Chances are, you go for a physical check-up every year. But what about a spiritual check-up? From time to time, it makes sense to take a pause—and evaluate yourself and the world around you to be sure you’re living a life that is both addressing your spiritual needs and caring for your soul.
While Thomas Moore may be best known his book Care of the Soul, it was in another of his books, A Life at Work, the Joy of Discovering What You Were Born To Do, that I came across a passage that talked to the components of a soul-centered life. I counted six in all and they serve as helpful reminders to the kind of things a spiritually-minded person should want in their own life. Moore reminds us:
The quest for a life work entails creating a soulful style of living. That means living from a deep place…with an eye toward individual choice rather than unconsciously going with the crowd.
What you’ll find below are Moore’s words verbatim in bold text; my thoughts follow. As you read the list, consider what you might want to add, or subtract, from your own life. You may find that while you are satisfying some components of a soulful life, some are missing.
6 Keys to Caring for Your Soul
- A soulful life is one of thoughtfulness, care, and engagement—you are present in everything you do, not just going through the motions. You give attention to the things that matter most. That means being in the moment, as much as possible, each and every day. When you do find yourself caught up in a whirlwind of stress, or mindlessly scanning your smartphone, take a deep breath and come back to the present moment.
- You take care of your body and health. The body is a vehicle for the soul and their fates are intertwined. To be healthy and remain healthy, you must engage in a regular exercise program that at minimum gets you moving daily. Jog, walk, bike, swim, take a fitness class—engage in the activity, or activities, that are best suited for you.
- You make your home a place of comfort, welcome, and beauty. Home should be your refuge from the stresses of the everyday world. Find the photographs, artwork, tchotchkes and icons that speak to you and display them. Care of the soul also means having a comfortable place or two in your home where you can read, meditate, contemplate, pray, or just be.
- You educate yourself throughout your life in values and solid ideas. Never stop learning or expanding your thinking. If you consider yourself spiritual, this includes a regular diet of spirituality-related books and podcasts. It will help introduce yourself to new ideas and philosophies that touch the soul and reinforce the beliefs you already have.
- Your leisure time relaxes you, gives you a rich soulful life, and provides fun and play. Live a balanced life, disconnecting from work and the 24-hour news cycle from time-to-time. Does your job preclude you from finding time for yourself? It may be time to find a new one, because without proper downtime—I’m talking daily, not just while on vacation—the soul cannot flourish.
- Your spirituality is deep as well as visionary, and you incorporate contemplation, discussion, ritual, and prayer into everyday life, and you do all of this in a style that suits you as an individual. If you’re part of an organized religion that meets the needs of your soul, great. But, like many of us, you may find that the way to becoming the best version of yourself is through your own regular spiritual practice. As Oprah recently said on her SuperSoul podcast, “you must nurture the spirit that is you, to be all you were meant to be.”