Soul Food


” In the case of Ireland, the symphonic note of their national dirge creates a tinnitus of the soul.”    ˜Josephine Hart, The Truth About Love

 After I spent a minute or two marveling at her genius use of figurative language, I asked myself, what creates a tinnitus of the soul for me?   And is tinnitus of the soul neccesarily as bothersome and irritating an experience, as it is when it occurs in one’s ears?  I’ve known plenty of cheerful Irish folks, and they weren’t all stereotypically drunk.  Or is it perhaps more akin to a pulsing that enlivens, nourishes and sustains?  My loving husband suggests that thoughts like these are probably why I don’t sleep as well as I should.

Anne Sexton is quoted as saying, “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” 

 And then we have; “Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.”  ~Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

In the other corner, the Roman lyric poet Horace asks, “Why do you hasten to remove anything which hurts your eye, while if something affects your soul you postpone the cure until next year? “

By my own sometimes admittedly harsh judgement and humble opinion, Horace and Anne are right.  Marcus was only conditionally right.  Let me explain by borrowing more words from the wise:

“The soul, like the body, lives by what it feeds on.”  ~Josiah Gilbert Holland 

  • If we’re feeling like we’re in a barren desert, like I have this week, we’ve probably been depriving ourselves, living like we were on one of those maniacal 500 calorie a day Hollywood Red Carpet diets.  Maybe we’ve been running on Monster energy drinks, succumbing to metaphorical junk food, or perhaps a daily 6 pack of venti sized cups-o-stress, when our hearts, minds, and souls are screaming for what else, SOUL FOOD!  And although I love me some southern fried chicken, dumplings with gravy, and greens, I’m speaking figuratively here. We must take time to infuse our souls with whatever causes our hearts to swell with laughter, whatever spells beauty to our eyes, and those sounds that melodically caress our ears.

“Until you know that life is interesting – and find it so – you haven’t found your soul.”  ~Geoffrey Fisher 

  • No matter their geographical location in the world, children are known for claiming to be bored.  That’s to be expected, because they’re still searching for what rings those bells in their souls.  But adults?  If we’re declaring boredom to be our state of residency, the soul nurse practitioner (because they do all the work these days) should be red- flagging our file, because we’re in serious need of some kinda soul infusion.  Our ringer isn’t ringing loud enough or we’re not listening hard enough for us to hear that tinnitus that lets us know we’re alive.  If Fisher were a medical doctor, I think he’d prescribe some Whittier advice.

“The windows of my soul I throw
Wide open to the sun.”

~John Greenleaf Whittier, My Psalm

  • That’s the prescription.  Stop, look , and listen!  Let the light shine in.  Refuse the darkness and shadows.  Infusion 101 .  The soul cries out.  We’ve got to take time to really hear.  We suffer terribly when we don’t.  It’s that simple.  And deep down, we recognize it as the truth staring back at us, at that moment when we gasp at our reflection in the mirror, our friend in joy, our enemy in despair.  I’m preaching to myself and the choir here folks, but we must take the time to feed our souls.  It’s a matter of life and death, a slow and grotesquely painful one.  Even if you have to start it anew every day, take the time to choose the soulful, beautiful, joyful life we were meant for.  Whatever floats your boat, whatever suits your fancy, whatever rings your bell, whatever delights your soul !  I want my soul to be stirred, not shaken ( every martini connoisseur knows there is a difference) and satiated yes, but definitely not sedated.

Got tinnitus of the soul?  I hope so!

Peace and Love

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