The Story of “Feed Your Soul Friday”
Sometime on the night of the 16th of September my big sister Jem passed away. She felt she couldn’t live with her pain anymore. She wanted an end. So she took her own life.
If you’ve lost a loved one before, you know the deep sorrow you feel at never being able to see that person again… you want more than anything for them to jump out as if they were hiding and laugh, “It’s not real – I’m still here.”
And you see them in everything… a song, a picture… a place you used to hang out… it’s as if the whole world is conspiring to remind you that they’re gone. At least, that’s how it’s been for me.
It’s been the most overwhelming thing I’ve ever been through. The truth is at any moment I’m at risk of falling in a heap and crying out my feelings of guilt, my feelings of loss… my feelings of “I just want to see my damn big sister again…”
An unexpected source of support
About a month after it happened, I sent a note to my email list telling them I hadn’t been in contact because of Jem’s passing. I was hesitant to hit the send button. I thought somehow by telling semi-strangers about what happened I’d be cheapening things.
But I was wrong.
Because the response to the email helped me remember some beautiful things about the world. Things that get lost in the day-to-day grind… the 24/7 news cycle… and the partisan political battles we often find ourselves in…
Here’s what I remembered:
That people – when it comes down to it – are fundamentally good.
They want to help each other.
They band together when things are tough.
Basically, they care.
Unfortunately, it sometimes takes grief or a big negative to show us this. But that’s also why grief has a sad beauty to it – it washes away all pretence and remind us of what’s important.
The difficult thing is that this feeling of clarity… of beauty… is often replaced by the distractions of life almost as quickly as we’re reminded of it.
But I don’t want to forget.
I want to remember.
And I want, more than anything, to carry it forward.
That’s what “Feed Your Soul Friday” is all about.
A heart-felt reply…
One of the replies I got to the note I sent my email list came from a friend who I’ve never met personally – a copywriter named Scott Mills. In it, he suggested I find something that reminds me of the beauty of life. To adopt some hobby or past time that pulled me into the present.
He called it “feeding your soul”.
Here’s what he wrote:
Scott’s advice ended up being an immense help during trying times.
Now, I want to pass his message onto you.
I invite you to pick one small thing you can do each Friday that “feeds your soul”. Something that relaxes you and that you truly love. Even if other people think it’s cheesy. Here are some examples:
- Going for a 10-minute walk in the park at lunch time
- Working half your day outside under the shade of a tree
- Calling your dad, mum, brother or sister to see what they’re up to
For Scott and his wife – and now me and my girlfriend Jess – it has become about getting outside into nature. So if you’re struggling to think of something, you might try that.
A helpful counter to entrepreneurial stress
I encourage everybody to take up “Feed Your Soul Friday”. But I think it’s especially important for entrepreneurs, the self-employed… and anybody consumed by a mission.
These are often lonely endeavours that take sacrifice. And unfortunately, the price we pay is difficulties with stress, fear, isolation… and a range of other emotions that put our mental health at risk.
I believe that doing one small thing each Friday that reminds you of the beauty of life can be a helpful way to ease these emotions. Especially if you’re doing it tough.
By the way, all this is not to say I think I have anything worked out about life that other people haven’t. In fact, it’s my intention that putting this out in the world will serve as much as a reminder for me… as it will for other people.
I also think it’s a fitting tribute to my big sister, who was the most caring soul I’ve ever met.
P.S. If this resonates with you, and you think that your friends or family could benefit from “Feeding their Souls” on Friday, please share it. The more the merrier. And if you feel like emailing me and telling me what you’ve done to “feed your soul” on any given Friday, don’t hesitate. I’d love to hear about it.