Soul Insights from reviewing the past week
I looked up to the shelf where my beautiful desk calendar stood, and it says September. It is October, and I remember turning that page late in August.
Are we always chasing after time, that master who strides at a pace we never really can keep up with?
From my window, the pounding noises from the construction of the North-South Corridor punctuates like so many exclamation marks: we have a dealine to catch, with the pneumatic drill adding the dramatic ellipses…
To review the week, to look back, then seems such a weak gesture, when all the forces around conspire to keep one resolutely strutting forward, the end of it all, not often discussed or even questioned.
But as Alicke Walker in The Colour Purple put it,
If you want to have a life that is worth living, a life that expresses your deepest feelings and emotions and cares and dreams, you have to fight for it.
This fight, to stand in the swirling current of Time and refuse to be swept by it, to press pause to do a review.
(I stand up to flip the calendar so I can locate the dates)
Since today is October 4th, the week I want to review began in September (and the calendar tells me to think in month blocks and so with my most unmathematical brain, i am now struggling to locate the dates. Did September have 31 days, I consult my knuckles that choose silence, haha)
So I have to stand up again.
Sep 27th — Oct 4th.
Ah, the first instinct is to check my daytimer for appointments and activities. Thankfully, my higher order brain pinged me a lovely reminder complete with flower-emoji that this is not the point of the review!
A slow deep breath.
What I want to fight for — my life — means I should review the following:
When did I come alive this past week?
Were there moments when I was struggling to stay alive?
Who or what gained entry into my life, and should they have?
What truths did I glean that I can incorporate into my ongoing journey?
“I can see you doing this”
“Mom, it was brave of you to be vulnerable and share with us tonight”
These responses were like God-breaths that entered my being, when I felt seen, understood, appreciated, acknowledged.
In one of my earlier books (which I plan to revise), Shed Those Leaves, I talk about how we are all in this cosmic game of hide-and-seek, from each other and of course God. We learn that it is not safe, and feel a promordial tussle with God, so we learn to hide behind our personas and performance. But deep inside, we hope someone will come and look for us, and squeal in delight to have found us.
The pain we feel for the child whose friends forgot or stopped searching.. which we may laugh off, is a profound one for all of us.
The mental anguish we are witnessing all around us is the fruit of too many souls unseen, unfelt, untouched.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, said Henry David Thoreau. We scoff at such dramatic pronoucements because we have learned too long and too well that safety is found in hiding.
But O, the pain from the longing to be found, to be wanted, to matter.
I also came alive when I gathered ideas. This past week I learned from Joanna Martin, a livewire of a coach from One of Many, about women archetypes. I connected it to what I have learnt about basic Dispositions and my knowledge of Spiritual Dynamics and felt a lovely boom in my head.
Less attractive was the reading on heresy, which turns out to be a rather unique Christian problem because of our need to codify a body of core beliefs. Ditto schisms, which is a different expression of the same issue.
Finally, as I decided to dust and tidy my desk, I found loose papers and notes which I decided to transfer to my little blue learning notebook — longhand — and it felt so comforting, like gathering friends together and having a quiet tea party and just chatting amiably.
Moments of Struggle
I don’t mean by this, sickness or death. But those times, interactions or personal moments when I experience some form of aggression, threat, violence and felt suffocated, stifled, misinterpreted or even downright betrayed.
Thankfully, this past week, the only source was my memory, dredging up bits that have created craters of loss, sadness, grief and fear. Our memory is that part of the brain that loves to cohere things togehter, and I guess these bits don’t sit well with my overall wellness and growth.
It is easy for these memories to hijack the present, and the only way is to find a frame that can corral them. That is not easy, as we love to relive our pain, remain in judgment of others and self-protect. Plus we do make many mistakes and fail miserably at times, to our own shock. So I found that I have had to learn to say “I failed there”, “that was selfish and immature” … then repent or make restitution where suitable. But it is necessary to also complete the truth of it: “I am not my failure”, “I have learnt and grown”…
This is slightly harder work than “Woohoo, I got a raise!”, so repeated efforts are required before our lazy brains catch on!
Watch who gains Entry
We are relational beings, so who we allow into our lives have the power to shape and influence us.
This past week, I decided to give someone I didn’t like much a bit more access to me. As I see the person regularly, I realised that I have self-protected by limiting exactly what our conversation will be about, which is the mundane stuff.
God gently pointed out how needless this strategy really is, and how the person deserves the best from me.
So I decided to pull back and listen more. He is quite a talker so there was no need to prod him along. But as I listened to his usual rant, I found a response rising up within me that surprised us both. I acknowledged his stress and suggested that he must have grown to manage what he had to.
This bit I did, impacted me more than it did him. For it restored my humanity which otherwise I was reducing in a silly effort to self-preserve.
Truths gained for the onward journey
The one truth I would love to carry with me is the realisation of the Expansiveness of the Soul.
My soul needs safety to come out from hiding. When it does, it's like a new creature I have to befriend.
My soul needs fodder to grow. It has an appetite and preferences and sings and buzzes when I feed it.
My soul craves healing and wholeness. When it is ready, it shows me scars and wounds and I need to tend to it.
My soul wants to shelter others. It is generous and giving and flourishes when it embraces others.
What about yours?