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Self-Care Minder

Exploring Womanhood > Mind, Body & Soul > Self-Care Minder

What Does Your Soul Want for the Holidays?
by Jennifer Louden

"Loving earth, work, one another, psyche - all these require unhurried time. Frenzied questing after the icons of modern life (speed, power, instant, more, bigger, unboundedness) devours time and injures the capacity to love. The shy soul is driven inevitably into hiding where she yearns for a time when men {and women} had time to love. The failure to find time for soul is the essential tragedy of our time." ~ Russell Lockhart, from When Men Had Time to Love

It's holiday time. Do you know where your soul is?

Have you asked soul what she wants to do and feel during this month? Can you give her lots of time to respond (a thirty-second check while in line at the bank doesn't work so well with soul)? And after asking, would you be willing to honor what she has to say?

Here's an excerpt from the Self-Care Minder written this time last year:

This is such a tender, heart-open-wide time of year. Simple things like the blood orange and lime yellow leaves wiggling outside my window and the sound of our heater coming on bring tears to my eyes. A deep yearning to nest, to deeply connect with those I love, to know soul comfort as well as I know the curve of my daughter's smile, simmer in me.

A spiritual longing breaks through the surface of my life and catches my heart. It is a radiant song that I can't quite hear the lyrics to. I want to stop and listen but instead I find myself emptying the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, sorting Aunt Edna's silver. Perhaps the barrier between this longing and our daily lives grows thinner during the holidays. All that is required to cross the border is courage and stillness, and perhaps a friend for support. We are entitled to "to feel ourselves beloved on this earth" as the writer Raymond Carver wrote shortly before his death. Yes, dear ones, we are.

I asked my daughter what she wanted the holidays to look like and she said, "Games like hide-and-seek and sleeping giant and everybody just being together, and you know, I would like just a few presents."

How strong and sincere it feels to be living soulfully during these days of darkness and glitter, yearning and connecting. What does that mean specifically? To live soulfully, I am:

Stopping and pausing OFTEN to ask, "What do I really want to do?"

Questioning every "I have to" especially the ones that seem so IMPORTANT.

Watching for bodily sensations of feeling hurried, panicked, or pressed upon, and using these sensations to wake me up to what I'm thinking and doing, and is there another choice I would rather make? Basically, I'm learning there is no real reason to be freaking out over when or where to buy the Yuletide tree.

Reminding myself the only thing that really can't be replaced is time with those I love: my 82 year old Dad, my 7 year old daughter, my sister, my mom, my husband and you know, they just want peace, laughter, and a little sleeping giant game once in awhile.

I'm letting the rest go, gently, gracefully, and with a good guffaw at all my shoulds.

What does your soul want for the holidays?

Copyright 2001 Jennifer Louden.
Please visit the Comfort Queen and subscribe to her Self-Care Minder newsletter.

Jennifer LoudenJennifer Louden is a best-selling author of The Woman's Comfort Book, The Comfort Queen's Guide to Life and three other titles. You can visit her popular website at ComfortQueen.com where over 600 articles about self-care, an interactive Inner Organizer, and a wonderful CQ store await you. Jennifer also works with a few clients at a time as a life coach.

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