“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
“She not about to change now.”
Such remarks assume that our souls wear down alongside our physical selves: that the uniqueness that is you and me develops age spots, wrinkles, and osteoporosis. I can see where folks get that idea; with aging, some people close in on themselves, growing brittle and bitter. But it need not be so. Indeed, with the children grown and a level of vocational competence achieved, we gain the freedom to tone our souls.
No matter what age we are, we’re just getting started—there’s much more to each of us than this suit of skin can contain.
Below are some fitness options for a good “soul workout.”
1. Be available to different opinions: read a book that professes an opposing worldview, or hang out with folks from that “other party.”
2. Tone our brains: take on a subject that’s always been a challenge, be it an online philosophy course (iTunes U offers some great courses) or a workbook on mathematics. Thanks to Rosetta Stone, I’m having moderate success learning Spanish.
3. Create: whether we tend a garden, write a poem, or decorate our workspace, creative process supplies restorative oxygen to our souls.
4. Serve: walking in another’s shoes and tending to another’s needs, keeps our souls & soles supple.
5. Practice prayer: Connecting with God our morning and evening pillow, as we work, on the highway (eyes open, please!) supplies needed electrolytes to our wearied soul muscles.
Whether we’ve eight or eighty, our souls are an infinitely renewable resource. Given regular exercise, they’ll grow heartier and more limber with age. What are your practices for toning soul muscle? I’d love to read them!