As entrepreneurs, we naturally invest a considerable amount of time and energy into growing our businesses. When we can, we balance that with renewal activities such as rest, a healthy diet and physical activity. Many years ago I came to understand another vital component of my existence and that was to understand and nurture my soul.
The Greek word is derived from a verb “to cool, to blow” and hence refers to the vital breath, the animating principle in humans and other animals. It is often thought of as our “essence”, that unique life-force within us.
What happens when we neglect our soul? People can experience feelings of disconnect, loss of meaning, anger, overwhelm and general discontent. Your soul doesn’t stay quiet if it’s being ignored. On the contrary, the messages generally intensify until you take action. Being out of alignment in this way can affect your professional life, your health and all your significant relationships. I became keenly aware of this many years ago in my own life. I was experiencing some great successes in businesses, I had many friends and entertained regularly, I was in the best health I ever had yet I still felt something was off in my life. I felt that MARIA was actually missing from the equation and as soon as I started getting back in touch with my essence, my soul, I felt more whole again and consequently the success I was experiencing in life took on a new dimension. I feel that the real essence of me is actually my soul and the PHYSICAL me is just along for the ride.
C.S. Lewis sums it up “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”
It’s all about what’s going on inside of you so here are some things you can do to assure that you’re nurturing your soul and creating harmony in your personal life and business.
1. Regularly spend time with animals and in nature
Animals are great teachers of unconditional love –something we don’t always demonstrate to ourselves and others. Nature is a constant reminder of the perfect balance that we actually live in and the flow of energy that maintains this balance.
2. Create stillness
Our soul is constantly talking to us but you may not hear it if you ’re in a constant state of busy-ness or just not listening. The busier you get, the more critical it is for you to be still. At least once a day for 15 minutes block out the sounds of life and clear your head of all those random thoughts we constantly have. Bath yourself in a ball of light and just be still but stay awake. If 15 minutes seems too long, start at 5 and work your way up. It’s a simple meditation that has profound results. You’ll feel renewed, gain new clarity and insights into your next steps in life.
3. Let go of having to control
People get caught up in reacting negatively to what seems like an adverse situation or something that’s out of their control when in actuality new opportunities, new solutions, new relationships and most importantly a new self-awareness comes during these moments. Learn to let go of having things happen a certain way or judging whether something is good or bad. Simply embrace what is. You’ll actually get to your truth a lot faster as well as your desired outcome.
4. Know who you are
What are your core values related to how you’d like to be treated, what are acceptable health practices, business practices, etc? There is no right answer here— whatever you choose, know it’s enough. YOU’RE enough. Have an awareness of what you stand for so that when you’re shaken, you’ll always have your place of centering to come back to.
5. Develop more nurturing relationships
Stop trying to force relationships with those you don’t particularly care for. Limit your exposure to these people or lovingly back away completely. This is a time to surround yourself with people who are loving, supportive, and will celebrate your success. Those who challenge you to be the best you can be—not knock you down due to their own feelings of inadequacy. Also, the way you treat yourself will be reflected by those around you. Having more love and compassion for yourself will naturally attract those who support you in that way. At my last Summit in June, many people commented how loving and supportive the speakers and panelists were and how much fun everyone was having on stage. I took that as a complement since many of the people on stage were personal friends.
6. Listen to and honor your internal guidance
Your soul’s guidance is an indicator of what’s true for you and going against that guidance feels out of alignment for us. Learn to listen and honor your feelings, your body signals, external messages and adjust your life accordingly, especially as it relates to that job you need to resign from, that dream you’re not realizing, the relationship that isn’t serving you, that revenue stream that is out of integrity with your core values, etc.
7. Nurture your connection to a higher power
The connection to source energy—God, all that is— is one of the most powerful relationships we have. Consider moving this sacred relationship to the forefront of your life as a daily source of strength as opposed to waiting until some disaster strikes. I have found that regularly maintaining my own spiritual practices over the years (such as prayer, meditation, attending spiritual services, being in service to others) have proven to be quite a source of personal strength.
8. Invest in YOU
Just as I would invest in business education to help me grow my business or a gym membership to help maintain my physical health, I highly recommend investing in resources that would help you more powerfully align with your own personal essence. We all have past experiences and limiting beliefs which have a direct influence on our current results. Discovering how to remedy what’s not working and to make new powerful choices can be very transformational.
9. Choose simplicity
Our soul will always choose the path of least resistance for us. I have found that over the years, when I am in alignment with what is best for me, the results come quickly, easily and with the least amount of effort. It is US who complicate matters! Learn to CHOOSE simple solutions, uncomplicated relationships, the truth (faster), and love that is unconditional.
10. Go play —renew, refresh, reconnect
If I’m feeling overwhelmed with decisions that need to be made, or super busy with too many tasks at hand, or tired, or bored, then the LAST thing I want to really be doing is to “power through” so I can keep doing more of what I DO NOT want to be doing. Instead, I’ve learned to switch gears and to STOP and take a break. If I’m not experiencing #9, then working harder isn’t going to get me there faster. Give yourself permission to stop and catch your breath, to take a nap when you’re tired or play to clear your head. Going for a walk on the beach in the middle of a busy day helps me reconnect to me and which naturally helps to increase my productivity and allows me to make clearer decisions the rest of the day.