Tending the Soul

Soul Tending
Using Creativity to Explore the Symbols that lead us to Wholeness

“The Soul never speaks without an image.”

The first step in Soul tending is noticing, paying attention and “attending” (the word attend from Latin—means to stretch one’s mind towards).  Attend to the objects, people, phrases, images, bits of nature, or dream fragments that catch your attention.  This is your Soul speaking and stretching towards you, giving notice, asking YOU to stretch towards it.  I actually like to think of it as the Soul reaching from the center of our being and slapping a big post-it note on something outside us way off in the distance (which is where our attention often is!).  These post-its, or Soul Notes, can lead us to experience new levels of wholeness if we pay attention and "read" them.

The second step is to "read" the note: notice when you notice, and take note!

The third step is about using your imagination to take note - use creative process, in some way, to amplify the symbol or image to understand it – not to analyze it and break it open - but to be in dialog with your own Soul.

Here are some ways to do this:


Simply going for a walk outside with an open-minded presence can bring you in touch with a view, sound, or natural object your Soul needs.  When you are captivated by the sweep of a hill, the curve of a tree branch, or the lone feather you find at your feet take note and photograph or sketch the image in your journal.  Back home, or right in the “field”, spend some time reflecting on this image that caught your attention. Try free-writing for 10 minutes about it, circle the significant words then use those words to write a haiku or free verse poem.

WORKS OF ART (including books, films, plays paintings etc):

“Works of art are vessels for human understanding and awareness and by meditating on them we spark our own creative spirit”
                                                                        --Lucia Cappachione

When a work of art impresses you deeply or effects you emotionally ask yourself:  What meaning does it have for me?  What inner wisdom or conflict is being mirrored back to me?

Use your journal to draw, sketch, or write your reflections.


If you only remember one fragment or image in a dream, draw it in your journal.  Let the drawing introduce itself in first person and tell you about itself.

If you remember your whole dream try drawing or painting 1 scene or a cartoon version of the whole dream—see where this leads…

You can also practice this form of self-discovery with daydreams or recurring fantasies that you may have.


What makes your blood boil?:  The next time a person’s comment, or a story on the news raises your blood pressure instead of running with your standard reactions take the feeling to your art journal. Remember that your reaction is a post-it note from your Soul calling for attention!  Smear some color that represents how you feel.  Write or doodle with your non-dominant hand about the situation.  Look through a magazine quickly and pull images that jump out at you to collage into your journal page. 

Practicing this doesn’t mean you will make the feeling go away but you may come to understand it more, make it more conscious and in some way metabolize what it is that is disturbing you. 

You can also practice this with people and situations that touch your heart deeply, move you spiritually, or bring a sense of awe or wonder.

©Elise Crohn, 2014 www.JuicyCreatives.com