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?