What do you care about most? If those things, activities, or people that are important to you are not in your life regularly, you’ll find it challenging to feel happy. And if you aren’t happy, you aren’t living a life that feeds your soul.
My mother was enormously unhappy for the last eight years of her life. The onset of Parkinson’s Disease post-hip replacement slowly but surely made it impossible for her to do what she loved and cared about most. For instance, she could no longer garden, walk her dog, feed the birds, or care for her lovely lake-front property.
These activities fed her soul. Indeed, the things that make us happiest and are most important to us are soul-inspired actions and interests. Our soul directs us to them. Thus, when my mother could no longer do the things she cared about most, she became unable to feed her soul.
Time to Feed Your Soul
A life that feeds your soul is filled with what you care about, enjoy, and find fulfilling. Without those activities, your life becomes boring, distasteful, and empty.
Assuming that you have the physical ability to do things that feed your soul, answer an important question: Are you doing the things you love and care about most?
If not, why?
The length of your life is not guaranteed. You never know when death will knock on your door. With that in mind, it’s time to start doing the things that feed your soul, is it not?
Mom’s Soul-Aligned Life
My mom was in love with the natural world. She enjoyed weeding and planting in the garden, cutting flowers and arranging them in gorgeous bouquets, taking her dog on twice-daily walks, feeding and watching the birds, and sailing on the lake where she had lived for so many years. She also loved her home with its panoramic view of the lake.
I often wondered if she was happy. Her husband died when she was only 40, and she never remarried. She lived in that house alone until she was almost 99 years of age.
While I now know she was lonely and wished she had more time with her husband, I think she was happy. After all, her days were filled with the things she cared about most.
Choosing to Feed Your Soul
Mom became unhappy when it became physically impossible to do the things she cared about and loved most. But she could have made choices that allowed her to continue feeding her soul. Instead, she chose not to do so.
For example, my sisters and I offered to create raised beds so she could garden without bending over or kneeling. We also suggested making a container garden on the bench lining her deck. She refused both ideas.
We also suggested sitting on the porch or being wheeled out to the driveway by her caregiver. That way, she could feel as if she was outside. She said, “No.”
Focus on What You Can Do
Maybe, like my mother, you physically or mentally can’t do the things you care about most…at least not in the way you would like. But, like my mom, you also might be stubbornly refusing to incorporate the things most important to you into your life in a new way.
You likely realize this already, but that’s a broken strategy and a surefire path to unhappiness.
When you don’t find a way to bring into your life the things you care about most, your attention tends to be on what you can’t do or have. That negative thinking leads to frustration, depression, and anger.
Take my mother as an example again. Until two weeks before she died, she could still make it to her recliner, where she could sit and look out at the birds eating on the deck and the ducks and geese on her lawn and in the lake. She could see the bald eagles landing on the dead tree by the shoreline and watch the swan swimming on the other side of the lake.
But she didn’t let herself enjoy this. She didn’t allow this activity to feed her soul.
Instead, she focused on what she couldn’t do. For example, she complained about not being able to go out on the deck to feed the birds herself. And she concentrated on what she didn’t want, like the squirrels eating all the bird seed. And she focused not on the lovely birds on the feeders but on the fact that she could no longer shoo the squirrels off them herself.
She could have chosen to feel grateful that she still had her sight and was cognizant enough to recognize and enjoy her view and the birds someone fed for her. She could have focused on what she cared about most and allowed those things to feed her soul. But she made a different decision.
Time to Focus on What You Care About Most
At a certain point, my mother truly believed she could not have the things she cared about most. And to some extent, this was true, especially as her physical condition worsened. I suppose many of us will get to that point as we age.
In the meantime, you can choose a life that feeds your soul—in some way, shape, or form.
So, I’ll ask again: What do you care about most, and are you finding ways to incorporate those things, people, or activities into your life? If you answered affirmatively, awesome. Congrats! Now find ways to increase how often you do or experience the things you care about most.
If your answer was “no,” here’s a different question: Are you making excuses for not doing or having the things you care about most?
First things first: stop making excuses. And keep in mind that your reasons are also excuses.
Second, find a way.
For example, if, like my mom, you love plants but don’t have a yard, why not create a container garden on your apartment patio or buy gorgeous blooming plants and place them inside your condo?
If you believe you can’t afford plants, why not buy $1 worth of seed packets (20 cents per piece) and a few inexpensive plastic pots? Then, plant the seeds, and enjoy watching your little garden grow.
There is always a way to have or do the things you care about most. Brainstorm. Get creative.
Or, at a minimum, place your attention on these things. For example, watch television shows or read about nature or gardening. Don’t focus on how unhappy you are about not being able to garden; instead, focus on learning about a topic and activity that feeds your soul. Enjoy it vicariously through others.
Feed Your Soul Daily
As Oprah likes to say, “Here’s what I know for sure.” You can’t live a life that feeds your soul if you don’t make the things you care about the most part of your daily life.
After my mother’s death, I found and read some of her journals. She wrote about how her days were filled with the things she cared about most.
Afterward, I looked at my life in comparison to hers. I now see clearly that I am still not feeding my soul daily. To do that, I need to incorporate a few things that I care about most every day. For instance, here are a few things that are important to me:
- Walking in nature
- Playing with my puppy
- Spending time with friends and loved ones—even if just by phone or text
- Being of service to others—by coaching and writing blog posts, articles, and books.
To do all those things (or even some of them) daily, I realize I need to stop doing the things that don’t feed my soul. And I need to stop caring what others think about my choice to eliminate those things that are unimportant to me from my life.
I get that you might not have the ability to quit your job or get a nanny to care for your young children as a way to free up time to incorporate into your life the things you care about most. But you can find a way to do at least some things that feed your soul—especially if you give up excuses.
Find ways to fit in at least one or two things you care about, like a 10-minute meditation before you shower in the morning, a 15-minute walk outside at lunchtime, or hanging a bird feeder by your kitchen window, filling it weekly, and watching the birds as you drink your morning coffee.
Anything is possible 100% of the time. And if you adopt that belief, you will find ways to do and have what you care about most on a frequent and consistent basis.
4 Steps to Incorporating the Things You Care About Most
If you are still struggling to see how you can incorporate the things you care about most into your life on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, here are four steps that will get you closer to achieving that goal:
- Identify what you care about and love most—Make a list. (Which things, activities, or people make your heart and soul sing?)
- Determine which ones you already do…or could do more of…or have in your life already.
- Identify the ones you don’t do at all or on any type of daily or regular schedule.
- Brainstorm ways to do or have the things, people, or activities you identified in Step #3 on a daily, or at least weekly or monthly, basis. (No excuses! Anything is possible…if you commit to it.)
No, take action! Incorporate as many of the things you care about most into your life. That’s how you create a life that feeds your soul.
What do you care about most, and have you incorporated this into your life?
Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with a friend or on social media.
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