What It Takes to Nourish the Soul


“Amidst life’s busyness, we need ways to slow down, turn our attention within, and reconnect with ourselves.” – Karen Horneffer-Ginter

Self-care, for almost everyone I’ve worked with in over a decade, is an ongoing challenge. For the purpose of this post I use the term self-care to refer to the care of mind, body and spirit.

For many, the challenge is obvious, showing up in the physical: do they get enough sleep, does their diet nourish them, etc.

For others, the majority it often seems, the challenge reveals itself in the emotional or spiritual realms, which is not as easily seen or remedied.

Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit is a book that speaks directly to this challenge.

book cover Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit

Written by Karen Horneffer-Ginter, it touches on the most personal and challenging aspects of self-care in a world that often has us running like a hamster on a wheel.

“We live in a world of constant movement, and our day-to-day lives seem to get busier by the hour. Our days are full of information, full of obligations, full of friends and family, full of everything…except fulfillment.”

This statement is true for far too many people. The busyness and stressors of daily life can easily become overwhelming, and self-care is usually the first thing to go when faced with a time or energy crunch.

So, how do you deal with this challenge?

Horneffer-Ginter offers six steps, appropriately called shifts, to help you find your way.

Like me, she does not believe in a one-size-fits-all solution and while offering very sound strategies for nourishing the soul, she also stresses the importance of allowing for personal preferences.

“I will not chase only one view, I will not sit in just one pew, I will not wear a cross or fish, or a Buddha, or a goddess holding a dish.” – Dr. Seuss

You’ve got to discover what works best for you.

As a coach I’ve read many books and resources on self-care, and frankly, I wasn’t expecting any new revelations. But I was pleasantly surprised by the simple grace of Horneffer-Ginter’s writing.

Instead of offering a quick fix of the 4 hour variety, she invites us gently forward to discover what it takes to nourish our soul. It is a book I wish I’d had years ago, during person struggles.

The book’s content is organized around six key shifts:

Honoring Our Rhythms

  • How do your body and soul want you to live?
  • What are they craving?

Turning Within

  • What would a conscious retreat from doing look like for you?
  • What would be an ideal way of stepping out of life?

Filling Up

  • What are your beliefs and attitudes about self-care?
  • What do you most need?

Fully Inhabiting Our Days

  • How can you bring what you find during your time within back into your day-to-day life?
  • How are you showing up in life?

Remembering Lightness

  • Where in your life could you use some humour and lightness?
  • What are some ways of lightening up?

Embracing Difficulty

  • What difficult feelings do you tend to push away?
  • What would it be like to be kind to yourself?

Each shift offers practices that encourage deep exploration, and Horneffer-Ginter’s questions invite time alone.

Finally, she weaves the shifts skillfully together in a way that makes the process of change less daunting.

“In order to bring balance to our system, we need the opposite of what we’ve been immersed in.” – KHG

The  care and balance of the mind, body, and spirit can often feel elusive.

Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit offers tools that can lead to a more balanced way of caring for ourselves in a holistic way. More than a book, it can become a companion to guide you through life’s challenges.


Karen Horneffer-Ginter is the Co- founder of the Center for Psychotherapy and Wellness in Kalamazoo, Michigan and has been practicing psychology and teaching yoga and contemplative practices for more than 16 years. She can be found at www.fullcupthirstyspirit.com and www.karenhg.com.