Suppose that, to speak for the pine forests, we actually allowed ourselves to re-experience, to re-approach, the trees themselves. Then, after perhaps lifetimes of intimacy, we might be entitled to say something about what kind of relationship is possible and what ethical connection might or might not be demanded. Right now we are hardly able to begin to say……Michael Stone
we sometimes forget that we are here to choose a soul-rooted authenticity……may we be summoned again and again to live in soul service…..recently tugged back to simplicity, we are humbled to a calling of rich wholeness, a precedence in which there is no place to hide…..
‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do/with your one wild and precious life?’ the poet Mary Oliver asks. Soul Initiation is the moment, not when you decide for yourself, but when an answer wholly claims you. It is the moment when you fully accept your calling, your own particular mission in life. William Wordsworth wrote of such a moment when he was a young man in college, after a night of summer revelry. As he walked home at dawn in the hills of northern England, the world showed him what he was going to do with his life:
…Ah! need I say, dear Friend! that to the brim
My heart was full; I made no vows, but vows
Were then made for; bond unknown to me
Was given, that I should be, else sinning greatly,
A dedicated Spirit. On I walked
In thankful blessedness, which yet survives….
The answer that claims you often takes the form of an image or a story, a motif burned into your soul before birth, a song in the presence of which your heart fully opens. This pattern or symbol is the gods’ way of sending you off to life with a destiny and a task, with a template of how to ‘be’ in this lifetime. Your soul image or story shows you your ultimate place and the nature of the gift you were born to bring into the world. Your commitment to that truth results in a radical simplification of your life. Upon making that covenant with soul, you suffer the disintegration of the identity you so carefully built for yourself through childhood and adolescence. It feels like dying. As David Whyte writes in ‘Revelation Must Be Terrible,’ ‘You are leaving everything/and everyone you know behind….When you open your eyes to the world/you are on your own for the first time.’ Most activities and relationships that do not support your soul purpose fall away. What shifts in this moment is not your personal style, strengths, weaknesses, traits, attitudes, abilities, or knowledge. Rather, what changes is your status or place in the world. You’re now living closer to your ultimate place. You now have an obligation both joyous and terrible. There is a sacred responsibility to fulfill……Bill Plotkin
Self-actualizing people are, without one single exception, involved in a cause outside their own skin, in something outside of themselves. They are devoted, working at something, something which is very precious to them- some calling or vocation in the old sense, the priestly sense. They are working at something which fate has called them to somehow and which they work at and which they love, so that the work-joy dichotomy in them disappears…..Abraham Maslow