How Goes It With Your Soul?
“How goes it with your soul?”
That is the question that members of John Wesley’s small groups would ask one another at their weekly meetings. It is a good question for us right now – how goes it with your soul?
The many issues that confront us daily can be anxiety-producing and cause a deep weariness in our soul. Facing the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, the tensions, and divisions caused by the upcoming national elections, and the variety of worldwide issues that confront us if we dare turn on the news or check our devices, all of this causes me to unconsciously hold my breath. It is as if something inside of me tenses and contracts, and those physical sensations, I believe, are linked to the wellbeing of my soul. I would argue that our souls need attention, just as much as our physical bodies do especially now when what has traditionally fed us spiritually is unavailable to us in the ways that we experienced prior to these peculiar times.
Singing in the choir, praying, and singing together in the Chapel, Sanctuary, or Founders Hall during worship services, meeting friends in the Atrium for laughter, hugs…physical contact – all of these things (and many more) nourished our souls. Even gathering for meetings, collaborating with colleagues around a conference table, hearing live music in a symphony hall or intimate club, all of these activities have changed and as fortunate as we are to have the technology to still experience many of them virtually it is not the same and I question whether our souls are nourished quite the same either.
So what are we to do in this particular time of waiting? Waiting for what comes next? Actually, I believe we have an opportunity to make something new and to prepare ourselves/our souls for whatever is coming. The first thing we must do is acknowledge that taking time for our souls is important and therefore requires us to be intentional about it. We must realize that creating a regular rhythm for soul care is as important as other parts of our daily care routines, like brushing our teeth. Secondly, variety is the spice of life right? Trying new things means just that, try them. If it doesn’t feel quite right, try it a few more times, still not right? Do something else, but don’t stop trying!
I have two suggestions for helping you get into a regular rhythm of soul care: Beginning August 20 I will be facilitating “Breathe” - a time of relaxation and renewal as we Breathe together Thursdays at noon via Zoom. When we are grounded in our breath, we can decrease the fight or flight response which may also decrease anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate. This is similar to what I did in the podcast that is available through our website, but gathering via Zoom will allow for some sharing and questions.
Beginning September 23 I will lead a group through the wonderful book, Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson. I have led this study many times and it is one of my favorites. Wherever you are on your faith journey this is the study for you! Whether you have an established regular practice or you are ready to begin deepening your relationship with God but are not sure where to start, this study will allow you the freedom to explore and lively times of discussion that will benefit all participants. We will take a chapter a week and gather via Zoom at 7:30 pm for nine weeks.
It is my sincere hope that many of you will join me in one or both of these opportunities. This time we are in is indeed peculiar, but if we look at it as a fallow time, a time of restoration, we can use this period to prepare and strengthen ourselves for the time to come.