Here is some advice that may seem at first strange. Please hang in there. Care for the soul and relief of its aches isn’t something that can be purchased. It can’t be gotten at the pharmacy or liquor store. Said differently, the ache does not improve by trying to escape it.
The soul is that inner recess of ourselves, conscious and unconscious, that seeks meaning. And meaning is ultimately bound up in relationships – the very thing the virus would deprive us of. We were not created/evolved to live in isolation. Our every relationship, from the Lyft driver to coworkers has been drastically changed, at least for the time being. Without these relationships, nothing reflects back to us our customary vision of ourselves (Let that sink in). No wonder anxiety arises; we are feeling isolated not only from others, but also from ourselves!
So, what to do?! Answer: Make Soup!
“What!?” Yup, make soup. Here’s why. Selecting, washing and chopping the vegetables, peeling the garlic, grinding the salt and pepper alone can help ground us back to the earth, the dirt, the dust from which we commonly emerged, freeing us, at least in part, from fragmenting anxiety. We are bound by the earth/the humus* under our feet to our common humanity. Seen or unseen, there is an underlying connection as we stand on common ground. To work with food, especially real food that comes from the humus and not out of a can or box has a way of gently humbling us, bringing us back to earth.
Now consider this, one constant in ALL of your relationships is, after all, YOU. Making soup is one simple way to nurture that self-relationship. Serving and consuming is an act of internal hospitality, reconnecting the fragmented parts of your persona, the self behind the necessary public faces we all must wear. Such intentional self-care welcomes the estranged part, soothes the anxious part, heals the broken part. And as we recognize the connection to others that is woven into the fabric of our souls, the embraces we anticipate will ultimately be even more of a celebration. But for now, sit down, take a breath, reconnect to you! Bon Appetit!
* the organic component of soil, formed by the decomposition of leaves and other plant material by soil microorganisms.
Brian Hoooper, M.Div., Psy.D. LCPT#54