We do this for babies don't we? We take a tiny little life and cuddle and kiss the bejesus out of them. We nibble on little fingers and sing and talk baby talk to them all day long. We hold, carry, rock, sway, nurse, change and dote on them for hours at a time. Some of us let the little treasures sleep in our rooms and never let them out of our sight. Why? Because we know that they are precious and that their little spirits and bodies need nurture or they won't be able to survive. They need us so deeply. The act of loving a baby gives most parents a sense of fulfillment so deep that we would think of doing nothing else.
It's the same with our animals. My dogs need me to give them food, water and walks. They need me to take them out to the bathroom - they would eventually take care of that themselves, but I'd rather not deal with the fall out. I am responsible to nurture their bodies, but I also nurture their souls by talking with them, petting them and playing with them. I let them sit on my lap and pester me. I tend the flame of their spirits and they in turn bless me with unending love and joy.
As our children grow, we teach them how to tend to their own spirits. Hopefully we teach them to care for themselves both body and soul. We teach them how to form positive relationships with others that make them laugh and feel good about themselves and where they in turn can give love to others. We train them in the ways that we believe will make them fulfilled and happy individuals.
And, we all hope that our children will form relationships that will continue the nurture of their spirit. We hope for great mates that will be confidants and blessings to them. We hope they will have work that will both fulfill them and provide them with adequate resources to live and extra so that they can enjoy some of the finer things in life like travel and entertainment. We trust that they will learn to share with others what they have so that the love can be spread around to others.
This is the cycle that makes our spirit world go round and round.
BUT.... there's a glitch in the plan and we all know it! There are babies that are NOT nourished and children that are neglected and abused. Even the most attended child can have something bad happen to them or become spoiled because we were TOO attentive! They in turn can lash out and hurt other people. The result: wounded spirits everywhere. By the time we make it to our teenage years, we are bleeding all over the place. Once an adult, forget about it... half of us are just trying to survive.
The result is people are desperate to tend the flames of their souls and find all kinds of ways to try to fill the void! Most of them not only don't work, but cause even greater rifts that build over time to their utter and complete destruction! UGH!
The answer? It's always going to be like this and we know it. We can only change a little piece of the world - ours. So, it's time to fan your flame and the flames of those you love, one stroke at a time. It's time that we decide that our flame can no longer be fanned with ridiculous substitutes and go to the Source for our answers. If you are a spiritual person, you know where your Source lies. If you aren't, it may be a good time to survey your life and see where your meaning comes from.
I think that many of us don't know that our spirit is lying wilting on the ground. I've got a few plants that I forgot to water and I'm wondering if they will come back to life again. Fortunately, your spirit is more resilient than my flowers! Reach in and apply CPR to your heart or those around you who need it! You may find that as you are reviving their beat, your heart will become more healthy as well. We all need each other!
How do we fan the flames? Is there something your loved one wants to do (something non-destructive I mean)... give them permission to do it - even help fund it if you can. Encourage each other. Affirm each other's gifts and ideas. Spend time with each other sharing and listening to their hearts. Hug, kiss and tell each other what they mean to you. Smile for goodness sake! Don't take yourself and other's so seriously! We all mess up.... give out grace, and bestow some on yourself too! How about forgiveness? Don't bother holding a grudge... it only hurts you.
If you need more ideas... try these.... patience, joy, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, love, peace.... There's a good start. If we can treat others with a heart full of love, we will go a long way in tending both our spirit and the spirits of those around us. Try it out... it's good for the soul!