As an Earth Warrior you’re probably familiar with the feeling of a soul calling, something that you are just driven to do regardless what your head says about it, and you definitely know about sustainability; but if you’re like me you hadn’t put them together. In fact, it took a big crash in the form of burnout and its yucky side effects for that light bulb to turn on. We don’t have to sacrifice ourselves. Beyond that, when we come from a place of strength we have so (SO) much more capacity for success. The practice of soulstainability is how we get there.
Soulstainability = soul’s calling, sustainably followed.
Let’s use the analogy of a river. The path of the river is like your soul’s calling, the pull to ever move downstream. The water is your life force energy. If a river runs dry it can’t support the people, plants and animals that live from it, and it doesn’t move downstream. For you, if you have no energy, physically, mentally or emotionally, then you have nothing to give to the ‘ecosystems’ you support. These can be critical things like your health, but also your Warrior projects, career, relationships, and even your sense of self. Your soul’s calling languishes and you feel empty. Conversely, if your river isn’t healthy and along comes a flood, like a flow of passion or a busy time, then erosion and pollution is the likely result, undermining the structures of your life just as thoroughly as that drought.
Healthy rivers have resilience. Floods and droughts are part of life, and they contribute to more diverse, vibrant ecosystems in the scheme of things. Same goes for your life! You can build your resilience and ride out those floods and droughts, and have a clean and abundant flow of life force energy most of the time to nourish what is important to you. That choice to become a thriving, resilient Warrior is the practice of soulstainability.
Each of us is as unique as each different river system on the planet, so we will each have to discover what best helps us to thrive (in the health coaching world we call this bioindividuality). My approach is a mix of expert advice, lay-stories, and try-it-for-yourself-and-see. So for example for me through this approach I’ve discovered that stabilising the bed of my river includes things like getting enough sleep and avoiding the food that makes me ill. The non-negotiables that set off systems failures if they fall. My riparian vegetation (also extremely important daily practices but not instant collapse if I miss one day) are things like eating loads of veggies, my exercise, and meditation. Then in the catchment there are all the other things that contribute to my wellbeing – great friendships, fulfilling work, family time, stimulating learning, time in nature, and the list goes on. The more of that stuff I can get in my life the more it is like planting a forest or creating healthy soil to sustain the river in the long run with that resilience we’re after. I can also start to identify the things that aren’t good for my river, the weeds, pollution, or dams if you will. I call soulstainability a practice, because as you know, weeds come all the damn time and it’s good to stay on top of them! The more we practice the stronger and more resilient we become in the face of any stressor.
If this river analogy works for you, have a think about what makes up your stable river bed and banks, and what happens in your healthy catchment. Maybe you can even identify some of your weeds. To go further, spend 10 minutes writing it down, then take a step back and compare it to how you would spend your average week. What is one thing you can do for yourself this week to grow your soulstainability? What ensures a clean and abundant flow of your energy? Schedule it in and make it a priority.
If you’d like some soulstainability tips you will find seven of my favourites in my mini e-book ‘Beginners Guide to Soulstainability’ (free of river analogies), now ready to go when you sign up for my emails. I’d be honoured to start showing up in your inbox, but you can still opt out at any time and still keep the ebook. Just pop your details in the box below! You’ll get a confirmation email, so if you don’t see it check your junk mail.
Credit: I first saw the word soulstainability on Lisa Cox’s blog, and it just clicked! I made up my own definition.