Soul Food: Cleansing Your Spirit
the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul.
I love a good meal. I often use the topic of food to connect with others. Food is a universal language that we all speak. Everyone has a favorite meal or snack that makes their mouth water when they think about it.
Pizza is one of my favorites. I absolutely love the combination of bread, tomatoes, and cheese that forms the base of every yummy slice. And there is nothing better than getting a fresh slice of pizza hot out of the oven. I have been known to jump in my car and travel the distance just to get a good pizza.
I am sure that you have your favorite (or favorites). There is nothing like the feeling of eating your favorite dish. As you savor each bite, a satisfying feeling comes over you. We have coined that feeling into a category of culinary delights that we call "comfort food."
But have you ever asked yourself: What is comfort food? What makes it so satisfying?
If I think about my love for pizza, I can trace it back to a particularly precious childhood memory. I grew up in a small suburb in New Jersey. In that small town was a locally-owned pizza joint. My Dad would take us there, not for the pizza, but for the show.
The guys working behind the counter were entertainers in disguise. I can remember the thick smell of fresh baked yeast dough and tomato sauce enveloping the building. As you walked through the door, a warm breeze of air rushed over you, most likely from the blazing hot ovens that they used to bake their amazing pies. The space was filled with the smell and the sounds of the "pizzeria" guys behind the counter.
They wore white t-shirts, aprons, and hats. They were covered in flour. I would watch in amazement as they took a ball of dough, flattened it, and then begin to work it with their hands. In the middle of the air, the ball of dough was transformed into a thin flying disc. Around and around the disc would spin as they shouted words to each other (probably in Italian because I could not understand a word of it). They were joyful as they threw the discs into the air. If we were lucky, two of them would start at the same time and play a game of back and forth catch with their two discs. It was amazing to watch.
We would watch the show a while before ordering our slices of pizza (you know you are in a real pizza joint when they sell it by the slice!). I would watch them closely as they removed a fresh-baked disc from the oven and slid it onto wax paper. I would marvel as the whizzed their little wheel over the disc and removed my slice. They would place it on another piece of waxed paper and hand it over the counter to me. I would always make a mess with strings of mozzarella stretched from my mouth to my hand and tomato sauce dripping down my arm.
This is the "back-story" behind my love for pizza. I'm not sure if it is the pizza, or my memories of spending time with my Dad and sister on a lazy Saturday (which there were not many of those for my hard-working Dad).
You see, the pizza represents something that is much deeper. It is not just a physical experience. For me, it is an emotional experience.
Our lives are made up of these many little experiences. Some, like my pizza story, are comforting. But there are other stories that induce emotions that are quite the opposite. Those are the stories that I would rather forget, or that I refuse to consciously think about. But just like my need to drive across town for the "perfect slice," those not-so-good stories are "driving" some of my decisions.
This is why it is important that we do a "spiritual cleanse." What is this cleanse? It is an intentional focus on "clearing out" those negative emotions so that we can live a life that is free from the tyranny of those not-so-good stories.
Notice that I said "intentional." This is not something that just happens. You have to make a conscious decision to get rid of that emotional baggage.
But, how do we do that?
Well, I hate to tell you this, but you cannot get rid of what you are unwilling to unpack. Or put another way, you will not conquer what you are not willing to confront.
So, today, I want to encourage you to get our your pen and paper and begin writing. Write about the things that make you mad. Write about the things that make you cry. Write about the things that worry you.
The goal is NOT to solve the problem. The goal of this writing is to unpack those negative experiences and bring them into your conscious focus. This is your first step to freedom.
I want to tell you more, so look for additional "Soul Food" posts in the future.
Until next time, go be AWESOME and refuse to give up your UNIQUE.