‘Say your truths and seek them in others’ is a TED talk by Elizabeth Lesser, who started her career as a midwife. The talk explains how she used lessons learned in that field, to guide her in life. She describes how looking into a newborn baby’s eyes, she recognised their ‘soul spark’ – that sense of unapologetic self-hood that made them unique. What a fabulous term – SOUL SPARK – that inner essence we all have.
Elizabeth says she took three life lessons from her midwifery days.
Uncover your soul
It’s a lofty concept, to discover who you are deep down before outside messages coerced you into a socially acceptable ‘norm’. Great minds have spent many hours pondering, reading and talking about the concept of uncovering your authentic self. It can be nearly impossible to decipher which thoughts are genuinely yours and which are a reflection of the culture you were brought up in.
Working through some of your negative self-beliefs can help you to understand those that aren’t true. Many are simply false thoughts, planted in your head long ago by careless comments, insults or advertising messages. Learning to embrace some of your less than (society’s idealised concept of) perfect attributes, frees up space in your brain to focus on things that bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment. Maybe you won’t know what your soul’s purpose is, but anything that makes you feel good about yourself seems a good place to start.
When things get difficult or painful, stay open
This one can be a real challenge when you are struggling with heavy issues that make you want to close down and shut out the world. You may recognise that you are spiralling down into false negatives yet find it impossible to resist. Try giving yourself permission to feel all the emotions for a specific timeframe. ‘Today I’m really struggling, so I’m going to be kind to myself and just stay in bed. I know that tomorrow is a new day and I can pick myself back up then.’ Remind yourself that ranges of emotion are perfectly natural and you don’t need to feel shame for them. Suppression of your feelings is exhausting, instead explore ways to sit with, and manage, them.
When you hold each emotion lightly, it becomes easier to pass through them and keep yourself open to new feelings ahead.
Every now and then, step off your hamster wheel into deep time
Deep time thinking invites you to put perspective to your journey in life, finding simplicity in the enormity of human existence over millennium. In the grand scheme of things, our time on this planet is infinitesimally small. It seems counter-intuitive to spend any of that time worrying about why we exist. We exist; therefore, we should enjoy it. In a perfect world, what you enjoy would be things that don’t harm others, and maybe even make the world a better place.
Get protective of your personal time, banishing any shame or guilt for your self-care rituals. Long walks, meditation, reading books, naps, visits to the water – time spent in quiet reflection. For many people, those moments are usually the birthplace of all their most creative ideas. It helps build self-awareness and self-regulation. Maybe one day, in a moment of appreciating deep time – you’ll uncover your soul spark