The Soul Care Series: Self-Knowledge

Woman journaling

 At the beginning of this series, I talked about how I was frustrated to see a mainstream publication talk promote tarots as a beneficial way to know more about oneself, so I think the time has come that this series addresses the subject of self-knowledge, which in a way is linked to the previous topic of planning around our heart’s desires. Over my years as a Christian, the question of self-knowledge has been usually dismissed as easily answered: just pray about it. As if people always know how to truly pray and most importantly they know how to discern the response from God. Last Sunday, the Mass readings for the day contained the passage in 1 Kings 19 about the prophet Elijah finding God in the whispering voice after the powerful ways in which God has spoken before did not make him manifest. Bishop Barron in his homily had a great point about how God doesn’t use one way to communicate, and unless you have dramatic experiences that you can’t deny it’s God’s speaking, it’s not as simple as “just pray”. 

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The Soul Care Series: Heart-Centred Goal Setting

Kawaii Stationery

I have had to take a break for the last 2-3 weeks as my health took a turn for the worse (those of you who listen to Alessia’s Divine Comedy will know already I barely managed to keep that afloat with some delays). I guess, in a way, it made this next topic in the Soul Care series more timely, since we are talking about the new coaching buzzword for planning. 

You might be wondering what’s the link with wellness, so I guess I should first explain what is meant by heart-centred goal setting. You might have heard of Daniella LaPorte and her best-selling book “The Desire Map”. Heart-Centred goal setting is an evolution of that: it’s about making decisions and plans that come from the desires of our hearts and it’s linked to wellness because a lot of undue stress in our lives comes from chasing things that won’t make us happy and having goals that are pushed on us from the outside world. 

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The Soul Care Series: Nutrition

Breakfast

Everyone and their dog has an opinion on diets in general, and often on your diet in particular, so I feel a bit guilty for adding more noise to that conversation, but as I see more and more dubious books propping up in the Christian (and specifically Catholic) sphere I think we are at high risk of being absorbed into the culture that surrounds us rather than transforming it. Diets like the not-a-diet “Light Weigh” programme, and intermittent fasting lifestyles like the one promoted in Eat, Fast Feast walk the very thin line between challenging Western comfort in order to help our spiritual lives, and spiritualising weight loss because that’s the standard of the world we live in. 

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The Soul Series: Fitness

FitnessLast week we talked about the fourth pillar of holistic health in general, physical health. In the next few installments of this series, I’d like to have a look at the components that make it up in a few more details. I will start with fitness because it is the one that is usually used as a synonym, but also one that can be dangerous for Catholics as it’s often idolised even among Christians, in an attempt to steer clear from more gnostic views of the body/soul relationship. You might be familiar with the emphasis on physicality that is almost militaristic in contemporary views of “traditional masculinity” such as those behind the popular spiritual exercise called Exodus 90. Under their Asceticism rules, fairly close to the top (at least on the website as it is at time of writing), regular and intense exercise is part of their practices that are seen as both penance and an offering. 

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The Soul Care Series: Spiritual Health

Woman's hands on BibleI had no idea when I sat down with my pretty mint organizer and fountain pen to think of topics for this blog in the coming months that I would be writing about spiritual health at such a time as this (if you are stumbling upon this post later than its publication, it’s the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “spiritual health refers to that part of the individual which reaches out and strives for meaning and purpose in life. It is the intangible ‘something’ that transcends physiology and psychologyā€¯. For us Catholics it’s not a difficult definition, we are in the realm of the soul.

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