective, as long as it begins with a genuine desire to connect to the universal truths and open up to new ways of looking at reality.
So I invite you to shift your perspective on your challenges, and take a holistic approach to health and well-being – one that begins with pausing to attend to the needs of your soul. When we do this, life flows more smoothly, and we expand into our natural state of joy.
Action item: Set aside an afternoon or a weekend to explore the needs of your soul. Bring to mind a challenge you are facing. How does the problem shift when you think of as a symptom of disconnection from your soul? What steps could you take to nourish yourself and care for your soul? Share your experience in the comments below.
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