It's a great question, isn't it? What does the soul love?
If we knew the answer, wouldn't we give our soul what it loved all of the time? Of course, if we were aware and in touch with our soul's urgings we wouldn't hesitate.
What I know about soul conversation is this. When the ego gets really loud we can't hear the voice of our soul.
I find myself in this murky place often on a Monday morning. Especially this Monday after spending four days at a silent retreat in northern Michigan. I was not attending the retreat, but "working" it as a spiritual director. I met with six people each day. I sat and listened, received their sacred tale, and got my small self out of the way as much as possible so I could clearly hear the movement of the Spirit in their lives. And to help them hear it too.
It was a remarkable weekend. Because the Spirit was so very present in the silence, we could easily hear and honor our soul's voices. For me, this began with a ritual of intention: lighting a candle in the chapel to welcome in and dedicate myself to this soulful process of deep listening. And to listen deeply one must, of course, be fully present, so that was one of my prayerful intentions too: to really be HERE, in heart and thought.
Lighting a candle is one of my daily rituals. To me, it is a representation of Spirit. Churches, synagogues and temples throughout the world continuously keep candles lit for this very purpose. I light a candle before I begin my daily work, at dinner time, before any important occasion, and more.
This light reminds me of my soul connection too. A flickering flame invites me to remember that I am a soul being in my essence. Yes, fully human, but also a wondrous expression of the One, with boundless potential and an eternal life path. We are made of both Spirit and stardust ...
So as return home from retreat, from four blissful days in, what is my soul calling for? It calls for self-expression. Though that lovely message was difficult to hear this morning because the voice of the ego was loud. "There is so much work to do!" "Now, you are way behind." My ego likes to speak in the language of productivity. Do more! is generally the gist.
The ego also loves to mute the message of the soul with word/emotions that dim the flame within us. It sends us messages of morning sadness, boredom, or dissatisfaction with our lives. It takes a mighty intention, passion, perseverance so say "No, thank you, not this morning!" and do what you need to do to set the soul free and to flourish.
A simple ritual such as lighting a candle in the morning can help me make the shift from sad to glad. It opens up a space for the soul to be heard. Then, with clarity and wisdom, we can proceed through our day attuned to the soul's urgings and desires for us.
This morning when I asked the question, 'What does my soul love and what would it love for me to do in this very moment?' the answer came with ease: let your creativity flow.
With a deeper pause and some relaxing breaths, I asked for clarity about this and the answer came, 'Just write.'
On retreat, I'd honored a deep soul longing--to write freely (no expectations, no deadlines) whenever my heart desired. I'd packed a beautiful new journal and my favorite writing pens. Whenever my soul invited me to sit and write (again, easy to hear and do when you are in a monastery immersed in silence, even during meals!), I did. It was a wonderful experience, hour upon hour, to honor what my soul loved—full expression through the power of words placed upon a page.
What you're reading here is an expression of my soul's calling this morning— to write some more, instead of heading down the thorny path of ego. I did not write to create something, though it ended up in this blog post, but to hear my self speak, my true self, the voice of my soul as it comes to me through words and images. Words that help me remember who I really am.
The same can be true for any of us. It simply takes a well-grounded intention and a deep desire to do what your soul urges.
I wonder, what does your soul love and what does it whisper to you to do, to be, in this very moment? If we honor this eternal voice within us it always takes us where we need to go.
Even if it's simply to sit on the couch to put pen to paper. No saving the world today, just saving a precious self by realigning her with soul.
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we can best live—kindly and compassionately with ourselves and others.
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and co-director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.