Updated: Jan 1
Image courtesy of Daniel Hannah @https://pixabay.com/illustrations/eye-creative-galaxy-collage-4997724/
Move over chicken soup, there’s something our souls need even more in these trying times—soul literacy.
What is soul literacy?
Soul literacy is our ability to identify, process, and release our emotions. It requires us to be fully aware of how our thoughts, emotions, beliefs and physical sensations all manifest in our behaviors and relationships. Being fully literate doesn’t mean you're an enlightened guru who never loses your temper or remains calm in every situation. It means that when you do you are able to slow down, exercise self-compassion and work towards understanding what your soul is seeking to learn and your inner child is seeking to communicate. To be fully soul literate you must become the expert on your most important and precious being—you.
There’s no app for that
Nurturing and caring for our soul, while also getting to know who we really are and how we tick, isn’t something we’re taught. It’s not even something our society really encourages. Sure there are emotion charts for children on how to identify and name emotions, but anything more insightful beyond emotional identification is unavailable. And just because it’s not encouraged or unspoken doesn’t mean children aren’t still in desperate need of it.
Of course, to say a child needs soul literacy training is to blatantly say that humans beings are more than their brains and physiology. It is to ascribe to the belief that there is a piece of divinity inside each of us with a purpose and mission for being here in this human experience.
And if you’re reading this and feeling like maybe this doesn’t resonate for you, that’s perfectly ok. I’m not here to change hearts and minds.
I’m here to say that children living through these incredibly overwhelming and terrifying times need more than emotion charts and positive psychology tips and tricks. They need to learn how to be present, how to handle strong emotions, to discover what their purpose is on this planet, to fully awaken to who they are. They need to learn how to handle rejection, to allow things to fall a part, to know they have the strength to persevere. The question becomes:
"How will children learn soul literacy from the adults in their lives who don’t possess self-awareness, self-soothing skills or self-compassion?"
This is why I have written the Milo series. It’s also why I do resiliency coaching and am in the midst of creating a program to go along with the Milo books. Because, parents and children need a lifeline and sometimes that lifeline can come in the simplest most accessible way—in a children’s book.I tell parents that Milo is the equivalent of baking broccoli into macaroni and cheese. The goodness and nutrients are there, but a child doesn’t even realize they are learning. Through Milo, children learn how to identify emotions in their bodies, how to be present in the moment through mindfulness, how to have self-compassion, how to persevere and how to have empathy for others.
Over the past year, some parents have said that they weren’t sure their kids were ready for the first book because of the suffering Milo endures very early on in the book. It’s interesting because I wrote the book purposely to address this notion that suffering is a part of life and also that we are perfectly equipped to heal from it. I chose a sea star (starfish) as the main character because losing arms are a natural part of life for them, just as suffering is a natural part of life for humans. When we normalize this, we create children and adults who can embrace suffering and adversity and grow from these kinds of experiences. I understand wanting to protect children from any pain. It’s natural! But in the end, if we only allow our children to experience positive things without struggling or the suffering that comes with taking chances, learning or even just being alive, then we will have adults that:
Have low self-esteem
Have a very low tolerance for stress and big emotions
Are prone to suicide when they are overwhelmed or facing major adversity
If you’re interested in learning more about how to increase your soul literacy, please feel free to reach out. I’d also love to hear feedback from you guys on what you think would be most helpful for you and your children. I’m happy to answer questions and offer resources.
I’m also working on getting the second Milo book into the world. So stay tuned there.
Sending so much love!