I recently went to see Bruce Springsteen in concert, and was struck by the level of joy he creates with his band and his audience. At the same time as loving the concert, I was reflecting on how rare it is to simply enjoy yourself: to sing, laugh, dance, and take pleasure in simple things.
We have been taught through the consumer culture to search for our delight through more, bigger, better, instead of listening to our hearts, which say simple, natural, shared.
This may sound idealistic, not of the real world. After all, how often can we go to concerts, or just dance? It’s not our everyday. Well, it can be: look at the sunshine, the flowers in the gardens. Listen to that lovely happy song on the radio as you drive into work. Taste that special cheese you decided to treat yourself to in your weekly shop. Smell your child’s head – how sweet! Feel the grass with your bare feet first thing in the morning. None of these are expensive or rare – and they all feed our souls.
And why do we do it – feed our souls? Because it is essential to our health and well-being. It causes our brains to release those hormones which keep us well, and help us to thrive. Consequently, when my soul is fed, I am a more pleasant person to be around, I notice and appreciate the more positive aspects of my life, and I feel able to handle what the world throws at me. What is more, I don’t need the compensation of ‘stuff’ to try to fill the void.
If shopping did it for us, wouldn’t everyone in town look happy? If gadgets did it for us, wouldn’t everyone using their technology send positive messages?
We all have a sense of what feeds our soul: if your heart warms or sings at the thought of it, you know that works for you. That is what is worth investing in, spending time on.
This month, take a little time every day to feed your soul, and keep yourself well. The world is full of soul food, if we care to look for it – you don’t need to go and see Springsteen – although I would recommend it!!