One of the great ways to feed your hungry soul is to reach out to someone even lonelier than you. You may know someone like that to text or call, or you can surely find people like that in assisted living residences or nursing homes nearby who would be delighted to have someone visiting them.
As a part of my interview series about the ‘5 Things We Can Each Do Help Solve The Loneliness Epidemic’, I had the pleasure to interview Bracha Goetz. Bracha Goetz is the Harvard-educated author of 38 books to help children’s souls shine. She is also the author of the candid memoir for adults, Searching for God in the Garbage, about overcoming food addictions joyfully and spiritually. All of her books can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/author/spiritualkidsbooks-brachagoetz
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us? What was it that led you to your eventual career choice?
Ataround 12 years old, I started wondering about the purpose of life. I searched for years for the reason for us to be alive and eventually, I was blessed to actually find life’s purpose! So now what I love to do is write books for the youngest people about this so that they don’t have to spend a lot of years searching for meaning in their lives. They can learn why their lives are valuable from the beginning.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Well, the most interesting thing that happened to me was that I got to attend an exclusive garden party while I was at Harvard. There were really famous people there, and I was so excited to get to be there. But after awhile, I began to see that all these famous people were just people like you and me, and they seemed to be in search of something more fulfilling in their lives too. And then it started raining, and I realized that these famous people couldn’t stop the rain from falling on the garden party. And my next thought was, there is something greater, more meaningful, and more powerful than this to seek.
Can you share a story about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?
When I wrote my first children’s book, I was sitting outside and writing it in a notebook while watching my little children play. Then I actually put those looseleaf pages in an envelope and sent them to a publisher — without even typing it! And the book was accepted! I would never recommend that anybody do that now, but that’s how my career as a children’s book writer began. The lesson from this? If something is meant to happen, it will, no matter what.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
There are two children’s books I wrote that are due to come out soon. One is about the importance of being honest, and the other book is about water safety for toddlers. Hopefully both of those books will enrich people’s lives. I am also very devoted to letting people know about an essential take away from my memoir, Searching for God in the Garbage: The joyful way to overcome food addictions is to nourish our hungry souls.
Can you share with our readers a bit why you are an authority about the topic of the Loneliness Epidemic?
The Loneliness Epidemic is very much related to the Addiction Epidemic. While I was at Harvard, I did groundbreaking research on food addictions, and my continued research in spirituality in the years since then, has led me to wonderful insights into these related epidemics and how to joyfully overcome them which I love to share.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. According to this story in Forbes, loneliness is becoming an increasing health threat not just in the US , but across the world. Can you articulate for our readers 3 reasons why being lonely and isolated can harm one’s health?
Being lonely and isolated can lead to increased depression and anxiety because when people feel that they don’t have anyone trustworthy who cares about them, that can clearly be harmful to mental health. Being lonely and isolated can also lead to an increase in heart disease, cancer, and other chronic inflammatory diseases due to a person not feeling motivated to take good care of their selves. Falls from elderly people who are isolated can also have more serious health consequences. And I read recently that every twenty minutes in the US, an older adult dies from a fall.
On a broader societal level, in which way is loneliness harming our communities and society?
There is less joy in life and more of a desire for people to escape and be distracted for many hours each day.
The irony of having a loneliness epidemic is glaring. We are living in a time where more people are connected to each other than ever before in history. Our technology has the power to connect billions of people in one network, in a way that was never possible. Yet despite this, so many people are lonely. Why is this? Can you share 3 of the main reasons why we are facing a loneliness epidemic today? Please give a story or an example for each.
- The main thing is that we have lost the awareness that we are souls clothed in bodies. Without this awareness, we appear as completely separate entities from each other and we also lose much of the connection to our most essential selves.
- There is no longer a widespread consciousness that we are all connected to Source. The illusion of disconnection from Source creates feelings of isolation and loneliness.
- When we forget that we are spiritual beings, we forget that we are all connected. E=mc squared, so everything physical is related through energy that we all share with each other. Minerals, plant life, animals, and people are all interconnected, and each is valuable.
Ok. it is not enough to talk about problems without offering possible solutions. In your experience, what are the 5 things each of us can do to help solve the Loneliness Epidemic. Please give a story or an example for each.
- FOMO is wonderful in a way because it can hopefully point out to people how much they are searching for something MORE in their lives. Truth is, many people are missing out. They are missing out on recognizing that they are spiritual beings in need of spiritual nourishment every day in order to thrive.
- The next time you feel like overeating due to loneliness, ask yourself, “Is it my body that is hungry — or my soul?” Then do something that feeds your soul. Suddenly the big bag of potato chips will stop calling your name so loudly.
- One of the great ways to feed your hungry soul is to reach out to someone even lonelier than you. You may know someone like that to text or call, or you can surely find people like that in assisted living residences or nursing homes nearby who would be delighted to have someone visiting them.
- Spend time in nature. Connect with the abundance of natural beauty in our world. Go on walks and hikes that are offered in local parks. You will also meet lovely down-to-earth people at these events. And natural settings also nourish your soul.
- Read books that help you to connect better with your soul. Absorb ancient wisdom that revives your soul and reminds you how we are all deeply inter-related.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I want to inspire a Soul Power movement. No matter what trauma has darkened a person’s life and no matter how much garbage has occluded the light from one’s soul, it is still as pure and vibrant as it ever was, when you access it. Negative self-talk can distance us from our true selves, but nourishing the soul helps us return to our essence, with dignity. There is nothing to lose by harnessing our Soul Power, and so much joy to gain.
So what did I discover was the purpose of life? Simply this: To let our souls shine. Each in our own uniquely beautiful and infinitely wondrous way. And when our souls are shining, feelings of isolation and loneliness dissipate. Because when we recognize that we are spiritual beings, we recognize that everyone else is too. I just read this in a post from Rabbi Steve Baar: “Everyone you meet contains a brilliance benefitting the entire Universe.”
We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I’d love for Oprah Winfrey to spread the word about Soul Power. When people nourish their souls, they shine, and that is how to have a radiant life. Helping others’ souls to shine also helps your own soul to shine more brightly too. Addictions, loneliness, feelings of isolation and alienation take up less and less space as we bring more and more lasting pleasure into our lives.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
In addition to my Amazon Author Page, you can follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Thank you so much for these insights. This was so inspiring, and so important!