Friday, July 26, 2013

Feeding the Soul


“Your soul will do what it needs to do to evolve. But it WILL evolve.” A psychic told me this at a recent reading. I believed her. Then I wondered from the way she stressed “will” if I were perhaps doing something to prevent my soul from doing its job. I’m stubborn like that. If it were at all possible for someone to stand in the way of a force of the Universe, I would be the one to do it.

Admittedly, though, I don’t know much about this business of soul building. I assume it has something to do with obstacles, a major challenge or two, definitely change of some kind. I would like to think, though, that it also has something to do with joy, with filling one’s heart with friends, family, food, and fun.

I am trying to force myself lately to move toward joy. I know this sounds odd, forcing oneself to experience more joy in life, but I am stuck at a plateau and have forgotten what it is exactly that brings me joy. I have forgotten that I am deserving and worthy of such. I operate in my life from routine, live for others, and go about my day because it is, well, my day. Today, though, I tried. I stepped out of my life for just a bit. I stepped out and allowed the joy in.

I met a friend at Starbucks. We didn’t go in for drinks. I parked the Prius then hopped into her car. We drove together to the lake. We spent an hour or so talking about exhibitionists, wind turbines, and the price of corn. I taught her a sorority cheer and shared with her the first time I ever swore. She taught me the sorrow of losing a friend to cancer. I reminded her what it’s like to be fifty. She showed me how to be fabulous at sixty. We laughed. We joked. We talked about what it might be like to enjoy the company of another woman in a way that neither of us ever had.

Then we spent three hours kayaking down the Kalamazoo River.

I am new at this, but already I love it. It was a quiet trip. We had the river to ourselves. We passed sandhill cranes, unnamed purple flowers, mating turtles, and the occasional Ryder truck on the highway overhead. My friend is a great teacher. She is patient, kind, and never panics when I am floundering. “No way you’re drowning on MY watch,” she assures me. I believe her.

We followed the paddle with lunch on the river. We found a place in town, sat on the patio by the boats that were docked, watched the canoes, kayaks, and ducks drift by. I had a veggie burger with fries and a salad. She had tacos with seafood of some sort. Mostly what we had was great conversation and a few laughs for dessert. She took my picture, but wouldn’t let me take hers. She said she already had one for her obituary and that one was good enough. I handed her my camera and asked her to snap more of me and told her that one is NEVER good enough.

After lunch, we did a little shopping. I have a weakness for funky jewelry made by local artists, especially when the local artist is sitting behind the counter chatting up the customers while she creates more funky jewelry. I didn’t buy a thing, but I tried on plenty.

On the way home, we stopped at a roadside stand and bought some fresh Michigan blueberries. They’re in season. And delicious.

I closed my day with about an hour spent roaming a field, MY field, praying heavily for a friend and mentally crafting an essay. Silently, however, I hoped I wouldn’t come across the giant hawk that swooped down at me the other day, thinking me his prey. I can think of many ways for my life to end, but I’ll be damned if I go out of this world pecked to death by a bird.

At the end of my day, I reflect back on the words of the psychic in that reading. I don’t know much about this business of building the soul, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with kayaks, patio lunches, and long car rides with a dear, close old friend.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Journey


I don’t know a thing about sailing. Oddly, I have always been drawn. I snap photos of boats in the harbor, long to be on those at sea, and sit staring at sails as if they were oxygen and I should perish should I not. I am not certain I could swim to save my life. Still. Something in my heart is married to the water. Something in my soul is promised to the deep.

I had a dream, a dream of the nighttime sort. I am on a boat. It’s a beautiful day. The air is clear, the waters blue. I am enjoying the breeze, crisp and clean, turning my face to the sun in a silent prayer of gratitude and love. Someone is guiding me. I am not certain who it is. This is not my boat. I am not the captain in this scene. In fact, the captain is not a physical presence at all, but rather a force, a force that is strong and sure and completely in control. I am alone here except for this. I should be frightened, I know, but I am not. I should be concerned, but I am calm. I don’t know exactly where we are going. I am not aware of a destination. I know there is one, but I am not privy to it. Still, I am at peace, serene, in a state of conscious bliss, perfectly content to surrender control. The captain tells me that I am not to worry, that I am doing well and am almost there. I am to meet someone who is waiting for me, who is looking forward to seeing me, who knows that I am safe and on my way. And I am almost there.

I must confess that as calm as I was in the dream, I was equally disturbed on waking. Was this a metaphor for my coming death? Was God calling me, guiding me home? Was I perhaps lost and uncertain and being reassured on a spiritual level? Or was I, rather, being reminded that I am not always to know the path, but to trust, surrender, enjoy the journey? Regardless, the blissful feeling with which I awoke dissipated quickly into a tiny panic of sorts. What was I to make, exactly, of this metaphysical message?

The dream was, in fact, significant as I have been feeling very lost lately. I have always in my life taken charge. My days have more closely resembled an athletic event than an afternoon sail--set the goal, go for the goal, overcome the obstacle, celebrate the victory. I am uncertain, now, as to the goal. I am uncertain as to the course. I am uncertain the look of victory or the picture of defeat. You should know that I am rarely uncertain. This is a new place for me. A friend suggested in unknowingly appropriate analogy that I simply allow, that I allow and ride the wave. I confess that I am not very good at this. I have gotten to where I am in my life by active intent, not by any riding of the waves. Life, to me, has never happened like that, has never been that easy. Life, in fact, has been difficult, a chore. Life has been work. I am not certain if I know how to allow. I am not certain if I know how to surrender.

And, just being honest, right now the wave is swallowing me. I am struggling even to breathe. I cannot see the shore. I cannot keep my head above the water. I am working against the forces that are supposed to help me. This is not the picture in my dreams. I am desperate. I am desperate to learn. I am desperate to live without controlling, to surrender to a force greater than I. I am desperate to tip my head back in soul feeding bliss, feel the sea breeze on my face, breathe in the clean, crisp air, and offer up a silent prayer of gratitude, of gratitude and love for this beautiful day, gratitude and love for this beautiful life.