A Touch of Soul, Here, on My Breath.

by Julie on January 21, 2015 · 12 comments

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reteachathingitslovelinessrosenoquote
“…for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness…”
Galway Kinnell
::

Witnessing my own unfolding

In looking back over the writing I’ve shared here over the past seven years, I see my own unfolding. Along the way, I’ve shared my experiences rather than using this as a platform to offer you ‘useful’ advice on ‘how-to’ or ‘how-not-to’. I’ve shared stories and insights. I’ve shared some of the most vulnerable moments of my journey. I can’t say that was my intention when I began. But, then how often do we know ahead of time what it is that is driving us? In the past few weeks, the unfolding has hastened. Things falling away left and right. Like a dog with a bone, I’ve followed every kernel of grace offered out to me. I cannot tell you ‘what’ it is that has happened, but I finally feel at home.

That is no small thing considering it’s been almost twenty years since I set out to find home. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt at home in this world, but I managed to avoid feeling the deeper feelings of not belonging and not being safe while married to my late-husband – until the early-morning hour when he died, suddenly. That’s when the journey began in earnest.

It was then, almost twenty years ago, that however my psyche had organized itself to help navigate the feeling of being unsafe here on earth, could no longer find a footing. In a matter of minutes after he died, I felt completely unmoored. He had been my love, my protector, my partner of 21 years.

It’s been a long journey to follow longing. A journey to find safety, not through another human being, but within myself. I didn’t know that was what I was looking for. Ultimately, it was really the journey to find love, the love that can only be found deep within oneself.

The push to get somewhere or something has been relentless. I could never settle. I could never feel like what was in my life was ‘enough’. All the while, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate to you these things. I know them now, in hindsight.

There is something new here.

A kind of softness, a trust, a faith in life.

A taste of earth, here, in my flesh.

A touch of Soul, here, on my breath.

 

Life guided me.

Life does this if we listen. Books fell unbidden from bookcases, guiding me to dance. People appeared as guides. Flowers called to me with their beauty, reflecting to me the light and beauty that is the soul of everything alive. And, my relationship came to an end when it was clear I had to find out who I am on my own – sovereign and whole.

The land called to me from different parts of our planet. I had to step foot on other parts of this earth to feel something that could only be felt there, in each place, to reawaken elements of earth that I’d tasted long before.

Nature called. Each day, I walk. Almost first thing in the morning, after tea. I hear birdsong. I feel wind. I take in the love of trees, offering it back to them with great appreciation. I have come to feel an unseen, but incredibly vibrant, relationship with life. I’ve come to know I belong.

John O’Donohue‘s words capture this feeling much more eloquently than I can.

“Essentially, we belong beautifully to nature. The body knows this belonging and desires it. It does not exile us either spiritually or emotionally. The human body is at home on the earth. It is probably a splinter in the mind that is the sore root of so much of our exile.”

I feel at home in my body. 

Another way to say this, is that my mind now trusts how my body feels at home. My mind trusts my body’s longing to be home. To not be held away, distant from itself, for my body is of the earth’s body. It is of the same clay.

This might surprise some of you who’ve read me for a while. It’s not like I haven’t been in my body. It’s not like I haven’t felt joy in my body. I have – often and much.

But that ‘splinter in the mind’ was always here. The splinter continued to tell me I wasn’t safe. It created a kind of vigilance, a hyper-vigilance. This kind of thinking, the circular questioning and the constant looking for safety, kept at bay what it was I was looking for. Of course it did. I was looking for love, but this small but insistent voice didn’t trust love.

As I read more of John O’Donohue’s words for the second time (I first read Anam Cara about eight years ago), in preparation for my writing course, I came across his description of how the body is in the soul, not the other way around. He writes,

“Your body is in the soul, and the soul suffuses you completely. Therefore, all around you there is a secret and beautiful soul-light.”

And, if the body is in the soul, then my body is held, and loved, and breathed into by Soul. My immediate breath is Soul breath. My senses first encounter the realm of my Soul. It is so close. Always.

This is what I had longed for – to know that love is this close. Complete and unconditional love, which Soul has for self. I had shut myself off to my own Soul, and I had to see that.

 

Necessary to reteach me of my loveliness.

As most of us do because we are taught to, I journeyed to find what I’d thought I lost out there somewhere. God is supposed to be up there, on high, somewhere. Right? And, I am supposed to find love in someone else to complete me. Right?

No. Soul is closer than my breath. Soul is closer than sound, taste, sight, touch. Soul is wrapping me in love. I turned away from Soul. I had to turn back to self to know Soul.

Splintering happens. For me, the splinter broke free when that portion of the mind could feel that it was held, and that what held it was safe. I watched it circle. I watched it look and question and wonder. I watched as it let go. I felt the softening in myself. I couldn’t make it let go, but I could hold the space for it to do it as it needed to. I could trust that it would set itself free.

And, one last thing…for now. I’ve written in the past of the ‘creative impulse’…of the beautiful desire that moves through us as human beings to express in this world of form. In my next post, I’ll write more about Soul, your body, and creativity.

 

For now, just know that God(dess) is decidedly sensuous. 

 

 

 

 

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barbara January 21, 2015 at 2:56 pm

oh, Julie, welcome home, beauty.

Julie January 21, 2015 at 3:21 pm

thank you, barbara. thank you, love.

Sandra (Sam) January 21, 2015 at 3:13 pm

This is beautiful, Julie, and expresses much better than I can my own similar process. Would it be possible for me to reblog it on my Search for Soul: Finding Meaning When Life Falls Apart blog? It’s not up to your level (and has been rather flat and boring lately) but I feel like I’ve been renewed by this piece, and all that I’ve read.

Julie January 21, 2015 at 3:22 pm

thank you, Sandra. yes, of course. thank you for asking. if you’ll include a link to this page, that would be great.
i love that you feel renewed. wonderful to meet you.

Ali Shapiro January 21, 2015 at 3:15 pm

This was beautiful Julie. So moving. Thank you for expressing this.

Julie January 21, 2015 at 3:23 pm

thank you, Ali. hope you are well.

Jean January 22, 2015 at 8:27 am

Julie,
So lovely! This resonates with me. I have a ways to go before feeling at home in my body though. I too love the works of John O’Donohue. You shared beautiful passages here. Along with your writing being so poignant, your photos are magnificent. I am a lover of nature and enjoy photographing everything in it but especially flowers. Thanks for sharing your talents!! You give me much to think about and to learn from.

Julie January 24, 2015 at 8:13 am

Jean,
I’m glad you found much here that resonates. You know this in yourself. And we share the joy of flowers. I love that. Thank you.

ann lassiter January 24, 2015 at 7:35 am

Thank you Lovely Julie.

“And, if the body is in the soul, then my body is held, and loved, and breathed into by Soul. My immediate breath is Soul breath. My senses first encounter the realm of my Soul. It is so close. Always”

Always back to the breath. Now the Soul breath.

Love ~ ann

Julie January 24, 2015 at 8:13 am

Ann!

always back to the breath…that delicious soul breath.

Love to you, Julie

Morgan January 26, 2015 at 11:59 pm

I’ve just discovered your blog and I loved this post… I have not yet fully found that place of safety but I have had over the years so many illusions about what a relationship would do for me (but couldn’t) – so your story fills in a missing piece for me. I deeply relate to this:”The push to get somewhere or something has been relentless. I could never settle. I could never feel like what was in my life was ‘enough’. All the while, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate to you these things. I know them now, in hindsight.” I find solace in nature too, and feel most fully myself – body and soul – when in deep dance (connected to body and breath) and when with trees. I’m so grateful for these reminders. Thank you. Also, your raw writing circles for women sound juicy and amazing! I run wild writing circles 🙂

merilyn January 31, 2015 at 9:59 pm

this is exactly what I’m needing at the moment! synchronicity at work here!
it’s reminding me to come back to source! … thankyou Julie!
back to my centre! love m:)X

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