Monday, December 28, 2009

Feed Your Soul


A couple of weeks before Christmas I got together with my college friend Kristen to see an exhibit at Rhode Island School of Design Museum. During our lunch break the conversation turned to Christmas preparations. Of course, we both grumbled some about the stress and the busyness inherent in this time of year. And we shared ways in which we've made the holidays less stressful and more enjoyable over the years. And then Kristin said something that really struck me. She said that now that she is in her 40s, she is a lot less willing to fill her time with activities (and even people) that she doesn't truly enjoy. She has slowly over the last few years eliminated from her life people, organizations, obligations and activities that don't add value to her life. Now she spends her precious time engaged in activities and surrounded by people who "feed her soul". I love this phrase. Feed the Soul.

I have always been pretty good at engaging in activities that I enjoy. I realized when my girls were still toddlers, that I needed to participate in some activities that replenished and renewed me. Sometimes I was made to feel guilty about this by other at home moms who didn't understand or approve of my need for time away from my kids. Time spent doing things that I enjoyed. I NEEDED this. And I much as I knew I needed it, I did sometimes feel a little selfish about it. But like Kristin, now that I'm well into in my 40s, I realize that I was filling a deep personal need. I was feeding my soul by adding things to my life that brought me joy. But this year I came to the realization that some of the activities that I'm involved in and responsibilities that I have taken on are no longer adding joy to my life. I've begun to think about the "value added" to my life by these activities and responsibilities. And I've decided that sometimes the value added is not enough to supersede the aggravation they also add to my life. And I'm learning to let those things go. I did some of that in 2009. But after listening to Kristen discuss feeding her soul, I realize that I need to do even more. So I'm declaring 2010 the year of Feeding the Soul. I plan to spend some time thinking about the ways I spend my time with an eye toward evaluating their value added to my life and if they do in fact feed my soul. It's easy to be on autopilot and to keep on keeping on. I think it's time to step back and "clean house" with the goal of eliminating anything I can that doesn't add value or feed my soul. As my friend Jeanni said to me years ago, "It's all about the joy". I sure do have some smart friends.

How about you? What do you do to Feed Your Soul?

62 comments:

Lauren said...

Hi Pam!
I am totally blown away by all the comments that I received today as the SITS FB...and I intend to visit everyone's blogs to say hello and thank you...but I had to come to your blog first! We were at Muhlenberg at the same time!!! I was there from '83-'87. I don't necessarily want to leave my last name our on the web...but I'm going to look for your email address so that we can swap 'Berg stories!

Thanks so much for stopping by today -- and I look forward to exploring your blog too!!

ModernMom said...

So important!! Right now the one way I seem to be able to carve out time for me is with good books. Love good reads! I need to ramp it up in 2010 and add in more me time this year. Fab post.

Sandy said...

Regarding 'feeding,' you've given me good 'food for thought.' I'll have to think about this. I suppose I do certain things out of obligation but I'm not sure how to not do those things. I don't, however, do anything because of guilt. That's probably more than some people can say.

Diane said...

Oh Pam...I never really thought about it like that, but over the last few years I've done pretty much the same thing.....it's so refreshing too, to just do what you want to do and spend your time with those few special people that mean the world to you --you go at it girl!

Marie said...

Great post. I have been known to do some things out of guilt but I try to avoid it! Exercising and reading and doing crafts feed my soul- and I haven't been crafting that much lately but it's so nice when I can find the time!

Crystal said...

Nice post, everybody needs to feed the soul. :)

Debbie said...

I completely agree with your friend. 40s seems to be the decade when we feel comfortable finally taking care of ourselves. Excellent post and I think a very important topic.

Heather said...

I need to take more time for myself like this. My world revolves around 4 kids and the things they need and I very rarely take time to do things that I like - well, other than blog reading. LOL

Swinging in from SITS!

Meg said...

Beautifully said...and I wholeheartedly agree! My now grown kids are confident and independent people; I like to think which has to do with me role-modeling my own likes and activities.

bettyl said...

Great post...life is short. Enjoy what you like to do.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Taking care of grandbabies feeds my soul in a way nothing else ever did! (I should point out that I'm a stepmom.) Gardening is now a distant second. And we've been leading a huge community project for more than 20 years now; it alternately nourishes and burns us out. But this is a great concept to keep in mind as I continue to mull my new year's resolutions!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I hope the soul feeding is going well.

Louise said...

Hi Pam. This is a thoughtful and interesting post. I completely agree with you on the need to make a little time to be away from the children. Especially as toddlers (which mine still are, despite the fact that I'm "well into my forties"), they demand that you spend every microsecond thinking about them. Choosing well what you do with those precious hours away is all-important.

leigh said...

I'm delving into photography for the first time. It feels amazing. Best wishes on finding your joy!

Queenie Jeannie said...

Brilliant post!!

I'm a stamper and I'm loving my relatively new hobby of paper crafting. It's something creative that I really love!!

I love my 40's!! I'm young enough to pretty much do anything, and old enough to really not give a crap what anyone thinks of me anymore!!!

gamommy2two said...

This is a really thoughtful idea..."feeding the soul." I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum...I'm not overdone, I'm underfed. I have no hobbies, no clubs, nothing to really feed my soul. I need to work on that...

Melissa @ Cellulite Investigation said...

You do have some wise friends! I would say blogging feeds my soul, at least it does right now but maybe because me and blogging are still in the honeymoon phase. I'll have to keep an eye on that one...

Mommie Daze (Colleen) said...

Great post, and great advice. Something to think about.

Real Life Reslers said...

What an inspiring post! I think it's a message that we as women sometimes forget.

Missy said...

Still reading your posts from SITS - I love this one! For a variety of reasons, we started doing this a few years ago, whittling down to the things in our life that are value added to us, rather than try to meet every demand, even when they took an emotional toll on one or all of us. It's not easy - I'm a bit of a yes person! But practice makes better! I like your plan for 2010. Keep it up!

cat said...

Great post. I did that type of "mowing down" of things and friends about 2 years ago and I am so happy about it. I still have to find some more "soul feeders"

missy said...

WOW.....love it!!!! i think i need a little "feed my soul" time!!!!
we may have to think about this for a "less~stress" year!!!

Tracy @ Hall of Fame Moms said...

I mainly feed my soul by the Word of God, it really has the answers I need and thats how God speaks to me. I also occasionally get to do some stuff I enjoy like scrapbooking, reading a book I'm really interested in, and do some things I enjoy online.

Andrea said...

I have decided this year to get back to some Bible Studies to feed my soul. I was involved in a group in my neighborhood a few years ago who met and did studies together. We kind of fell apart, but I am getting myself to studies here and there where I can find them!

I've enjoyed reading your posts! I hope your day is great!

Cyndi said...

Thank you! I really needed to hear that today. :o)

Joanie M said...

There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend time away from your kids, especially if you're a SAHM!! I was a SAHM for a lot of years. A friend and I used to swap one afternoon a week to do whatever we wanted, kid-free! It was wonderful!

I love this Feeding You Soul! You've really given me something to think about.

Christine said...

First time I've stopped by! So fun to have found you, and can't wait to read more. I really enjoyed this post, mostly because like you I do a pretty good job of feeding my sould. Making time for all of the things that I love to do is not a problem. My children are still young, I have a supportive husband who believes in the value of a "happy mom". I get away, get out and make time for the things that I love. But life inevitably takes over, tomorrow for example I'm returning to work after a year long maternity leave. I'll have to reevaluate as you suggest. I won't be able to fit everything in and keep sane. One thing we do as a family is try as much as possible to protect one day of the weekend. What this means is we keep on weekend day unscheduled so that we are free to do whatever we want (or nothing at all) depending on how the mood strikes us. It doesn't always work out, because there are sometimes things that we have to do. But it helps to do this as much as possible. I look forward to it, crave it, and I think it's good for my kids.

Kimm at Reinvented said...

Words I definitely needed to hear, thanks. All moms need to "feed their soul", I believe, but the guilt sometimes gets in the way. I try to remind myself that I'm a better mom if I'm taking time to do things I enjoy. Have a great day!

Christine said...

I do notice, now that I am in my 40's, that I have less of a problem saying 'no'. Whether it's a 'no' for an activity, get-together or anything else. I like that I am more aware of what I want, as opposed to doing things that I think others want me to do. It's liberating and my life is richer for it.

2busy said...

This is a great idea! Good thing she didn't weed you out when she was feeding her soul!

I like to have some alone time at home. It is quiet, and I can collect myself. If I have a good book, this makes for a perfect day...Feeds my soul, rejuvenates me.

Insanitykim said...

Hello from SITS! Happy SITS Day! Wooohooo!

It is SO important to take that time to give yourself what you need while you're busy giving to everyone else. It's not just important, it's VITAL!!!

Blogging actually is my time, as is a weekly women's bible study, hanging out with friends and hanging with my hubby, watching good shows and playing video games. In one way or another these activities are part of my everyday.

What I would like to incorporate more of is listening to music and long, hot baths...otherwise I am thankful for my soul feeding time! Happy blogging! :)

Kat @ www.TodaysCliche.com said...

Gosh, what I would do to have the time to read a book. I"m CERTAIN you're thinking I do have time, but am choosing to do other things with my time, which IS part true. I'm in my mid-30s, and I'm SURE I'll feel differently in my 40s about Priorities!

Stopping from SITS (kinda obvious, today anyway!) Love your blog and the layout. Crisp. Clean, concise!

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

I paint. It feeds my soul. I blogged about this the other day, actually and I totally agree with you. How can we be good mothers if we don't find out own bliss and follow it? Our children deserve to see us happy, and when we are--then we will play better with them, listen to them more attentively, and be more actively engaged in our parenting.

Love-love-loved this post!

Natalie at Mommy on Fire said...

Amen! It's so difficult to do this but I totally agree with your friend. I have eliminated toxic people (in a graceful way - I hate drama) and don't partake in activities and organizations that don't align with my goals and beliefs. These change, too, so I find that I'm constantly reassessing this but for the most part, if it doesn't fit my "time" criteria, the answer is "no". :)

Joann Mannix said...

Gosh, I sure love that! It will be my new mantra, too. I was one of those moms when my girls were little, who didn't feed my soul. For a time there, I thought putting my heart and soul into being a wife and mother was enough to keep me fulfilled.

But, on the day I turned 39, I looked at my life and thought, "What about me? Where is me in this picture?" I knew who I was to everyone else, but who was I to myself?

I had a few maudlin weeks of feeling sorry for myself and then a little voice inside of me whispered, "Write." I have always been a writer, but I had put that side of me away after the girls were born.

I opened my writer's notebook and began again. And with all of the various writing I do, I can say I have never been happier. My soul is now fed and it is such a good thing to find me again.

Marcy said...

I absolutely needed this post today! Life has been getting full lately and in spite of that I signed up for a class I wanted to take with a friend. As I watch the snow piling up outside and think of the fact that I didn't start or even plan dinner tonight I began to regret the time I'll be in that class but your post (and your wise friend) reminded me why I'm doing it! I agree with all who've said it before, taking care of ourselves is the only way we can take care of others.

Happy SITS day, by the way! I'm definitely following you as I always need another voice telling me what good books are out there!

Kearsie said...

I, too, feel guilty when I spend time on just myself. Like, when I choose to sit down with a book instead of cleaning the house manically or something responsibilitish. However, I know that if I don't, someone could get hurt. Or dead. Not really. But you know.

Randa @ The Bewitchin' Kitchen said...

"Feed your soul", what a great motto to live by.

Herself said...

How do I feed my soul? Spending time with my Creator and dishing out all the love I can.
Happy SITS day.

Katherine said...

BEAUTIFUL! That's a great way to approach life!

Joy said...

Brava! This is such a great outlook. I read a lot of books and I love to go to thrift stores and antique shops to clear my head and get away mentally for awhile. It helps. Congrats on your SITS day!

LisaDay said...

Feeding the soul is a great term. Good luck getting rid of poison people.

LisaDay

PS-Happy SITS day.

SmartBear said...

Good for you! I've been on the same mission lately.

Annie @ astonesthrowfrominsanity said...

I am all for Feeing my Soul. It's got to be better than feeding my face during this snowstorm, right?!? :) Happy SITS.

simplysandi said...

I think I can say that now that I'm in my 40's, I rarely do anything that I really do not want to do or spend time with people I do not want to. I like the idea of feeding the soul, and not quite sure I'm doing that.. Time to re-evaluate.

Happy SITS day

"Cottage By The Sea" said...

I think when you're a mom, especially a SAHM, you revolve your life so completely around your family that you have to re learn how to take time for yourself and your interests. I learned a long time ago that the first step is to say, "no," to all the people and work and distractions to which you previously felt compelled to say, "yes". I'm actually getting pretty good at it now. It took me 33 years though! Visiting from Sits and enjoying the book suggestions on your side bar. I'm always looking for a good read, so I'm off to Barnes and Noble. Happy Sits feature day!

Dee Andrews said...

Fun to find you Pam thru SITS. Your quote of the moment kept me reading as I just finished Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Have you read that one?

I could take shop (books) forever, and have just found the courage to start writing one! I've been wanting to for years... and the opportunity that the quote mentions finally arrived!

Enjoyed this post about feeding the soul. My family recently returned from a year living in Spain where we went to "feed our souls!" Sold our house, cars, cleaned out... it was so freeing to get rid of things that took time and resources but were no longer adding value. I think big changes can help with that.

Quasi Serendipita said...

Lovely post. I have a similar mission this year - as I have recently had hammered home to me, life is just too short!

Kim Does Blogs said...

wonderful post and I think making 2010 the Year of Feeding Your Soul is a great idea! My photography is my sanity and feeds my soul tremendously!

The Fickle Nickle said...

I think that this is a beautiful focus for the year 2010!! Guilt has a way of creeping in when we do little things for ourselves. I'm glad you are feeding your soul because you deserve that:)

Marie said...

My hubby and I spent the holiday season with friends instead of cranky family and we had a wonderful time, it felt GREAT! The family was not happy but we were, and isn't that all that matters? ;)

Rachel said...

Things I do to feed my soul:

Spend time with God in prayer and Bible reading
Go to church when I am physically able
Spend time with good friends
Read good books
Listen to good music
Rest and relax when needed.

Danielle said...

Happy SITS DAY!!!!! I am a new follower and I hope you'll check me out.

As I often get myself lost in other people's blogs and not my own, I tend to seek out other bloggies that give words of wisdome,,,,sage sisters if you will.

I love love LOVE that your friend decided to eliminate those and things that do not feed her soul. I could NOT agree more,and I came to this realization a bit on my 30th bday this year as I decided to let the lessons learned thus far actually be learned and not repeated. To let myself be kind to others but not to forget to be kind to myself.

For me,,, being kind to myself is not spending any more time with those who choose negativity as their modus ,, their primary way of functioning. I don't mean we as friends cannot have ebbs and flows.. but if your in an ebb for 10 months and you whine about your ebb but do nothing ever to change it... sorry sister but I will not be your cheerleader any longer. I will give of myself as best I can for awhile but then I will give to myself by cutting off negative....

awesome blog! Cant wait to read more!
Danielle

Miz Dinah said...

What? You can feed your soul? Will that make my butt expand or just my heart? ♥

Megan said...

What a great way to think. It's probably beneficial for everyone to "clean house" and figure out what "feeds their soul" once in awhile. =)

mariahsmile said...

Right now I am all about getting out of college for *twice* and for all! Then I will look for things to Feed My Soul!

mom2kmjx2 said...

Sounds like something I need to do.

Mom of the Twinkies and Tot! said...

Love this outlook on life. I love spending every moment with my kids and family but there are those times when you do want me time. I try to do monthly girls nights with a group of friends where we just eat and socialize...lots of fun!

Triplets Plus Two Momma said...

I have never appreciate the concept of time and its value more than after I have birth to my triplets and then another child (this all after our first born!)

I have zero free time during the day. My only free time is at night when all five are tucked in bed. Talk about prioritizing!! What a great post.

Bea said...

Awesome post!

I try to do a little soul feeding daily. Even if it's 5 minutes to read a Biblical passage or take a quick cat-nap. (Yes. . . naps feed MY soul!!)

I've also learned to avoid people who drain my energy.

Angelia Sims said...

How thought provoking and so true. We need to feed our soul and dump the clutter.

I wish you the best! I know you are on the right track.

Melanie said...

Great post. I have declared 2010 to be the year I simplify my life but you almost make me want to change the whole focus of my year to Feeding my soul. It is so true that as we get older we become more aware of what we really need and more comfortable letting go of the people, things and activities that drag us down. One of the many wonderful aspects of aging.

 

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