by Maria Sylvester

There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life. There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine. O Traveler, if you are in search of that, don’t look outside, look inside yourself and seek that.

~Rumi

So often, clients find their way to me for life coaching because of feeling overwhelmed or defeated by life. They long to feel vibrantly alive, inspired and reenergized. As the first order of the day, I always encourage them to consider establishing routines or habits that are soul-nourishing, life-affirming, and energy-inducing. A habit, I remind them, is defined as: “a settled or regular tendency or practice followed until it has become almost involuntary.” Embracing good habits can create powerful results!

I have three favorite effective habits that work like magic when seeking to refuel and enrich one’s life. The first is the habit of simply slowing down. So many of us unknowingly slip regularly into an often fast-paced, frenetic, wildly harried lifestyle. This way of being can limit or diminish the likelihood of one feeling satisfied or fulfilled. The unfortunate impact of a fast-paced driven existence can be a sense of disconnection and alienation from oneself and others. What is needed is a time for slowing down, and maybe even of sensory withdrawal; of closing one’s eyes and ears to the world for a few moments in order to enter more deeply into yourself.

If you can make slowing down a routine experience in your life, the benefits you’ll enjoy will be immense. Consciously slowing down mentally, emotionally, and physically moves you into a more mindful, centered place. From this state, you can better appreciate and savor whatever is before you. Slowing down can become an intentional, deliberate way of moving in the world, and at the same time still allow you to be highly productive, creative, and successful. In fact, by slowing down, you connect more deeply with the relevant aspects of yourself necessary to more easily complete whatever tasks or duties are calling you. Less becomes more when you perfect the habit of slowing down! You can go deep, rather than wide, and appreciate the exquisiteness of a given moment or situation in a way that is impossible when racing through your day.

The second habit that facilitates great soul nourishment is simply to get really good at clarifying. By this, I mean clarifying what really matters to you. The more you can clarify what is most important to you, what might bring you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment, the more meaningful life will feel. Clarity fuels deliberate actions. Deliberate actions fuel great results! By asking yourself what you desire or wish to see happen — for instance, when you connect with a friend, attend a special event, or make your way through your work day — you have better focus and get more satisfying, personally meaningful outcomes. In addition, clarifying how you want to embrace a particular problem or challenging circumstance can’t help but lead to a more effective resolution. To live from the heart of what really matters, you have to first take time to ponder exactly what that might be. If you have mastered the first habit of slowing down, then I guarantee that the answers you seek when striving for clarity will come more easily too.

The third habit that is a powerful key to a juicy, rich, dynamic life is that of whole-hearted engagement. Letting yourself live fully in any given moment has profound impact on the degree one feels vibrant, energized, and truly alive. What is whole-hearted engagement? It is the ability to fully focus and commit to being present in the moment. Present without judgment, guardedness, or defensiveness. Present for moments good and bad. Present, awake, and emotionally available for whatever is before you. For when you are present in this way, you feel with all your senses. You allow yourself to open to the essence of whatever is happening. And this full opening of yourself is what brings magnificent feelings of satisfaction, deep fulfillment, and the sheer pleasure of meaningful existence. Now that is what I call soul nourishment!

Maria Sylvester, MSW, CPC is a certified Life Coach in Ann Arbor, MI who loves empowering adolescents, adults, and couples to live from the HEART of what really matters to them so that they can bring their fully expressed, vibrant selves into the world. She has a special gift for helping women reclaim their feminine power, and embrace their radiant, sensual, sexy spirits. Their lives transform. They soar into their mid-life magnificence!