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Diet for the Soul, Part 2

By Lorna Peden Waterman

Last week, I wrote about things that we can pare from our lives, a diet for the soul that would bring positive changes in the New Year. Recognizing that there may be a lot of free time since we gave up gossiping, complaining, and talking until we are hoarse, let's adds some stuff back. Idle hands, devil's work, etc.

bq. In the spirit of the word "more", there will be a greater number of things to do this week, than there were in Part One.


In 2008, challenge yourself to add these things to your spiritual menu.



  1. Random acts of generosity (more giving). Be the Stealth Sweetheart of your office or your neighborhood. Don't do this for recognition. Do it because there is so much hurt in this world, that good people need to work hard to bring it back into balance. Pay the toll for the car behind you. Bring flowers to the new people on the street. Try to do one thing per day, with no fanfare, and see how it affects your worldview.
  2. Build up a child (more support). Many children today are starving for acceptance and simple human kindness. Families are shattering, school is brutal, and the culture at large seeks to steal their innocence to make a buck. If you can remember any words of kindness or encouragement that you heard as a kid, then you have received a gift that must be passed on.  
  3. Spend time with an elderly person (more listening). This year, I visited my dear Uncle Richard when I returned to the East Coast for the first time in a decade. At 89, he has lost his wife, all of his siblings, and now his health. I sat in his living room and asked him about photos on his walls. I listened to his memories that were his only link to the life that he once lived. He is but a shell of the man who raised two children, who made his wife swoon, who created businesses that employed people and supported their families. Every elderly person has a story. Commit to listening to them.
  4. Immortalize your day (more reflection). Some people are born to journal. These are the people who the rest of us consider stupid because their parents (or law enforcement) always seem to find out their secrets. Assuming that you are neither living with a parent, nor a serial killer, journaling can be a blessing for the busy woman. Recently, I found a pregnancy diary from my first son and I was delighted as the memories that my mind had discarded came back so vividly, and I had insight into the person who I once was. So give a gift to the future you and take five minutes per day to journal.
  5. Breathe (more oxygen). Of course, you already breathe. Thank God for Lycra, right? But there is something to be said for deep breathing. Not the kind that you do when you climb a flight of stairs, but the kind that you do when the room is quiet, and your thoughts are on hold, and you have reset your mind. Notice how the air feels as it passes through your nose. Feel your lungs expand. Once you have achieved a relaxed state, discuss with yourself what you want to accomplish this day. This is your time to give yourself the support and encouragement that we often fail to reserve for ourselves.
  6. Grieve (more tears). I think that grieving is highly underrated. Healthy grieving keeps us in touch with those who left us behind. When we weep, or ache, or pine for someone who cannot return to us, we are railing against a force that is greater than any that we have been able to harness. Time. And our insistence that this loss was significant, and that removing this person from our sight will not stop the love in our hearts, is our rebellion. We will not surrender and accept that this person's life was one of billions. Every tear says that this person belonged to me, and this person lives in me still. When the tears stop coming, that's okay, too.
  7. Take chances (more risk). One of the finest benefits that I have found to getting older, is the understanding that IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD if I fail, or if I am embarrassed. I have read again and again about people who are successful in love, in business, in life, but only after potentially soul crushing failures. Remember that no one is handed greatness. Greatness is determined in hindsight, when the space between what we began as, and what we became, is measured. The larger the space, the more impressive the growth. That's why so few people are considered great these days. Most end up too close to START to achieve their goals.  

I hope that this diet serves you well. Perhaps we can meet here next year and discuss the outcome of this, the year of living thoughtfully.

by Lorna Peden Watermancontributing writer for Fabulously40 

Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Stephanie wrote Jan 23, 2008
    • Nothing in life is more powerful than helping someone. Whether it is buying a homeless person dinner, comforting a child, or bonding with a grandparent, and giving them the emotional support they may no longer receive.

      When I was young, my mother requested that all the children in the household keep accurate journals of our lives, that would be simple, or even aggressive descriptions of our life. This included our struggles, happiness, and the things going on.

      Several months ago, going back to the journals I wrote when I was as young as 12 years old, through high school, brought me to tears. Not just the memories, but the thought i put into my intense writings, knowing that i would one day look back at my childhood.

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