New Year’s resolutions tend to focus on improving our physical fitness, losing weight, or adopting habits to make us more successful in our work and home lives. With each passing year, I realize how important it is to nurture the soul as well as the body. As I count the new gray hairs on my head and wrinkles on my skin and feel the little twinges that accompany aging, I’m more aware than I’d like to be that my body will eventually fail me. There’s no escaping it. I can exercise, eat right, get plenty of rest, and maybe even indulge in some plastic surgery, but I can’t prevent the ultimate, inevitable destiny of my earthly body.
I know it sounds morbid. We’re uncomfortable talking about death, especially our own. It makes us feel powerless. That’s because we are powerless to prevent it.
Have you ever wondered where the human soul resides? Have you thought about where it goes after the body dies? Is it possible to nurture the soul? In preparation for eternity, can we make it healthier through exercise?
Most of the world’s religions include a tenet about that invisible, intangible, mysterious entity known as soul. Movie-producers and psychics have earned billions from our natural curiosity about the paranormal. Despite our limited capacity, we are determined to understand the supernatural world. We are attracted to speculating about ghosts. But are ghosts the same as souls?
The Hebrew word, “nephesh” translated by most biblical scholars as “soul” literally means “living being.” If the soul is a living being, it stands to reason we can nurture it through exercise.
I’m convinced the soul is located where we humans encounter The Divine. We only need to show up. For some, being in nature, walking in the woods, or digging in the garden are where they encounter The Divine. For others, this soul-searching happens through meditation, prayer or corporate worship. Seeking God is as natural to humans as breathing because each of us is created with a God-shaped hole in our soul. Only God can fill the void, not personal accomplishment, material possessions, or even loving family and friends.
We need not make soul-searching so complicated. The act of exercising my soul has taught me that meeting, understanding, and communicating with The Divine is as simple as showing up, embracing silence, and listening for the “still, small voice.”
May 2019 be for each of us a year of active soul-searching and encountering The Divine. Happy New Year!
Cindy L. Freeman is the author of two award-winning short stories and three published novels: Unrevealed, The Dark Room and I Want to Go Home. Website: www.cindylfreeman.com; Facebook page: Cindy Loomis Freeman. Her books are available from amazon.com or hightidepublications.com