Soul Food- Week One

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Johnathan Reyes on Flickr

While I am not a religious person by any means, I do believe we have some sort of driving force within us. Something that lights up when fed properly. I believe our souls are the most neglected part in our daily care. What I mean is that we often exercise, eat healthy, etc. to keep the rest of us healthy but generally do not focus on our soul.

I would like to do something weekly, that will not only hold me accountable for writing, but also share with you things that inspire me. My plan is to do it every Sunday (Yes, I am aware it’s Monday I was drowning in paper grading all day yesterday). Anyway, enough with the introduction and boring you with my plan.

The first thing I want to share with you is the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Now, I will admit that I had never even heard of the book until I saw the preview of the film. When I saw the preview and learned it was a book I became interested. I still have yet to see the movie, but I did just finish the book.

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Photo provided by Matt Leach

Cheryl’s story is truly inspirational and I think the reason it is resonating with so many is that it is honest. Cheryl was a mess; a lost, hot mess. That’s what made her likable. We all are lost and a mess at some point in our lives, maybe even at several points in our lives. Cheryl’s story made it okay for many to admit this about themselves. In fact, she wrote in such a way that she made falling apart sound like a necessary step in rebuilding a better version of yourself. She was authentic in her story telling which has fit in nicely with my search for authenticity (blog post here).

For those of you who are still unfamiliar with the story let me give you a brief synopsis:

Cheryl’s life is falling apart (all a true story by the way). There are many things that contribute to her mess of a life but it really is all rooted in Cheryl. She decides one day that she is going to hike along the Pacific Coast Trail and does just that, for months. She does this in an effort to figure out what is wrong with her at her core.

This book spoke to me because I too can be a mess, in a completely different way than Cheryl, but still a mess. Reading this book I felt I made a friend and Cheryl was telling me all of her deepest secrets and thoughts. When the book was over, I was sad. I felt I had lost the friend that I had just made. You know it’s a good book when you become deeply attached to the person in the story, fiction or non-fiction.

Did I have dreams of backpacking after reading the book? Absolutely. Will I ever? Probably not, but it does serve as a metaphor for how to get past the tough parts of life. You have to keep moving forward until life feels right again. I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE. It’s a powerful story that will leave your soul feeling full. What are some things you’ve been inspired by this past week? Leave your thoughts or suggestions in the comment section.

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