“Soul Dates”: when it’s time to ditch To-do Lists and find a new devotion to Self

Soul Date on the cliffsFriday morning, I wake, put on the kettle, and feel my ever increasing To-do list banging at my temples. Recently relocated, I feel I will never get on top of all that needs to be done to have even a modicum of stability in this new life I have led my daughters and self into.

My head demands I address the list. My soul quietly asks otherwise.

The head might have won; it so often does, always the louder, older brother deafening out the gentler tones of a wisdom with nothing to prove. But I recently made a promise – to myself and a roomful of students: Find my No’s and remember that it doesn’t all need to happen now. And, so I nervously turn my back on the To-do List’s shouts, head to my car not my laptop, and drive off feeling like a kid playing hooky.

I pull out of the drive, and feel an instant twang of joy as I join the familiar road winding its way to liberation. Another chord of sweetness at my first sighting of the distant glistening ocean. More as I take in the smell of eucalyptus from the open window, and notice the light and shadow teasing out their dance between the redwoods lining the way. And, as I wind my way down toward the ocean, “How could I have waited so long to claim this day and delight?”, is the only question left inside my mind.

I need no map for where I am heading, I know exactly where I want to go. Nor do I need any companion other than the mellow tones beating out from my rental car’s speakers. I am more happy and alive than I have felt in weeks and my soul knows exactly what she wants and where she wants to take me.

I call these days a “Soul Date”, it’s something I encourage my clients to do and yet too often in my frenzied life forget to give myself. Like all good dates, a Soul Date is sensuous and intimate and should be planned by listening deeply to what you truly long for. It’s a day of devotion to self, a day for sensuously turning toward ourselves and getting re-connected with our deepest self and urges.

What Is Your Soul’s Ideal Date? Where would you take yourself? What would feed you at the deepest level?

My first stop is to get an almond chai latte from a café in a Feed Barn. I stop to take photos of the autumnal rainbow colours of produce and pumpkins on the store’s verandah and notice how rarely I have paused in the busyness of the last few weeks. Simply savouring the smell of the straw bale I’m sitting beside, tasting the honey in the chai I am sipping and pausing to take in the scene starts to soften my senses and heart. I meander into my favourite bookshop, greedy for the beauty other people’s words offer. A good hour passes before I step out again with my bag now heavy with new purchases. I sit in the window seat of a café and dip springy bread into creamy pumpkin soup, simultaneously devouring the words from one of my new books.

The deepest yet simplest joy for me is having no agenda than the current of my own desires: No to dessert, yes to the beach; and I pay the check and head to my car.

I imagine that I will walk for miles on the empty beach but instead I find my body moving towards the dunes. An armchair of sand awaits me. I sink in, grateful to be held. Tall stiff grass tickles my face, my eyes close to the sun’s intensity, the rhythmic repetition of the ocean becomes my lullaby. It takes nothing else to transport me. Heaven is in that armchair of sand.

“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak”

“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak” is not just a clever platitude for a Yoga T-shirt; it’s a sentence that contains a profound truth. In our busy, frantic lives, how often do we really carve out time to hear the truth of who we really are? How often are we still enough or quiet enough to heed what it is we actually long for? How often do we really slow down enough to receive all that’s out there waiting for us.

A Soul Date is space to do just that. It is a You day with your particular flavours, a day to ditch the To-Do Lists and usual routine of obligations that hijack life. It’s a way to carve out a pause for your Being, dedicated time for you to respond to you. For me that day it was a day at the beach; for you it might be an afternoon ambling around a gallery, or a day at a spa, or a weekend spent dosing in bed. Sometimes it may be a day for simply looking out of the window at the rain, or for sitting in the garden with your journal on your lap.

When was the last time you placed your attention away from technology towards yourself?

There is no right way to have a Soul Date, just so long as you give yourself the attention and care you hear your soul longing for. Have it be a simple day, a slow one, a gentle day of meandering, of following one’s own flow and life force, a day replacing technology with listening internally to oneself. A day away from all the usual distractions that so loudly interrupt the articulations of our souls.

The temptation to not take my Soul Date was immense, so many to do’s pompously demanding my attention. And, yet, I left my Soul Date nourished and rejuvenated, asking myself only one thing: why do I forget to gift myself these days? I drove home not wanting to switch my phone back on and I could feel my neglected Soul delighted to have been re-wooed!

I imagine yours might too! So, my invitation to you: book yourself a Soul Date, put it on your calendar and, however loud the voices, do not allow it to be usurped. Listen instead to how your deepest being would like to spend the day and follow your soul’s instructions. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

I’d love to hear your story…

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