Listening to my soul is something I have gotten much better at as I age. My years have taught me that she seems to know more than I am ready to realize. And even with the proof throughout the years that my soul truly knows best, I don’t always listen to her right away.
Sometimes it is easy for me to listen to my soul: when she needs a long deep breath, a short walk to collect my thoughts, or when the recipe needs a small tweak.
Other times I simply ignore my soul. When I need rest, but my to-do list is long, I will fight the sleep or fill my body with coffee to get through the day. Sometimes I see someone is hurting, and my soul wants to reach out, but the broken parts of my heart are afraid to butt in.
Most of the time, when I ignore my soul, it is because of fear- fear that I am not getting enough done or I am simply not enough. When I am still and allow the silence to surround me, my soul speaks, and I can listen to her and honor her with my words and actions. I sometimes wonder if the reason we call it our “still, small voice” is that you must be still and remind yourself of your smallness in this world to hear it.
Recently, I found two poems that speak to me about this stillness and smallness that helps me not only notice the world around me, but they help me listen to my soul as she speaks to me. May they be a gift to you as they are a gift to me.
The Cure For It All, by Julia Fehrenbacher
Go gently today, don’t hurry
or think about the next thing. Walk
with the quiet trees, can you believe
how brave they are—how kind? Model your life
after theirs. Blow kisses
at yourself in the mirror
you think you’ve messed up. Forgive
yourself for not meeting your unreasonable
expectations. You are human, not
God—don’t be so arrogant.
Praise fresh air
clean water, good dogs. Spin
something from joy. Open
a window, even if
it’s cold outside. Sit. Close
your eyes. Breathe. Allow
of it all to pulse
fingertips, bare toes. Breathe in
breathe out. Breathe until
your bigness, until the sun
rises in your veins. Breathe
until you stop needing
to be different.
Lost by David Wagoner
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
I have peppered this post with images from the Picture Nature course by Tracey Clark. It is something my soul gave me a nudge to say yes to, and I am so thankful I listened.