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What Is...Heart and Soul Care?

We all know self-care is essential, but much less practice.

Self-care is usually considered an indulgence, a special treat or reward, and something that makes us feel good.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes self-care as taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve your physical and mental health.

Exercise, healthy eating, good sleep habits, relaxing activities, gratitude, and staying connected with friends are common sense things that contribute to self-care.

Practicing them begins with a choice and requires intentionality and discipline.

But what about caring for your heart and soul?

Where do we place our deep emotional and spiritual needs on the self-care spectrum?

My friend Cookie visited recently, and I wanted to give her and myself a few days of leisurely indulgence, which included being together without looking at the clock or tickling off the list.

Hosting her would also be a dry run of how I want to treat my guests when they come for a retreat at Pleroma Sanctuary, Heart & Soul Spa.

It is a sacred gathering when people come together with intention and purpose but without a plan to make something happen.

The wonder that emerges from such a time, when hearts are open and we are aware of the presence of God in our midst, might be mistaken for serendipity.

But there is nothing coincidental about it.

When Jesus encountered the paralyzed man at Bethsaida who complained that no one would lower him into the water to be healed, he asked, ”Do you want to be made whole?”

On the surface, you might think that Jesus was being sarcastic by asking the obvious, hadn’t the man been visiting these waters for 38 years, hoping to get healed?

But Jesus wasn’t asking the man only about his apparent physical impairment; he was asking more profound questions that spoke to the injury the man had stored up in his heart that had become part of how he saw himself, his identity.

That’s where so many people get stuck.

Our injuries, roles, and job titles become part of our identity.

We are afraid to believe that we are less than what the world values. We fear our inadequacies and deficiencies. Maybe we fear disappointment more than we desire joy, so we stay stuck in our less than whole state of complacent misery.

In my work and training as a coach, I often hear well-meaning people say things like “you’re whole, not broken’ and invoke that overused appeal to “Just do you!”

After all, the world would have us believe you are here to live your best life. So what are you waiting for!?

I understand the intent to encourage and spur people on, but to what?

Declarations such as these are a disservice to the truth, and according to scripture, It is the truth that you know that makes you free. Not trying to fit in, be somebody, or amass a hoard of stuff that only money can buy and miss out on all the riches it cannot.

Everyone alive has had trauma and wounding. All wounds deserve attention, and all injuries need healing.

Life has plenty of loss, tragedy, and injustice that need grieving. Not covering up, pretending it didn't happen and getting busy getting on with it. That's how they become shrapnel in your soul.

My teacher, Terry Wardle, says, “An unhealed wound is the first thing you see when you look into the future.”

Our brains see it that way, and an unhealed heart will try to balance the scales of loss and pain, which inevitably leads to more of it.

Coaching is a powerful forward-looking technology for change. It can enable us to gain a shift in perspective, challenge our beliefs and find the why beneath the why we have not yet discovered.

I call the unseen why the doo loop, which keeps you going round and round and never exiting the cycle.

But what to do with it once you've seen it?

Breaking barriers of belief, healing wounds, and dysfunctional behavior goes deeper than discipline, commitment, and action plans.

To advance in greater liberty, something in our backstory needs reframing, and something in our identity needs correcting.

Mind over matter or determination over circumstance, goal setting, and action plans won’t earn you freedom or wholeness. These are matters of the heart and soul.

Seeing God in your story is crucial - all of it - past, present, and future.


Getting to the heart of the matter starts with a few questions;

  • Who are you outside of your roles?

  • How would you be different if you were just doing you and ‘that thing’ was not in the way?

  • What are the principles and values upon which you are building your life?

And I love this question my good friend Maggie Beckjord asks in her Art of Becoming Workshops “Who are you when you are walking in the light, and everything is right?”


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