“A good definition of soul is the part of you that wants to belong to the world in the biggest way you can.” -David Whyte, poet
“Well I want somebody to tell me, Answer if you can, I want somebody to tell me, Just what is THE SOUL OF A MAN ?” -lyrics by Eric Burden Soul of a Man
On the back cover of the above CD there is a quote “What is the soul of a man?…..whatever your conscience will bear.” I have always preferred Bill Moyers (the former PBS host) definition. “Soul is a reverence for what’s authentic.” I use it in every introduction I make to new clients. I then go on to say “The things we are least authentic about are painful & difficult things. What I do all day long is help people be honest about hard things.”
So imagine you are a college kid who was upset with a good friend because they always want to drink when they come to visit or they bring the boys every time & sometimes you just want girlfriend time. What would most people do? They would hint & make excuses & drift away by not returning texts. Being authentic means allowing the discomfort of being more direct and talking it over with her. What a rare experience truth is becoming.
It begins with truth with yourself. I am stressed out, how can I make things different? Really determining what your triggers are for stress would be a good first step. Instead of acting like stress is normal, or your extra pounds are ok, or your partner/best friend drinks a bit too much but doesn’t really have a problem.
It’s authentic to be open & vulnerable and know that stress ages & impacts your brain. Taking care of the brain is a big deal. Extra pounds make it hard for your heart to carry the weight, even losing 5 lbs. can make a difference. Letting someone you know that they drink too much & ask what they are numbing themselves about might be the nudge they need to get help. String together a couple of honest sentences instead of waiting to join a dramatic intervention.
So many Boomer relationships are breaking up because two strangers have been raising kids together. They’ve missed out on the business of building a meaningful relationship upon more emotional honesty with each other. “I don’t like it when you _fill__in_the__blank_” Authenticity is scary at first but the long-term benefits are enormous. “Sex is missing & it’s not ok with me.” Find your courage to tell your truth to someone you love.
The more you carry yourself in the world with greater truth about the hard bits, the more soul layers you will build. So think of someone you don’t want to talk to or something you are afraid to do and try to find your courage, while knowing you are afraid.