The Ponder Effect | How do we nourish the soul?
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How do we nourish the soul?

At this very minute, a group of women is gathered on a farm in Middle Tennessee to explore this question and bring our experience into the coming week, month, year… I hope you will join us in this live-giving endeavor.

As I ponder this question, I am reminded of a quote that I love. In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf informs her audience, One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. She is referring to food, and she is right of course. Eating well is the foundation for physical, emotional and mental health. But I am now thinking about her statement as it applies to the soul. Are our souls “dining well”? What nourishment do they need, and are we being intentional about giving it to them? How do we nourish the soul, our own and ours collectively?

Share your thoughts [All posts are 100% anonymous]

8 Ponderings
  • Anonymous

    September 9, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Getting enough sleep is something I didn’t value until the second half of my life. There was a time when I thought pushing myself and going without sleep was the thing to do. I’ve since learned that the lack of sleep is related a huge proportion of illnesses and accidents.

    Sleep nourishes my soul and helps me cope better. It’s an important part of self care.

  • Anonymous

    September 10, 2018 at 7:56 am

    A long walk in the woods on a sunny day, or barefoot on the beach, does more to nourish my soul than almost anything else. Time in the natural world has become increasingly important to me. There are also moments when a beautiful piece of music, a poem, a moving story can unexpectedly stir deep feelings of joy or wonder. And of course, a relaxed conversation with an old friend about what matters most to us at a particular time in our lives can completely turn my day around. So knowing this, why don’t I make at least one of these an intentional part of every day?

  • Anonymous

    September 10, 2018 at 9:18 am

    Through prayer. Seeing, receiving or giving kindness. Through art and music. Listening to the rhythm of ocean waves and the soft ripple of a creek. Stopping to let myself sink into the beauty of moonlight. Noticing sunlight through the trees on a clear day. Rocking a baby. Sitting alone in a sacred place. Being still.

  • Anonymous

    September 12, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    At Mangata on Sunday, we contemplated our own unique “soul threads” –those things that have nourished our soul as children and that continue to do so now as adults. Our collective list looks something like this:
    NATURE
    READING
    SOLITUDE
    FOOD
    EATING TOGETHER
    MAKING
    COLOR
    MUSIC
    MOVEMENT
    TOUCH
    WATER
    ANIMALS
    FAMILY
    LAUGHTER
    FRIENDS
    QUIET
    CHURCH
    TREES
    RITUALS
    FIRES
    CREATING
    DANCE
    PLAY
    SMELLS
    CONVERSATION
    Are we prioritizing (some of) these things on a daily basis?

  • Anonymous

    September 13, 2018 at 6:20 am

    A mindful ritual with my kids. Normally our day is a race to the finish line. Often I’m tempted to keep my calming rituals to myself. When I can slow down long enough to incorporate a moment of peace along with them, or include them in one of my own practices, it is meaningful to them (for now). Knowing they value these acts creates a memory. Smelling the oils and incense from Mangata was a nice addition.

  • Anonymous

    September 13, 2018 at 10:26 am

    I agree with the two above. Sleep and walking in the woods. There are other things like prayer and reading. But what are the key elements that lie beneath any life-giving activity? Intentionality? Mindfulness? Deliberateness?

    I find that when I wake up and hit the ground running I am almost always exasperated before I have even arrived at work. But when I wake up early, carve out an extra 30 minutes of time to sit and be/ sit and read/ sit and pray then that makes all the difference. Why doesn’t “peacefulness” just fall into my lap every day when I need it and instead I find myself constantly roiled in stress and anxiety? That’s because peacefulness is an offensive strategy that we must fight for in our lives to preserve and sustain ourselves. What does it take for me, personally, to carve out the time? Deliberate, mindful, intentional planning. That’s a start…

  • Anonymous

    September 14, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    I believe the soul is truly nourished only when we allow God to intervene. By nature we are self destructive. We eat,drink,exercise, work, and strive ourselves to unhealthy states when left to our own efforts and lack of self control. Many do this to distract oneself from feeling empty or soul sick.
    The nourished soul is not focused on its own health but lives in a way that is other’s focused. This is fully described by Paul in his Letter to the Philippians. The same concept is universally accredited by even non Christians.
    I believe God gives us freedom from our own tendencies when we embrace his spirit and power to move through the distractions and live in an open handed way, witnessing and participating in what God is doing around us. As we see God’s presence, his transforming hand, turning ugly into beauty, we can see our own souls nourished we are satisfied, thrilled with the journey of life- despite the darkness around us.
    Our nourishment is the result of obedient, selfless living. Hannah Smith wrote of this years ago 1875 “the Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life”

  • Anonymous

    September 15, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    This question was helpful for me to just stop and think: how is my soul? I think about my physical health, mental health and even my emotions but I forget that there is something deeper and more me: my soul. How do I nourish it? There are two things that come to mind: being proactive to protect it, and finding thoughts, actions, experiences where it can shine. I think nourishing the soul rarely looks like productivity. It could look indulgent, it could be a selfless act for another, it could be a good book, or a phenomenal meal. It could be a sweet word to you or from you to another. Whatever it is, I think it’s always good.