Sunday, January 13, 2013


 Exquisite nature photography by Mary Jo Hoffman. See more here

During the festive season
I made time
over a slow cup of coffee
to think about 
what I consider to be soul food.
 Food for MY soul.

Nature photography by Mary Jo Hoffman. Click

This is my LIST OF TWELVE:

1. Nature
Taking a few moments to observe nature raises my spirits and restores my energy fairly quickly. 

"The goal of life is to make your heartbeat
match the beat of the universe,
to match your nature with Nature".  
-  Joseph Campbell

2. Wilderness
Knowing I will be going into the wilderness once or twice a year goes a long way to keeping me happy. It's something we look forward to and plan from one holiday to the next. This category covers beach combing,  pebble gathering, toe dipping, walking walking... walking,  forest  languishing, mountain perching and generally immersing ourselves in nature and the beauty of our surroundings.

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity ... " - John Muir

Caroline Rannersberger. See website here

3. Space
Not only the wide open spaces of the countryside but also head space to hear myself think, to muse and to dream.

"When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life."  -  Jean Shinoda Bolen

4. Stillness
Without  stillness in my day I can actually feel myself wilt and it is just something I have to make time for or suffer the consequences.  In quiet solitude my art blossoms. There is nothing more calming and replenishing than the quiet time spent carving.

5. Nourishing books
While it has been so hot I've managed to get through a pile of books. 
My three favourites :
i) Every Day Sacred by Sue Bender
ii) Plain and Simple by Sue Bender
iii) Travelling Mercies by Anne Lamott

6. Poetry
"Good poetry begins with
the lightest touch,
a breeze arriving from nowhere,
a whispering healing arrival,
a word in your ear,
a settling into things,
then like a hand in the dark
it arrests the whole body,
steeling you for revelation ...... "
-  David Whyte (The Lightest Touch)
7. Art
Immersing myself in my own art or wallowing in the glorious art of others. Pinterest  is a good way to store art images..... and yes I do spend waaaaaay too much time there, but looking at the beautiful art on my boards is food for my soul. Follow the link and see for yourself.

"Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul." - Alice Walker

8. Writing
Forgetting where I am while writing my heart out.

9.The ritual of tea and coffee
A pause to catch up with oneself,  family and friends.

Thomas Bucci. Website here

10.  Discovery
 New ways of seeing ....  new ways of thinking .... new ideas ..... new places.

11. Laughter
Good rolling-on-the-floor belly laughs with my daughter and husband.
Infectious laughter circulating around a room of friends like a Mexican wave.

12. Blogging friends who share and understand my connection to all of the above

"There was a dawn I remember when
my soul heard something from your soul
I drank water from your spring
and felt the current take me."  -  Rumi

Nature photography by Mary Jo Hoffman

I hope you will share what you consider to be food for your soul.


  1. I could have written your list of Soul Food requirements. I would add hearing the voice of my children, neither of which lives near me. Sometimes I have to call just to hear those sweet melodies.

  2. Wonderful photos, great thoughts.

  3. Robyn
    C'est le silence que je lis entre vos mots.
    Un long silence qui mène à l'intérieur de soi et qui permet l'écoute de l'oeil et de l'âme.
    Qui appelle l'ouverture au beau.

    Et ce beau, vous nous l'offrez partout où vous posez la main (virtuelle).
    Ce beau, sans cesse renouvelé sur votre blog et sur Pinterest, nous nourrit et nous abreuve.

  4. Robyn, we have the same list, I would only add to that my furbabies
    and the birds I feed daily.
    Lovely post.

  5. Thank you for this beautiful post Robyn. I think I too should make a Soul Food list of things I cannot do without as a reminder. It would probably be very similar to yours actually. I love that you've added Pinterest, Coffee and Tea. Yes, the virtual world is nourishing. I'd probably add chocolate too when I make my list :)
    The last quotation by Rumi is especially beautiful and touching.

  6. Definitely, definitely, definitely. I just finished Anne Lamott's newest - "Help, Thanks, Wow" - I always enjoy her books.

  7. & music!
    "Oh sure, it's money that rules the world. It's music that holds down the friction."
    Ray Bradbury 1963
    NB wow! have just looked through your Amulets and Talismans board what a collection! so very inspiring I go back to the drawing board with a deepened sense of intent, every mark matters...

  8. music is the only other thing I would add, other wise, I am blissfully sighing right now... x

  9. Pretty much my list, too.... enjoyed the images as always and I have spent quite a bit of time in the past pouring through your Pinterest. Its amazing! Thanks for all you do and wishing you much soul food this season.

  10. Everyone of these are essentials in my book Robyn.. well I cannot tell a lie, I am a book browser.. To sit with only one till it is done, I find very difficult. and then they become stacked dangerously all over the house. Someday I'll grow and settle down.

    and I don't know how I missed your precious carved doll from a post or two back.. Loved it and the meaning behind the worn handled touch.

  11. To your wonderful list I would add - drawing daily for me has become a form of meditation - it quiets me and feeds my creativity.

  12. I felt myself physically relaxing and breathing a sigh as I was reading this post. What a perfect list.

  13. your list could be my list... plus music...

    this is a beautiful post, robyn.


  14. What a gorgeous post. I love your list and mine would be pretty similar with the addition of walking, putting words on a page as if they got there on their own and music. Thanks for this. I'll be thinking about my own list as I get ready for work.

  15. Very much the same for me. Good to be conscious of it and make time to nourish one's soul. Quietness, space, discovery.....

  16. Almost the same as my list. I must play something i love on the piano every day and I must read poetry but all of your suggestions strike a chord.

  17. thank you for the comment left at my blog. i love seeing what you pin on pinterest. that is where i see you the most, through your pins, as it happens i have a hard time keeping up with blogs...and like you, i like looking there and soaking up the images. i like your number six, the poem. i am off today to the cold beach for two days to just "be" and perhaps do some book reading. Love to you, n.

  18. p.s. what an absolutely beautiful nest.

  19. I love your list as well. Of Course!
    There are no calories here, :) after the long holiday of indulging.

    I would add laughter, humor which brings a spark of joy. Play -- walking barefoot in warm ocean water, light. Birdsong. Good food and conversation. Going dancing--rhythm in music language voice body water sky.

    Its a beautiful thing to be alive!


  20. yes,
    your list
    is mine too...

    deep listening
    gathering bits and pieces
    assembling these
    the light coming through...

    a wonderful post
    so refreshing
    many thanks

  21. what a wonderful list of nourishment! I can't really think of anything I would add. Perhaps in your "books" section I might add "Dharma talks" but really it is the same, just input, inspiration from wise beings.

    some movement of the body, I am nourished by qi gong.

    Thank-you so much for putting it into words so we can see it laid out before us; the things that are essential but sometimes we imagine we are too "busy" to do!

  22. Yes, indeed.

    And the perseverance to know that when we feel pulled and pushed by everyday life, this juicy nourishing list of soul food is always available to us, even in tiny bites.

    I think I will print this out and post it so I can be reminded.

  23. Love this. I love to laugh, really big laughter. Makes me feel new, brighter, alive.
    Helping/teaching someone anything makes me complete.
    Watching wildlife/animals do their natural things. To observe them, be touched by them. Makes my soul sing for days.
    Big puffy clouds touch my heart every time. It's a special day with just those clouds.
    I think my list could go on for days. Thank you for reminding me to think of these things and what they really mean to me, how they make me whole. big hug and a giggle

  24. Loved this post Robyn. It was food for my soul.
    Will take time now, or soon, to reflect on what my soul needs then come back and look at your list too.

  25. superbe liste de bonnes résolutions... pour le moment, je reste au nid..:)) bonne année 13!

  26. Thanks once again for reminding me of things and helping me to see new things. I love your list - it resonates, but it makes me want to set aside the time to do my own, to sit quietly and listen to the things that matter...

  27. i need all those, but also to see and feel a variety of fibres and yarns, i wander into a yarn or fabric shop and feel a kaleidoscope go off in my head, and then the ideas start to flow...that's one of my excuses for having such a large stash! ;) i took a 3 year old to my favourite fabric shop once and he ran around laughing and spinning with delight - and i thought, yes, me too!all the colours and textures and patterns...mmmm...

  28. It is good to occasionally reflect on what is important for you in life, and that's what you do with this log.

  29. Food for the soul. The perfect dozen. This could be a guide for many!

  30. Posts like this one are a food for my soul!:) Thank you, Robyn, for reminding me that the soul needs to be nourished and that this is one of the clues for happiness!
    I find lots of things in common in your list. I would add on my turn...
    Birds singing;
    Smells and sounds, provoking memories from my childhood;
    Hugs and kisses from/with my son;
    The birth of spring - the air, the buddies, the blossoms;
    A beautiful song that makes me sing it several days;
    The applauses of the children's audience...
    I'll come back to this post, I'm sure!

    Happy, Magical, Exciting New Year, with lots of laugh, love and inspiration, Robyn!

  31. I can't add to your list either....other than is all mine...and a reminder of how important it is to listen to and make room for it in our lives. Thank you again for another eloquent post. And I agree about new indulgence. I had no idea what world lays out there for us.....!

  32. Wonderful post Robyn! Stillness is my word for the will take me awhile to regularly get to stillness and so good to know you know how important it is to art making. Happy New Year!

  33. I'm so lucky to have the first 3 on my doorstep & to find stillness thru Yoga. I don't go to pintrest often but it was the titles of your sections that were most nourishing! As a contrast to stillness I love dancing about to that which they call 'retro' music, how dare they? Pure abandon ;)I would also add to hear the voices of my children, to feel their hugs, more often. But nourishment from the arms of my husband & the warm fur of my dog, that's daily.

  34. Thank you =Toda Raba [ in Hebrew] for this lovely post.
    i am reading your blog for quite some time now ,, and it speaks to my heart .
    Like you i look around me and am full with wonder about the nature, and art ,,, and much more

    {in Hebrew with traslation option]

  35. Lisa, it goes without saying that my precious husband and daughter are most important to me ...... and one day I hope and pray to have grandchildren in the fold :-)

    Thanks Helena.

    Francine, thank you so much. Being able to drop in to your blog, translate your poetic words with a click, look in awe at your art, and then, wonder of all wonders, to be able to communicate with you almost immediately...... it's mind boggling.... and food for my soul.

    Annie, indeed, the furbabies certainly work wonders for a weary soul and the birds feeding and bathing in the garden work their magic too. xoxo

    Priya, I'm trying not to think about the chocolate..... but it is always hovering ... and any excuse will do.

    Heather, Help Thanks Wow is on my wishlist and Grace Eventually is arriving next week.

  36. Mo, Yes and music!! Glad you enjoyed my Amulet board.

    Cat, there was a time when I could only work listening to music but when we moved to a garden full of monkeys I decided I wanted to hear when they arrived and not frighten them off so I adjusted very quicky to working in relative silence. I do love music though.

    Valerianna, having the forest on your doorstep must be a great source of food for your soul. We do have forests nearby but it isn't safe to go walking there unless there's your in a group so I save my forest walks for when we are in the Drakensberg.

    Gwen, I'm familiar with precarious book stacks :-)

    Carol Lee, creating art is indeed a meditation.

    Thanks Velma, hope you are better.

    Kathryn, when the pups calm down we could add them to the list. Digby is still very hyper and I find my heart rate goes up when he's at his bouncy best.

    Linda, :-)

    lynne h, xoxo

    Annie K, mulling over the list has a calming effect.

    Erna, indeed, stillness is my word for 2013 and I'm very surprised at how being conscious of it is actually very calming.

    Weaver, a lovely thought of you playing the piano each day.

    Nance, enjoy your quiet time at the beach xoxo

    Mansuetude, I daren't think of calories after all the feasting.... so chocolate and champagne are not on this list.
    Reading all the comments I can see my list could be much longer. Thanda xox0

    eb, witnessing the light coming through ... yes!

    ZenDotStudio, writing it down has been an interesting exercise. It has put me in a good frame of mind that has lasted for days.

    Leslie, writing the list and reading it from time to time has helped to keep me focused on what is good for me.

    PJ, I had to add laughter to the list after reading your comment. It is so important and can turn a really hard day into a breeze. Hugs to you xox

    Susan, it's surprising how writing it down can get one back on track.

    ELFI, I'm feeling the need to leave the nest for a while... to travel and discover something new :-)

    Fiona, indeed, sit quietly and make your own list. It's very therapeutic!

    singingbirdartist, oooo yes.... feeling textiles and enjoying the colours and patterns and textures.... delicious!
    I have a lovely picture in my mind of the little boy delighting in the shop full of fabrics.

    Wim, I'm surprised at just how good it has been to take the time to reflect on these things.

    Seth, the dozen started at 10 and it will probably extend to 15.

    Rossichka, thank you! You mention Spring and I could add Autumn ...

    overtherainbow, Pinterest was not all that appealing to me when I first looked at it but oh boy did that change!

    Mary Ann, Stillness is my word for the year too and though life hasn't been exactly calm the last few weeks I still find that being conscious of stillness has made a big difference.

  37. Emma, the view from your window must be uplifting. I am smiling at the thought of you dancing with wild abandon :-)

    Hi Mirjam, thank you!

  38. Stillness, quiet, nature, art, music, pets, real books, ideas, creating, truth.

  39. What a glorious list you've compiled here. It's the perfect way to set priorities for the new year. My list would be very similar to yours. Nature, space, stillness, art, books and many belly-laughs are some of the best things in life.

    Wishing you all the best for 2013!

  40. Robyn, here is one blog that is a food for my soul!!

    Go back to Toni's last year's drawings, too!!

  41. your list is so complete.. I can't think of any additions though your blog is definitely on of the top inspirations for me..
    many thanks for the reminders of what is truly important..
    my word for the year...exhale

  42. Dear Robyn, I love your list so much. I just finished a very busy spell with a workshop yesterday a few hours north of here in Medford, Oregon. The food for my soul this week includes stillness, poetry and art. I love your quotes and I will check your books! Have a wonderful week!

  43. I know where you can gain inspiration Robin, go to
    I did and it really helps ;-)

  44. Sand Hill Art, Real books.... I'm glad you said that. There's something more soulful about actually paging through a book ..... and smelling the book smell.

    Angela, a list that has become more glorious in actually seeing it written down.

    Rossichka, thanks so much for the link. It was a lovely surprise to see his art inspired by Africa.

    Thank you Lisa J, exhale .... I like that. Here's to a year of exhaling in awe.

    Roxanne, you will love the books!

  45. Wim... LOL ... I will make my way over there. Now the question is...When will you succumb to Pinterest... or have you already joined?

  46. I think when I visited here last time I got so into thinking of things inspired by this post that I wafted off and never commented or returned till now!
    Now, having just completed an important computer task that took ten hours and I would rather avoid its seems fitting to come here and breathe out, be reminded of essentials... notice the things you are touched by and require for solace and reverie.

    Because every Saturday just now we go house hunting as we ready to sell and move I come home to my room and notice the tiniest details of beauty that are in this small private space .. i see the old wood, the whole room in timber... and wonderful windows, the breezes I get, the green view outside... i think how utterly pleasing and special a space Ive had here for 4 years , especially knowing it will leave my life before long.

    Ive left so many homes... and I'm reminded how poignant and storied everything becomes in those moments of transition when the edge of things is near.Bittersweetness... and for me there has been much soul to be found in that... strangely true!
    thanks for so many stepping-off places for thinking Robyn... today and many times past!

    1. Sophie, whenever we clean up and paint a house ready for sale (and there haven't been many) we look at it through new eyes.... and wonder if we are doing the right thing but when the right house comes along it's exciting to have a new home to love and imprint with our tastes. I hope you find the perfect house soon.

  47. Robyn your list is perfect! Taking time to feed our souls is SO important. Nature is my #1 too:)

  48. Thanks Di. Sometimes we need to be reminded don't we?!

  49. Thank you for taking the time to write down your list for us. And the quotes and illustrations for it. Everything you have done here is food for my soul. thank you so very much.