Auto-Correcting the Soul
“I have found that soul is rarely at its best...unless amended.”
(Florida Orchid Grower on Facebook)
A soul-crushing week began on April 15 for Boston and friends, which means pretty much the whole world. Bodies and spirits were crushed as well. One would have to have been disconnected from everything the last twelve days to not know about the Boston Marathon bombing on Patriot’s Day. The tiniest bit of healing might have begun, but for many, particularly the family members of those who were killed and for the injured and their families, healing will take a long, long time.
I don’t live in Boston, but I lived nearby for 15 years. I have family, friends and colleagues in the area. When the week of April 15 ended, one terrorist was dead and the other in custody. Much of the world is breathing a sigh of relief on that account. But much of the world is still sighing.
“Tired, just tired,” is what I hear when speaking with family and friends . . . and we were touched only in the slightest way from the horrid events. I feel it, too, an overarching fatigue that won’t quite release. I feel discontented, distracted, and unable to focus on much for long.
Discontent, distraction, and lack of focus appear on my horizon far too often, but these twelve days, it’s been worse. I’m having trouble sitting, reading, talking. I want to move, to do, but I’m not sure what to do, what to move.
Constant news updates on the Internet have grabbed my attention, as have survivor stories, wounded stories, stories of grief and mourning. It does me not a whit of good to keep browsing, to keep reading, to feed the craving for just one more story, something that might help me—and millions of others—figure out why so we can avoid ever again.
|Ground orchid in need of soil/soul amendments|
In this mental state, I’m reminded of a comment a fellow orchid lover made recently. I had reached out to my Florida Orchid Growing group on Facebook for suggestions on how to pot my ground orchids, which were not doing well in the ground.
Someone suggested helping my existing ground. I struggle daily to “help” my soil. Although my patio shrinks with my ever-growing potted orchid and shade-loving plant collection, I said I was determined to pot the ground orchids. But friends continued to encourage me to keep them in the ground, in spite of the soil.
Sherry’s comment plunked my orchids—and the rest of me—firmly onto the ground:
“I have found that soul is rarely at its best...unless amended.”
Soul amendments, indeed. I replied, “Well, some ‘soul’ can do with a bit of amending from time to time. I know mine benefits greatly when I make such amendments.”
Today, I know my discontent, lack of focus, and lethargy signal that my soul needs “amendments.” I know that soul, like soil, is healthier once amended. Mine has become diminished in the last several days. I neglected giving it proper care and attention: I forgot to make soul amendments.
Weeds of fear, judgment, despair, dismay, and sorrow have crept into my soul. Like plant weeds, those soul weeds blow about the earth and land and grow just about anywhere. It is time to pay attention and not give them a place to germinate and spread. If I harbor resentment, judgment, despair, fear, and worry, I might spread those seeds myself. The cycle will continue if what I sow searches for yet another soul that will then need amendments.
How can I amend my soul? What does my soul need? Whether for drinking, bathing, or contemplating, my soul needs water. My soul needs the ocean. The vastness, the beauty, the power, and the majesty of the ocean renew my thirsty soul. I feel my spirit wither and dry, becoming cracked and wounded, when I’m away from the ocean too long. As I approach the dunes that block my view of the shore, the salt scent, the crash of the waves, and the breeze cooling the sands are but a prelude before I reach the top of the stairs and catch my first glimpse. I step forward and I am renewed: My soul drinks it in, and my thirst is quenched.
|I remember to feed my body, but|
I also must remember to feed my soul.
Soul needs food. Without food, my soul will be unhealthy, unstable. Hunger comes in many forms. I’m well aware of soul hunger. It strikes when I’ve been away from church too long. It strikes when prayer is not a part of my daily life. I feel its pangs when I don’t meditate or do yoga. That hunger affects every aspect of my life. With soul nourishment, I become stronger; my lighter, healthier parts are fed.
|Facing the dark leads to the light. Before the first light of dawn, the shore and the water are dark.|
Soul also must face the dark to move toward the light. Darkness will come to soil and to soul. As the earth moves, the soil experiences darkness every day. As the earth continues to move, the soil experiences light every day. Most souls who have been on the earth for any amount of time will experience dark. They will experience loss, heartache, despair, lack—the result of all those weed seeds that are blown into our lives. In those dark times of the soul, it’s tempting to give up, to stay in the dark, to let the nastiest of weeds fester in our soul, giving birth to more. Soul amendments happen when we step away from the dark and toward the light.
In this dark place in which so many of us have hovered the last twelve days, the temptation is strong to hate, to judge, to strike back. The lust for vengeance weighs heavy on hearts. Vengeance, hate, and judgment, however, keep our souls in the dark, where amendments can neither reach nor heal. I, many of us, might not be ready to take the necessary steps toward the light. But when I do, when we do, those steps will transpire when I speak in kindness and compassion. I will continue to take those steps toward soul amendments when I forgive. I will amend my soul by stepping away from the dark into a place of light when I refuse to judge, refuse to condemn, refuse to gossip, refuse to hurt.
I am fortunate that none of my friends or loved ones were seriously hurt by the events in Boston and Watertown during those days of horror and despair. When I talk about my personal healing, I don’t mean to diminish the suffering of those who have a much longer, much more difficult road toward healing, toward physical healing—toward soul amendments.
My soul and the souls of many in our country, in our world, need soul amendments. We hunger for them.
Soul amendments—what better time is there than now to amend each of our souls—in the days post-Marathon tragedy and every day?
How will you amend your soul today? How will you amend your soul every day? Following are a few more ways I amend my soul.
How I Amend My Soul
|Writing amends my soul.|
|Having blue flowers in the garden amends my soul.|
|The scent of gardenias and cobalt blue glass amend my soul.|
|A walk on the beach and noting the art and creativity|
of people amend my soul.
|Time with my family amends my soul.|