Community, History & Traditions

Sunday Sayings – The Soul

Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.”

Dorothy Day

Scallops and waldorf salad
Scallops salad

My daughter asked me yesterday, ” What really is the ‘soul‘?” Her intellectual brother-in-law quipped it was part of a shoe, and his partner added that it was the Capital of South Korea! But I knew what ‘soul’ she was referring to, but I’d never really explained it in simple terms before, so I was momentarily speechless.


Each time I tried to define that immaterial part of a human; that spirit self which we might deem to constitute a soul, I found it was difficult to explain without using some kind of religious reference. And I am not religious!

In order to find clues that might point to an explanation of such existential matters, I turned to the traditional proverbs and sayings. As usual, they were a good source of information.

Some proverbs intrinsically link the concept of a soul with nationhood and language, identitiy itself, perhaps. This appears to occur across a variety of the world’s cultures, and ones as diverse as Scottish Gaelic and Irish, to Malay, Spanish and Indonesian.

Bahasa jiwa bangsa. Bahasa menunjukkan bangsa.
Language is the soul of a nation. Language represents the nation.

Indonesian Proverb
Ron Mueck
Ron Mueck

Apparently, King Solomon tied the concept of a ‘soul’ to personality traits and interactions with others:

“Your own soul is nourished when you are kind;

it is destroyed when you are cruel.”

Whilst Aristotle is thought to have said:

The soul never thinks without a picture.”

the Mexicans contrastingly focused on what nourished the soul:

Conversation is food for the soul.

Mexican Proverb

and it was the Polish that thought mostly of its expression:

Conscience is the voice of the soul.

Polish Proverb

What does the concept of the ‘soul’ mean for you?

Do the sayings reflect the relevance of the meaning of the word today?

Does one’s soul play an intrinsic part of your identity, or is it significant in determining your values, or life’s purpose?

Or is it rather only an ethereal, mystical entity of which you feel detached from, in real life?

I invite you to join in the discussion by leaving a comment.

Everyone’s opinion is important. What is yours?

Mostly anonymous, proverbs are a portal through time to generations past and echo a diverse range of cultures. They speak of the experiences of many lessons learned and the wisdom from thousands of lives already lived. They offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton.

Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.


Five Minute Free Writing – Day 9

31 Days challenge is to write freely for five minutes without editing – on the topics listed on the landing page – one topic each day for 31 days. I have called mine –


Trust –

Five letters that must be gradually nurtured lest [it] they  be broken.

I read somewhere on social media today that betraying someone’s trust is like crumpling a piece of paper. You may iron out the wrinkles but some of them still remain. I think this is a valid comment, at least in my world. The hurt and resentment that comes with a breach of trust is hard to forget. We can forgive but we can’t always forget.  The wounds run that deep. Particularly when it is someone near and dear to us that is the betrayer! And it hurts! So painful is the feeling of disbelief  and shock that this has happened.

Trust is overlaid with many expectations. Trusting someone and learning when to trust and when not to trust, is entrenched with your own individual values.

“I trusted you,” we often hear when someone lets us down.

I know people with trust issues. They trust no one, which leaves them vulnerable to constantly checking that everyone, including themselves, have acted correctly. Kind of obsessive, you think? How exhausted they would feel, wrung out almost?

Considering all the possibilities and potential for human interaction, in the world, it is surprising that we can trust any other human at all. Why would you trust the skills of a complete stranger to give you a lift/ street directions? Why would you entrust your child to the care of a babysitter?

Because generally we can say that people are inherently good and not malevolent.

Trust me.

Something to Ponder About

More topics in this challenge here