I wrote this passage around ten years ago – perhaps more than ten. I reread it recently and found myself appreciating my early work in writing what was calling to me. The words still ring true for me now, I guess I would say more about it all now if I were writing it again. But it isn’t necessary to say much more, although I will add a few comments at the end. Here it is.
What is soul? I have been studying, contemplating and exploring this question for the last ten years. As a psychotherapist I consider it my job to work with an individual’s soul. The prefix “psych-“ or “psycho” comes from the Greek “psychein”, meaning to breathe. The first description in Webster’s dictionary for “pysch” is soul or spirit. How does work with the soul take place? The work happens almost naturally when we become quiet and listen to our inner or higher self. Sometimes we need a guide in this exploration. A guide can help us get started or support us in the more difficult aspects of this voyage. This is what I have discovered so far in my journey of the soul.
We are more than our physical bodies. Our minds reside not in our heads but rather in our hearts, so living from the heart is essential for feeling fulfilled. In order to live from the heart, we must get out of our heads and get fully in touch with our bodies. The paradox is to understand that we are more than the physical but we must enter fully into the physical in order to get in touch with the soul’s callings.
When we are suffering, unhappy or discontent with our lives, it is a message that our soul needs attention. In order to shift our circumstances or create change in our lives we must acknowledge what is not working. Until we do this, we cannot take steps to find a fulfilling life.
We must be quiet or connect to our limitless potential through our creativity in order to discover what feels right for us. Our culture is full of noise and constant distractions from our internal peace. At any moment we can choose to become quiet and listen. Shutting off noise – the radio, television, and constant communication with others – not filling our lives with activities – can be frightening at first. Creativity allows us to connect with our souls. Creativity can be anything from painting or cooking to refinishing an old piece of furniture.
Performing soul work is self-healing, and spreads healing throughout the world. Just as negativity spawns negativity, healing manifests healing in the world. Each day we have a choice to move toward or away from helping ourselves. Once we begin the process of healing and creating a life we love, the process takes over. The work you do will affect everyone with whom you come in contact.
Once in touch with your soul and its callings, give yourself permission to respond. The next time you are dissatisfied with life, don’t ignore the messages. Rather, listen to your heart.
My additional comments start from the beginning. 1) Startling is the connection between breath and soul. The prefix’s and root of the words link breath and spirit or soul. I have discovered that breath is a portal to the soul and experiencing its wisdom. 2) As concerned as we seem to be in our culture with the physical, our appearance, and our physical health, I have found most clients that I work with ignore the messages they receive from their bodies. In this ignorance, we lose the opportunity to listen to the deeper messages from our body. An example would be having an uneasy feeling about something or someone, ignoring it, and later on finding out the something or someone became a problem to us. 3) Our self-made unhappiness is calling to us for deeper attention, not a quick fix. 4) Any creative activity that feels satisfying will be an avenue of self-discovery as we become more committed to the process. 5) Soul work is about attending to ourselves deeply, staying with more than the superficial and looking inward for answers, not externally. 6) Ignoring our life dissatisfaction means more of the same. Willingness to look at it full on, owning how we engaged our part in it, is the key to recreating life.