Monday, December 19, 2011

a few soul things

I'm choosing to shut the semester down, even though things remain undone and there are projects to which I have committed that I am unprepared to finish.  Instead of stressing and scurrying, I'll aim for quiet for the next few weeks, and time with my girls, and time to figure out why I've been feeling grumpy, angry, and/or blah the last month.

Just deciding to take this time, I already feel lighter.  That's a sign that I'm moving in the right direction.  There lies some peace, which has been frustratingly elusive lately.

My friend N. lent me Elizabeth Lesser's book Broken Open.  I started it a few weeks ago then didn't pick it up again because I wasn't in a position to listen to what it had to say.  But it's calling to me, so I opened it back up and had to share this with you:

When you tire of your own constriction and you open, come what may, to the flow of life, you and your soul become one, and you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

Yet so often we resist the pull of the river.  We tune out the call of the soul.  Perhaps we fear what the soul would have to say about choices we have made, habits we have formed, and decisions we are avoiding.  Perhaps if we quieted down and asked the soul for direction, we would be moved to make a big change.  Maybe that wild river of energy, with its longing for joy and freedom, would capsize our more prudent plans, our ambitions, our very survival.  Why should we trust something as indeterminate as a soul?  And so we shut down.  I have shut down to my soul enough times to know what it feels like when the river is dammed.  I know the feeling of deadness; I know how the river diverts itself and breaks through in other ways--as a desire to blame, as an emotion of anger, as physical illness, as restlessness, or weariness, or self-destruction.  The soul always speaks, and sometimes it speaks the loudest when we block its flow, when we live only half of a life, when we stay on the surface.

If we don't listen to the voice of the soul, it sings a stranger tune.  If we don't go looking for what lies beneath the surface of our lives, the soul comes looking for us.

My soul has come looking for me, apparently, so as we make the long drive to San Diego in the next few days, and as I have time to sit, unplugged, and chill with people we love, I'll do some listening, too, and see what undamming might happen.

In the meanwhile, please do yourself a favor and go watch the movie Life in a Day.  It's streaming on Netflix, if you have access there, or you might check YouTube here.  It's so great, and talk about the soul speaking.  I'm so grateful for beautiful things like this.

Also, I'm so grateful for you.  You know that, right?  I'm grateful you're here, and for all the blessings and gatherings and togetherness that lie behind my amazing community of friends and loved ones.  Thanks for visiting me here now and then.

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