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Working on the Soul Eight-Pack

We all tell lies. Mostly by omission. And on social media it seems we tell them with the most ease.

Facebook streams show off baby animals and our latest shoe purchases, our favorite ranting editorials and serio-comic videos, but reveal nothing about the results of our latest lab work or even the appointment for a doctor’s visit.

Instagram feeds spotlight our last photogenic dinner out but not the redundant hours of mindless eating in front of our TV or computer.

Twitter threads keep us up to date with real-time tragedies unfolding but can never have space enough for us to communicate the depth of our feelings for the news we’re devouring, even as the number of characters we’re allowed to use gets doubled.

And we’re all so very, very busy.

But how are we nurturing our poor souls? They’re left neglected on the plastic-covered couch out in the garage, gathering dust and rodent droppings.

So, it’s time to develop a soul workout!

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself fighting this with as much facility as you (or at least I) do about going to the gym or getting out of bed on a rainy day. But once you carve out the time and space, this particular workout is gorgeously scrumptious.

Here’s a game plan:

Call up (or text) two-to-three of your most authentic friends and invite them over for a coven meeting.

Here are some parameters for the meeting itself:

It must take place in a home, not over brunch or cocktails or a football game.

It must involve a minimum of two hours without interruption from other people or technology — meaning: no mobile, no internet, no partner or child wandering through.

It must be conducted without agenda or objective. This is not a book-club gathering or a wine-tasting or a game night.

Wine, tea, or other beverage of your choice and nibbles are permitted. Obsession over the state of your home and its cleanliness, size or sophistication is not.

Here’s the routine:

Talk. Just talk.

And listen. Just listen.

About what’s really going. About what’s behind the Instagram filters and pithy tweets and carefully thought-out Facebook Live streams.

Discuss the BIG questions. And take stabs at some answers. Pull back the curtain. And the doubts. And the worries. And all that “ugly stuff” you don’t want to burden anyone with, the “downer” stuff, the growing pains of life.

We’ve lost the nourishing of quilting bees and sewing circles and fishing weekends — the spaces that lent themselves to silence and contemplation and secrets revealed and epiphanies shared.

And we’re suffering for it. As a society. As individuals.

So break the cycle of emotional lethargy. And nourish your hungry soul. I bet you’ll find you really like the results. After all, eight-packs are hell-o-sexy.


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