The Harm We Do to Ourselves – Listening to Our Souls
This past weekend I had a meltdown. Perhaps it was the prednisone I was taking for an ear infection. More likely, it was a part of my SOUL communicating a deep truth. The truth was about all the ways in which I have ignored the deep longings of my Soul, ignored the truth of my Soul and ignored the voice of my Soul, in favor of what society says we “should” be doing. The meltdown was unique to me and my own unique temperament and gifts, while being deeply reflective of the harm we have done to ourselves by putting on what is not authentically ours.
For me, the harm arises out of all the ways in which I have denied the feminine within me in favor of the masculine. At some point in my journey, I came to (falsely) believe the feminine to be weak, powerless, frivolous and silly and put on the qualities of the masculine – assertive, self-sufficient, independent, aloof, active, striving after achievement, success (as it is defined by Western culture), and doing so by driving and striving. I was the pain in the ass Type-A overachiever, straight A, National Honor society snob who was hell bent on making my own way in the world and becoming rich and famous doing so.
While there is nothing wrong with being achievement oriented and striving after success, for me, it has been a journey that has proved fruitless and has cost me my health and my Soul. The past two weeks on the couch have shown me that – and the meltdown this weekend showed me why. This pattern has shown up over and over and over in my life – every time I’m burning the candle on both ends and through the middle, I CRASH. In high school it was mono and strep throat that got me down. In my adult years, a chronic illness coming out of remission. Now….a viral ear infection with vertigo that has left me couch bound for the past two weeks. After fifty years of the same repeating pattern, I think I got it. I got the how, now to repair the why.
Repairing the why begins with listening DEEPLY to my Soul. What does my Soul really want? How do I really want to operate in the world? What does my Soul need to feel nurtured, supported and fulfilled? For me, it starts with asking questions about what has proven harmful to my Soul:
- Thinking I can and should be able to do it by myself. (THIS IS A BIGGIE!)
- Believing success is defined by money, fame, reputation, power.
- Listening to so-called experts about how success is obtained and trying to follow them even when their ways feel counter-intuitive to me.
- Judging myself and my decision by societal “shoulds” (ie: debt is bad, public speaking and networking are the roads to success, you are valued by how hard and how much you work, if you work hard you will be rewarded, if you think the right thoughts you will get what you want.).
- Comparing myself to others in my field.
After sorting out what is NOT life-giving and nurturing to my Soul, I ask my Soul what it really needs from me. Her answers were not surprising in the least because at the deepest part of who I am….this is what I long for:
My Soul, more than anything in the world, wants to be nurtured and cared for…..so she can be the source of nurturing and support for others I am called to be. My Soul feels nurtured when I:
- Feed my body through healthy, beautiful, nourishing foods I enjoy.
- Move my body gently through yoga, dance, walking, stretching.
- Take regular time for meditation, prayer, self-reflection.
- Write – simply for the sake of writing, especially when it is creative.
- Read – for enjoyment and for learning.
- Create a home that is beautiful to me and feels like a sanctuary for myself and my loved ones.
- Take time with those I love.
- Spend time with dear friends.
- Take time for creating.
- Spend time in the woods.
- Take time to enjoy the arts.
- Honor my introvert with alone-time and with activities that feel supportive of an introverted personality.
- Enjoy ease in the allowing – taking a wait and watch attitude and trusting that what I need to support myself, my well-being and my Soul’s longing and purpose will show itself when I am quiet enough to perceive its arrival.
- Exercise the unique gifts I have been given to share with the world – and sharing them.
As I sat in deep listening to the call of my Soul, I also heard her speak about the true role of the Sacred Feminine and along with this an invitation to allow more of this into my life:
The Sacred Feminine
- Creates and tends to the nest.
- She nurtures, supports and guides, often by example, those under her care.
- She cares for those in her care when they need caring for.
- She watches for the readiness of those in her care to go out into the world on their own and she sends them forth with encouragement, support and empowerment.
- She sees, hears and feels deeply – often seeing what needs to be seen in another before they can see it themselves. She sees the promise in another and supports them in becoming that.
- The work of the feminine is sacred and holy and is honored by the Holy Masculine who protects her and provides for her so she can do her great work.
- The sacred feminine surrenders into the arms of this support.
And more than all of this my Soul has one fervent plea, “I’m tired of seeking….I want to be found.”
How have you taken time to listen deeply to the needs of your Soul?
How might you be ignoring the voice of your Soul in favor of what society says you “should” be doing?
How have you been doing harm to yourself in ignoring the voice of your Soul?
What does your Soul really need and want from you?