Monday, October 7, 2013

Feed the Soul

I'm Mormon and twice a year, the leaders of my church hold a General Conference that is broadcast live from Salt Lake City to all the church buildings around the world (and homes with BYU TV). The purpose is to teach, uplift and encourage members of the church. The fall session of conference concluded this past weekend.

There are three sessions on Saturday and two on Sunday, each lasting two hours. It is a pretty intensive exercise in religious devotion but completely uplifting. The messages shared vary from doctrinal issues to informative talks that update the membership about church growth and service. With ten hours of commitment, it can seem like a very overwhelming task, sitting on a couch or pew for an entire weekend. If one just looked at it as an obligation, it would be overwhelming. But everytime I devote myself to listening I am uplifted.

We eat every day, we sleep every night. We watch television and movies, we read books. Some of us exercise daily. How often do we feed our souls? I try to fit it in every day, but that doesn't always work out so well. As a Latter Day Saint (or Mormon), I'm taught to fit God into my day, all day long...and it can be a tough thing to do. Self-care, family-care, work obligations, these things all fight for my waking hours. I do know that when I take ten minutes to search out spiritual direction (by way of scripture study) my day feels more...complete. Book-ending the days with prayer gives me direction and clarity, support even, as I attempt to make each morning, afternoon and evening count for something.

These General Conference weekends also help me to feel value and worth as a child of God. It's a big, spacious and sometimes cruel world. When my soul is fed, the world feels less oppresive. I feel motivated to be nice without expectation. So these ten-hour weekends serve as a sort of spiritual re-fill that guides me for the next six months, at least until the next conference is held. I get a chance to sip at the fountain of inspiration each week with Sunday worship, and my daily study sometimes adds to the process (though I could do better, I'll admit). But there is nothing quite like General Conference.

So why discuss this on a writing blog? Well, I feel very strongly about the importance of feeding the spiritual side of our being. If that is void of nurishment, there must be consequences in other areas of our lives. I'm not sure that this is true in every case, but a life lived without spiritual direction would probably yield a writing oeuvre reflective of that void...representing an unwhole perspective and view on life, maybe even darkness and confusion, and who wants that? I don't. I want my writing to illuminate truth and beauty. Sure, sometimes it is necessary to illustrate the painful parts of a life, but to have it dominate one's efforts? Boy, I couldn't imagine that.

When my soul is fed, it is reflected in my writing. It is upbeat and uplifting. It is inspired, even. The words flow and the message hits home (or, at least I feel like it does).

What do you do to fill your spiritual cup? Does the writing come more naturally when you feel whole? Or do you thrive off chaos and confusion? Let me know, I'd love to hear about your inspired stories.