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Daily Inspiration Series: Kurt Vonnegut’s Advice for Making Your Soul Grow

a wooden block spelling the word soul next to a bouquet of flowers

In 2006, students from Xavier High School in New York reached out to various authors, including the renowned sci-fi writer Kurt Vonnegut, who was 84 years old at the time. Despite his reluctance to make public appearances due to his age and appearance (“resembling an iguana,” as he humorously put it), Vonnegut responded warmly to the students and their teacher, Ms. Lockwood. He imparted not only inspirational wisdom but also a practical exercise that holds value for everyone. Vonnegut’s message emphasized the importance of personal growth, suggesting a simple yet profound way to enrich one’s soul.

He said:

“Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow. Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.”

He also told the students to head home, write a six-line rhyming poem, and…

“Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash receptacles. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.”

Here are two actionable tips inspired by Vonnegut’s wisdom:

  1. Engage in Creative Expression: Take time each day to engage in any form of art or creative expression that resonates with you—whether it’s drawing, writing, singing, dancing, or any other artistic endeavor. The goal is not perfection but the experience of becoming more in tune with yourself.
  2. Reflect and Write: Dedicate a few moments daily to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, or experiences through writing. This could be in the form of journaling, poetry, or simply jotting down your observations. Writing helps you uncover deeper insights about yourself and aids in personal growth.

By incorporating these simple yet profound actions into your daily routine, you can follow Vonnegut’s path of making your soul grow through creativity and self-reflection.

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