The old testament book of Ecclesiastes has given me “food” for thought. The author writes, all of man’s labor is to satisfy the mouth but still our soul remains unfilled. To me, this is a reminder that no matter how much food I put in my body I am starving my soul. And I depend on my soul for the best of life.
I think I know what tastes good. You probably do too. I know I love chocolates and potato chips. But now I know that if I only put food in my body I’m going to end up with a different kind of food poisoning. This kind of food poisoning results in depression and anxiety. And even though I might feel full, I go to bed with an overall sense of emptiness. Then my sense of self-esteem spoils, launching another cycle of eating chips and chocolates, and chocolate covered potato chips if I can find them.
What’s the connection between the food we put in our bodies and “soul food”? There is one!
I think we eat food that makes us feel alive like CRUNCHY apples and COLORFUL vegetables. Even WARM apple pie makes me feel comforted because it’s warm. When engage all our senses we feel alive. The same is true for when we feed our souls. When we experience the world with all our senses and really see it, hear it, and feel it, we’re going to wake up our happy healthy souls.
I can almost hear your question, “How exactly do I feed my soul?” Well I’m going to suggest some experiences to feed your soul and give it what it craves.
When I am hungry my stomach rumbles. So does my soul. It wants me to pay attention, to hear it, and ask, “What do you need? What are you craving?” The point is we have to taste the world with more than our taste buds. Try these experiences. (Just like trying new foods to see what you like, you’re going to have to try a few things to see what your soul likes.) Maybe go to the national parks or just the park in your own neighborhood, and really see it. Or, park under a starry starry night and gaze at the heavens. If you sing Amazing Grace soak in the music. I satisfy my soul when I see puppies, when I hear babies laughing, when I catch the gaze of a deer in my backyard, and if I’m lucky enough to see dolphins jumping in the Caribbean turquoise ocean. I fill up on unconditional love from my best friend’s friendship and when my husband holds hands with me.
You’re going to notice a difference. You’re REALLY going to notice a difference when you feed your soul. That tightness in your chest is going to begin to relax. Soon you may like your job more. You might like your family more! That daily commute won’t be so grueling, not just the one to work but the one through life. Feed your soul.
So this holiday season when you sit down at the table, really see your friends. Really notice them. Hear a lot of laughter. Breathe in the Spirit of your faith. Ask your soul, “Are you getting what you crave?” Because when it does, I promise, you will have happy – happier – holidays.
Another thought. You may even lose a little weight when you exchange table food for soul food. Life is better with an explosion of sensations. Given our preferences for connecting through texting, Instagram, FB, and Twitter, our sensory connections are dwindling. And something always goes wrong with “autocorrect”! We need better for life.