Let me be clear. Living fully, with soul, is not about doing more. It is about not ticking items off on your bucket list, or any kind of list for that matter. It is not about your best life, your best body, your best year or anything like the titles that you find screaming at you from the covers of endless magazines in checkout queues.
This site is inspired by the psychologist Thomas Moore’s observation that our greatest affliction, individually and socially, is “loss of soul”. What is soul? I define it as our yearning for meaning and connection. In a frantic, achievement orientated society we have become disconnected from ourselves, each other and our planet. We yearn for more than Facebook-happy lives, but we are not entirely sure where or how to begin.
Soulfullness is about imbuing creativity into the life you have right now. It is about living with the messiness, the imperfection, the disappointments, the smiles, the angst and the joys that are inherent in everyday life – and finding fulfilment in this. It is about doing the laundry, seeing beauty in the smallest things and being enough. If, like me, you are a parent it is about those mornings when, as Oriah Mountain Dreamer writes so beautifully, you wake, “weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children”.
I am not an expert in soulfullness but it is a journey I need to go on. I came close to burn out for the third time in my life whilst still in my thirties (admittedly I started young with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in my teens). I have been working in the arena of social change for over twenty years and I am not sure that our approach to development is working. I am not sure how much longer we, or our planet, will survive. I have two young girls and I wonder about the kind of world that they and my grandchildren might live in. There must be another way…
How do I craft a life that nourishes myself and others? How do I guide my children so that they can experience fulfilment and deep satisfaction in their lives? Thomas Moore believes that the key lies is in our imagination. Our work as the cure-ators of our souls is, he recommends, to bring imagination to areas that are devoid of it, to provide a meaningful context for the challenges and turning points in our lives – just as priests, rabbis and imams do. For this reason he says care of the soul requires, “an artist’s sensitivity to the way things are done” (yes, even the laundry) for… “soul does not pour into life automatically. It requires our skill and attention.”
In short, I have created this site for myself, and I really hope that it will nurture and inspire you too. This site reflects my journey towards a life that is rich in meaning and connection and therefore this site is rooted in the city that has provided the canvas for my particular life. Cape Town lies at the tip of South Africa, a country that I love deeply, and Africa, a continent I long to explore. Many of the people and places that will be local for me, because that is the soul – the colour, texture and taste – of my world and my imagination.
Soon I imagine that this site will be brimful with content and if, as you read through it, you start feeling overwhelmed please pause – take a deep breath – and remember that soufullness is not about doing or taking on more, or even being more. Heaven forbid the section on practices become things to add to your to do list.
Integrating soul in to our lives is about being enough. It is about the art of embracing ourselves, our lives, each other and our planet exactly as we are. For therein, I believe, lies my healing, my hope and my greatest joy. And, I trust, yours too.