How to Level Up and Source Your Soul Foods

Jewels from the Underworld

Will Franks 🌊
ILLUMINATION

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Dragon Dance (made with Midjourney)

Today I have some gold to share.

I have begun an experiment in making a list of “50 Soul Foods”: the activities that bring me most outrageously, ecstatically and blissfully alive.

I’m learning that as I figure out how to source these foods myself, instead of waiting for life and chance to bring them along, then I can really charge ahead in living my best life. Level up. And it’s working.

Here I will share as much as I can to help you do the same.

Recently I learnt (in a Possibility Lab with Patricio Diaz), the distinction between heart foods and soul foods.

And also, how it is easy to confuse the two.

Heart foods come from connection, community, healing, intimacy. They primarily nourish the emotional body.

Soul foods, however, are about nourishing one’s energetic and archetypal bodies by doing the work and creating the beauty that only you can.

The work that you came here, in this specific incarnation, to do.

It’s a very helpful discovery to know that no amount of heart food is going to enrich one’s soul on this level.

Personally I experience this as a incredible release and

This happens when I give time to writing (and I now focus entirely on writing that which I don’t see anybody else writing, or hearing anyone else say; that’s how I know I have a unique message and I am aligning with my soul’s contribution to the global village. It also comes when I jam and improvise music in a group, preferably for many hours, and when I hold space for cocreated poetry and voice jams. That shit brings me alive in a way that no amount of beautiful relating or hanging out or friendship can ever do.

It’s not that this aliveness is better or superior to the aliveness and loveliness of heartfelt connection. It’s just different. And with this distinction, you can set about filling your life with both. Then you’re really onto a winner. Then life is a veritable banquet of loving and soulmaking. And as I like to say, soulmaking is artmaking. And vice versa! This may or may not be a useful hint for you.

So I really make a big invitation to you, to start making that list of soul foods, start investigating the activities that bring you alive in a way that is connected to creating and sourcing only you can.

It may take years to find these activities in their fully-fledged and blossomed form. And that’s okay! That’s part of the journey. But I assure you, if you start the inquiry today, you will find the threads (or seeds, or breadcrumbs) very quickly.

Then you’re on the path to soulful mastery, majesty and magnanimity.

Then you have really started on your soul’s unique quest: a journey that will take you to the ends of the earth, the depth of oceans, the heights of the mountains. These geographies may be internal, external, and likely a mixture of both. If you’re already feeling lost in the wilderness then I would warmly recommend Bill Plotkin’s books Soulcraft and Wild Mind. But really, one of the absolute coolest things about this work is that only you know. Nobody can tell you why you are here (though they can give observations and help you work it out for yourself). And you do know. It’s just a matter of listening for the signal through the noise. The melody of your soul in the cacophony of modern culture. Nature, quiet and meditation will all help.

When you make this list of soul foods, you may start to notice that many things that make you feel alive are heart foods, and that soul foods are fewer and far between. This is a valuable realisation.

No matter how much community and intimacy and connection you have, no matter how much you meditate and tune into lovingkindness, if you are not doing your work, making your thing, and mastering your art – then you are going to carry the “holy discontent” of your unfulfilled soul desires, everywhere you go. That hole. That emptiness. That lack of meaning that follows us like a shadow. The longing in the shadow hides the key, shows us the trail of breadcrumbs to the feast of our soul’s unsurpassable creativity.

So, if I can get clarity about my soul foods, then I can set about creating what I came here to create and giving what I came here to give.

What’s in the way of that clarity?

To answer that I need to say something about Gremlin Feeding.

First, let’s look at this freaky and elusive character: Gremlin is simply the personification of the ruler of one’s underworld (in Buddhism this personification is known as Māra, the lord of delusion and limitations). Gremlin is the active part of one’s Box, one’s automatic complex of survival strategies.

Instead of worrying about whether Gremlin is “real” or not, you can just go ahead and use this imaginal-energetic distinction to start consciously relating to your underworld. You can talk to your Gremlin anytime, and ask him/her about the jobs you have given them to avoid taking responsibility. And this includes avoiding taking responsibility for sourcing your soul foods! Then, you can begin to consciously work with Gremlin to reclaim your power and presence.

Gremlin holds to the key to all the ways you choose to go unconscious, stay numb, not be present – and to block your soul and being from creating the life they want.

One of the key first activities in researching your Gremlin is to start making a list of 50 ways that you are unconsciously feeding your gremlin as you go about your day/week/life. All the ways you switch off and hide from being fully alive. There a million and one ways to do this, but common ones include: playing video games, making empty small talk to avoid real connection, biting nails, picking nose, overeating, checking the fridge, drinking too much booze, watching TV, scrolling social media, sleeping too much, and so on…

You get it.

We all do it!

We all have our favourite ways of avoiding being alive.

There’s nothing actually wrong with these things. But do we actually want to do them? I wager that we don’t. And not doing them becomes a helluva lot easier when we find out what we really do want to be doing with our precious time. We actually don’t have to force and manipulate ourselves; it’s rather when we begin fulfilling our soul’s desires, we are so energetically nourished that we are no longer craving any unconsciousness-inducing Gremlin foods.

Like me, I notice that when I go to a really roaring and ripping music jam is one of the few times that I can do something for four, five, six hours without thinking of food (a personal Gremlin favourite) even once. Another related one is that beautiful food cooked with love and creativity nourishes my heart as well as my body, and a small amount of this can satisfy me far more than a big portion of low-energy processed junk. Food can nourish the soul too, especially if one is cooking as an offering and a gift to others!

When we notice how this works for us, we can start redirecting our energies and intentionally sourcing our energetic foods from new (and amazing) places.

Everything you feed your Gremlin with could be going to your Soul and your unique creative quest. Imagine how much energy you could be pouring into this work!

I notice that when I get clarity about my soul foods and take responsibility for sourcing them myself, there is simply far less “space” in my being (and my day) for Gremlin feeding.

I’m more conscious and present and so when the option of Gremlin feeding (going unconscious) comes up, it is simply way less attractive than feeding my soul and feeling fully alive. Even if that aliveness is painful – because from the perspective of soul, the pain is fuel for evolution, connection and beautymaking.

The conscious anger I need to source my soul foods is also bringing clarity, so I can discern better which actions are coming from Gremlin and which from my Being / Soul.

Rather than a way to go numb and unconscious, Gremlin is slowly being re-employed as an “energetic sidekick” in my quest to make soul and do my work.

In Western traditions, Gremlin is roughly equivalent to the daimon, one’s spiritual accomplice and source of inspiration. One’s genius! Indeed the very definition of happiness, “eudaimonia”, given by Socrates literally means to be “well-daimoned”. That is, to have a conscious and creative relationship with your Gremlin!

Basically: if your underworld is unconscious then it is going wreak havoc on your life. But if it is (increasingly) conscious then you steadily gain more and more choice and power and discernment about how to direct its energies for the creation of ever more sublime beauty, connection and presence.

Gremlin Transformation comes hand in hand with “Soul Arrival”. I feel joy to discover this.

So: 50 ways to nourish your soul.

Let’s go!

Start a list – right now!

Send a message to your soul: “I’m taking care of you now. I’m gonna nurture and nourish you. I’m taking a stand for this work, the work that I came here to do. The song that only I can sing, the song of my soul.”

May our souls shine with natural joy.

May we each do the work that is most sacred and meaningful to us.

May we each align with and realise ourselves as the infinite creative intelligence of the living universe.

Let me know how you get on!

With Love,

Will

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Will Franks 🌊
ILLUMINATION

A Heartbroken Terrified Warrior Who Is So Happy To Be Here. Meditator. Researcher. Soulmaker.