Healthy Ways to Feed the Starving Soul

by Belinda Munoz on September 8, 2010

capsicum

Have you ever had hunger pangs?

It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  You’re rushing around and the lunch counter is about to close.  All that’s left in the display case are a wilted green salad with mystery protein, a hard boiled egg half-cracked, and a tuna salad sandwich browning at the pinched edges.

Slim pickings like these leave even the least discriminating appetite cold.

But you’re starved and about to pass out.  That stomach is staging a gurgling revolution.  You haven’t got the luxury of weighing the pros and cons of salmonella poisoning.

So what do you do?  You reach for the least scary looking thing, scarf it, and, sadly, end up with food poisoning.

The soul reacts to hunger in similar ways.  It longs for sustenance that Rachel Ray can’t whip up in fifteen minutes.  If we keep the soul starving for too long, it becomes desperate for nourishment and ends up feeding on junk that could very well have toxic effects.

How do we prevent our souls from reaching high levels of toxicity?  How can we make sure our souls don’t starve?

  1. Do what brings you joy. Love baking?  Make a healthy treat and give some to your neighbors.  Dying to see the latest artsy film that has all the critics a-twitter?  Don’t wait another second.  Just go!  Follow your bliss.
  2. Forget pragmatism every once in a while. Allow yourself to not be so damn useful all the time.  Loaf around.  Appreciate art, beauty or anything else that doesn’t appear to have practical value.
  3. Rev up your right brain and get creative. Get your head out of left-brain mode (oh, we do overuse it sometimes, don’t we?).  Do things with your less dominant hand.  Express yourself without words.  Make holiday gifts from recycled objects.  Remind yourself that worrying doesn’t solve anything and, in many ways, is optional.  If your mind simply can’t let go of a particular problem, indulge in brainstorming creative solutions.  Explore even those options that you normally wouldn’t consider.  See where they lead.
  4. Laugh. Loud and often.  Call up a funny friend and let yourself double over with gratuitous giggles.  Turn to comedians on TV or on the internet.  Don’t take yourself so seriously.
  5. Take time for silence. If you’re not the meditating type (or the eat, pray, love type), fret not.  Sit in a cafe or under a tree.  Sip some store-bought or homemade sencha tea and watch people.  Or stare into space and daydream.
  6. Listen to soul-stirring music. Beethoven?  John Tavener?  Arvo Part?  Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace album?  Whatever it is, put it on and do nothing other than let your senses come alive.
  7. Give of yourself. If the usual ways (donating, volunteering, lending money through Kiva, etc.) leave you uninspired, think of something  that works for you.  If you love animals, perhaps you could visit an animal shelter and ooh and ahh for a few minutes at the kitties and puppies without a home.  I’d say enthusiastic energy and loving admiration are forms of giving of yourself.
  8. Compliment yourself. Make a list of good things about your personality, your talents, your looks, your outlook on life.  Don’t negate them.  Instead, own them without playing small or false modesty.  (If you can’t come up with anything, seek professional help.)
  9. Feed your body with healthy foods. Good nutrition is a big part of feeding and detoxifying your soul.
  10. Just be. Is there something on your mind?  Acknowledge that it’s there, simmering.  Is your heart a bit heavy over something?  Let your heart feel it.  Whatever it may be that’s weighing on you, let it be and suspend judgment on yourself.

As we take the time to feed our souls, may we never forget that there are one in six people in this ever-shrinking world whose bodies are in desperate need of nourishment.

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  • Whatcha got cookin’ in your soul kitchen?
  • Got any good recipes for a slammin’ soul?

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Image by alancleaver_2000

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meg - Minimalist Woman September 8, 2010 at 5:48 am

Lovely post, one after my own heart. These days I can’t do much in the way of the things that I really love to do (painting and gardening) but take what I can from several moments of “just being” every day, and a half-hour of reading before bed. Then there is gratitude for a chance to earn a living doing work I can both enjoy and physically sustain, so I think that makes it easier to take those several moments of “just being.”

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2 Belinda Munoz September 8, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Thank you, Meg. These types of posts beg to be written when my so-called equilibrium takes a beating, which, funnily enough, happens right around when the season changes.

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3 TheKitchenWitch September 8, 2010 at 7:45 am

I really do need to listen to music more. It’s amazing what it can do for my mood. A nice walk around the block works sometimes, too.

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4 Jenny Ann Fraser September 8, 2010 at 8:02 am

I love to “Wonder Around”. I go for long walks in my neighborhood. Fortunately, I’m blessed to live where there is a lot of nature. Nothing sooths me like connecting with the natural world.

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5 Belinda Munoz September 8, 2010 at 8:10 pm

I’m dying to see some of your photographs of fall foliage in your ‘hood! Soon?

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6 rob white September 8, 2010 at 8:37 am

Great point, Belinda. Just as important as healthy diet of good food it is important to establish a mental diet that has us feeling enthusiastic about life. I’m health food nut myself… but all the organic food in the world can’t help me if I don’t mentally eat right. Physical rigor is a consequence of thoughtful vigor.

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7 Christine LaRocque September 8, 2010 at 10:48 am

How did you know I needed this post? 🙂 I would add unplug to the list…I think this one is a biggee for me. My husband says being plugged in steals from my emotional stability. I think he may be right.

And oh how I long for the silence…as you know!

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8 Belinda Munoz September 8, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Maybe because I really needed it, too! My soul, like a bit**y chatterbox, can’t be ignored when it’s feeling off-kilter.

Ah yes, unplug. Your husband’s smart. I’m pretty good about unplugging having mostly phased out facebook in my life. And frankly, I’m still learning to use twitter after a year of being on it!

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9 The Exception September 8, 2010 at 11:56 am

For me it is good salads – long walks with birds, little moments with the cats, and laughter… oh books are wonders too… and time to write a few lines… and I too would like to make more time for music as it does make a difference.

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10 Justine September 8, 2010 at 12:52 pm

I’ve spent far less time in the kitchen than I used to before the little one, and I have to say, I really miss the prepping, creating, and just being by myself in the kitchen, doing what I love best – cooking and feeding my family. I really should start getting back into it and Fall is a great time of year for that as I busy myself with stews and baked fruit pies or crisps and have our house turned into a home just with the aromas. Mmm…

Thank you for this. It’s the kick in the butt I needed to whip out my Kitchen Aid that’s been gathering dust.

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11 Belinda Munoz September 8, 2010 at 8:19 pm

I have been feeling guilty myself about not cooking for the boys as often as I’d like. Mmmm, stews and pies — thanks for the excellent ideas. They really do turn a house into a home.

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12 ayo September 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm

hello belinda,
how are you?
thanks for sharing this
music is something that feeds my soul. i also listen to inspirational talks and not forgetting playing so much with my little boy lol!!!!!
take care and enjoy the rest of the day

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13 Belinda Munoz September 8, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Playing with my boy — definitely! It’s like an energy injection every time! Take care, my friend.

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14 Rudri September 8, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Music in my car with the windows down is a way I like to unwind. Good suggestions Belinda and the silence part is a work in progress for me. I need to unplug as well. One thing at a time – I guess?

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15 Nadia Ballas-Ruta ~ Happy Lotus Lifestyles September 9, 2010 at 9:36 am

Hi Belinda,

I love how you approached this topic…you are one creative woman!

What I do to keep my soul going is to love, laugh, create and just enjoy life. If you want the piece of cake, just eat the piece of cake. What I have come to observe is the importance of listening to your body…it gives us clues and just follow the clues.

One of my favorite ways to just nourish my soul is to head to the beach. The blue/green water is heavenly. As is going out for espresso with my man and talking about all kinds of stuff. Laughing rocks too!

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16 Eva @ Eva Evolving September 9, 2010 at 11:19 am

My goodness, Belinda. Every one of these speaks to me. Simply amazing – I think I needed this today.

“Forget pragmatism every once in a while.” Yes! Indeed, I am too darn practical most of the time. But, oh it feels great to do something just because it sounds like fun. To eat dessert, to splurge on something special with my husband, to sleep in, to spend the afternoon reading. Oh, I’m inspired already!

“Don’t take yourself so seriously.” It’s like you know me sometimes. I’m wired to be serious, to be adult, to be the worrier all the time. But I just love letting loose with old episodes of “America’s Funniest Home Videos”!! And you’re right, sometimes worrying is pointless. Just let it go.

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17 rebecca @ altaredspaces September 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm

My newest snack for the belly: dates and tamari almonds. Sounds so natural and good for me, I know, but it also satisfies the snackerdoodle that wants the sweet and salty as well.

My latest love for the soul? I’ve fallen in love with my camera. This is a huge surprise for me. Never one to imagine myself a photographer I always reserved the camera to capture kiddo memories. But as my mommy days are numbered I find that camera around my neck and I’m noticing light beckoning to me to come out and play.

And I do.

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18 Davina September 9, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Beautiful post, Belinda.

Loved the analogy you used. Awesome! Nature and laughter and writing feeds my soul. And… chips and dip in a pinch 😉

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19 Tess The Bold Life September 10, 2010 at 9:20 am

This is so cool. I’m behind in reading because I’ve been sick for 10 days. Feeling behind yet I refused to even try to keep up on my blogging. Instead I took good care of myself and today my first week back I find I’m full of new and creative ideas. I can’t say I’ve felt this refreshed in my writing in quite a while maybe never in the two years I’ve blogged. I’m doing a similar post and will link back here to it. The more I spend time here the more I think of you as a soul sister. That’s what’s cookin in my kitchen…(good think cuz I don’t like to cook:)

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20 Katie September 10, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Belinda, lovely metaphor. I’ve done that whole desperately seeking something edible routine at many an airport. Try being a vegetarian. White lettuce anyone? As I travel through life I feed my soul by eating well, running, writing and surrounding myself with things I love. Wonderful post as always.

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21 Lance September 11, 2010 at 11:47 am

Belinda,
I love the comparison of food for our body to “food” for our soul.

And your list just really touches upon so much of what we can each do to “feed” that part of us…to nourish us deep within. I think that sometimes this feels like it’s not productive (…and as such…I/we can tend to avoid it). The thing is…it is so, so productive…and so, so good…

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22 Steve September 11, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Absolutely great article about the doing the important things to get your soul in “order”

It is so easy to live day to day eating the fast food of the soul, this makes it really important to take the steps to pause and ensure that you are giving yourself the proper nourishment for your spirit as well as your body.

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23 Molly@Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce September 12, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I love the way that you led into this topic. It really made me think about how much attention we give our physical hunger, yet our spiritual hunger often goes unnoticed.

This Friday I ended up in our local park for a chalk art festival and there was a group of hula hoopers with hoops for people to join in. My son encouraged me to try and soon we were all gyrating away. It reminded me how important spontaneity is. And trying new things. Both feed my soul and leave me feeling excited about life.

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