Do you have a story or art to share? Do you have a question or a pondering for us here at Soul Care? Kristi would love to hear from you! Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org! You can write her and make a plan for a chat online or in person for a cup of tea and a visit. Please consider this a standing invitation.
Images and Words from our Soul Care Community
Today I visited the forest to seek solace and comfort. I walked in a body full of anxiety, carrying the broken, floating fragments that result. The tall trees and meandering trails beckoned me in. Though I felt immediately the embrace of Nature, the old engrained “shoulds” made me feel a compulsion to pray or practice some spiritual ritual…a meditation perhaps? What do I do to connect; to hear Wisdom and Compassion around me, inside me?
As I wondered, I watched. I saw the cotton from the trees swirl around me like snow and the large cotton seed pods fall on the trail. I saw the fragments of sunlight as it wove its way through the canopy of trees. As the light bounced around, it created a kaleidoscope of shadow and bright light. I heard the creek as it made its way – ever peaceful, but ever eager – over the stones and fallen branches of the creek bed. I watched a robin as it watched me; waiting for me to pass so it could continue foraging. She tilted her head back and forth as though inquiring something of me.
And then I saw a butterfly flit across my field of vision; it came from my right, and, flying in front of me, flew up high on my left. I watched the very small and delicate creature land on a very large and magnificent cedar tree. It found a resting place, ever so lightly and perfectly, on the very edge of a singular piece of its foliage.
And then, it rested. Though I watched for many moments, it did not fly away.
In that moment, it occurred to me that I am like that butterfly. My prayer, my ritual, is only to ease in. It is the opposite of Doing. It is Being. And this realization brings with it such peace, such knowing, and such freedom. I find my home here among Beauty, surrounded by Nature. I land. Then I simply, gloriously, rest.
By Corinne M.
From out of the shifting landscape of this desert time... With a grateful heart, I emerge. With a curious heart, I listen. With an open heart, I receive. With a hopeful heart, I step forward. With a peaceful heart, I rest in the truth of whose I am and who I am. With a trusting heart, I return home to the cross. I carry the wounds with me. They have not been erased. They are mine. They are proof that I have lived and where I have died. They proclaim that I am loved. I have lived and died and lived again, Through the hope of the cross and in the glory of the resurrection. By way of the promise of new life within, I bloom. By Melita F.
Wild & Untamed
I am she, a wild and untamed creature I am she, who loves with primal instinct I am she, with the keys to unlock her cages I am she, standing bravely in the wilderness I am she, a free and liberated woman I am she, going into the unknown I am she, remembering herself I am she, returning to herself, I am she, refusing to return to the cages she was put in I am she, reflecting beauty That comes from within and shines forth I am she, reflecting strength By Christine V.
When myriad solitaire games word games and puzzles, Netflix, On Demand and books and meditations No longer fill the void.
When the election, the Supreme Court justice nomination, the pandemic unending, the rampant social injustices and unrecognized white privilege and the crimes against Love’s creation have left me traumatized I withdraw.
When the anxiety is speeding through my gut and my thighs quiver, the inertia is no longer tolerable. I’m compelled to encounter functioning.
When the thresholds of Retirement Aging Moving Countries Communities Home Leaving Church and those yet to be identified are now recognized as friends, I walk through. I am emptied. I am left by myself and Love. Like the autumn leaves, I am fallen and long to be returned to the earth And feed what is to come And this is when the turning begins. I turn towards the incubating egg in the nest that Love and I have built. I enfold her; my arm gently embraces her. I am in no rush for her to be born, But curious about what Love Is forming. This liminal and thin space illumines as All Souls approaches. I count among the saints, all those imperfect souls known to Love. And I take my place knowing it is ever changing And sit with unknown mystery. Always faithful, I await here with anticipation for this newest version of myself. I hope I will be fearless and face life head on, ready to fulfill the fullness of myself. I want to be in awe and proclaim, “Look what Love has done!” And as I walk out of this desert, With my face to the shining sun, I will walk up to the Fire, the I Am, and bow in gratitude once again. Dear Heart, beat in me as I in you. The heartbeat of Love. By Janice L.
By Destiny L.
What is it about a nest that draws me:
the care with which Love creates the nest?
the watching eyes of Love that sees the sparrow fall?
the sense of other incubating lives next to me?
the promise of new life?
My nest holds seven other eggs,
and even though we are yet to fully emerge,
I know them.
We are the sisters of Love,
and Love is forming us
into birds of delight.
This is our gestation time,
even though we have all lived before.
Love is creating us anew,
into the fulfillment of Love’s purposes.
And at just the right time, we will hatch.
What sort of blessing will peck its way from the shell?
We will be held and nurtured in this nest
until our wings are strong enough to carry us
into the world of promise.
We will not be birds of prey
but of mercy and compassion.
Our songs of Love will float on the winds
for those who have ears to hear.
We will build new nests for Love’s hatchlings,
feed others from our bounty
and expand this new species.
We are birds of delight, joy, beauty, grace, hope,
forgiveness, deep listening, blessing and
Listen to our song!
Unfold the list of your
where you wrote secret
too electric to speak.
You folded it up into a crisp square
tucked it away
Maybe you found it again
Going through old paperwork
But it’s here now
in your shaking hand
proclaiming its power:
You left a piece of your heart here
And it is still beating.
By Elli G.
Wild & Untamed
I am she, a wild and untamed creature
I am she, who loves with primal instinct
I am she, with the keys to unlock her cages
I am she, standing bravely in the wilderness
I am she, a free and liberated woman
I am she, going into the unknown
I am she, remembering herself
I am she, returning to herself,
I am she, refusing to return to the cages she was put in
I am she, reflecting beauty
That comes from within and shines forth
I am she, reflecting strength
By Emily R.
By Destiny L.
Being the Words by Corinne M.
How do I express what my beliefs are, when I’m not even sure? How can I teach my children, bring assurance to my traditional-believing parents and community, and share with my friends and loved ones, when my beliefs do not have form or container? I need to find a way, for how can I hold inside what feels so large and beautiful, so sustaining and empowering? How do I put words to mystery and the unknown, without belittling it? Maybe I’m in the territory of the mystics.
Merriam-Webster defines mysticism as “the belief that spiritual truth or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (such as intuition or insight)”. https://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/mysticism
Can my subjective experiences even be aligned with particular beliefs/words? When I struggle to find a place for myself in this awesome reality, I often wrestle with words. I hesitate with the word God, Prayer, Grace, Salvation, even Hope and Spirituality, among others. The words pull me to a time and place when words were everything, as though in and of themselves they held the power. I don’t want words to bind me; I don’t want them to contain or shape my reality in any way, I don’t want them to alter or distort.
What I experience at times when I sit in solitude – opening my heart to receptive silence, read a beautiful poem or inspiring work of writing, or breathe in the crisp fresh air, when I hear the water making its way down the stream and the birds busy in their chatter, when I experience intimacy with my lover, or when I commune with a dear friend, is far beyond words and beliefs. It is not about containment or form. It exists in the absence of rational thought or evidence. Instead, it is this deep down sensation of Being. If I were to assign words, I could say that in this place there is Belonging, Love, Inclusion, Connection and Joy, there is Home. Yet even these words are insufficient.
In this place, there are no lines or restrictions, no right or wrong, no in or out, no knowing or unknowing. There just Is. There is a familiarity and commonality in the experiences, yet they vary in their presentation, in what they lead me to think of, in the inspiration they birth in me. They point me to a new type of Truth. This Truth is not tangible and objective, but dynamic and alive. It moves with me and within me, it moves all around me. It encompasses all. I am a part of It and It is a part of me. And in those moments, in this place, It is all I want, or need. It is more than enough, It is everything.
How do I express this Everything with others, with those I love? Perhaps, I can share by simply being fully myself, by being in the moments with them. By reflecting and radiating through my body that which is continually born and re-born within me? Can they hear it in my voice of awe as we walk through the wonder that is Earth and Life? Can they share in my enjoyment of Beauty that perpetually exists around us? Maybe my attentive care and my listening ears can illuminate the Hope that radiates inside during times of sorrow and need? In our discussions and ponderings, is Mystery perhaps revealed? Maybe in my physical embrace Love can transfer and merge with the other, and we can become One, if even for that moment?
I wonder; if the form of my beliefs is not shaped by words and rational thought, perhaps it is shaped by living, by being and by loving. Maybe the container is holding the singular sacred moments; with myself, and with each other?
Under the Waves
by Destiny L.
Ever going on
Ever the same
And yet ever changing.
Change my hands O Love Divine.
Give me hands of flesh that can only spring from a heart of wholeness.
Teach me to honour my truth as I learn the value of my identity.
Remove the sense of duty.
Show me how to move and work and breathe with your fresh breath of love.
Grant me the strength
To rise each morning with the power of the sun
To shine each night with the radiance of the moon
To stand unbent as the tree with mighty roots.
To love and serve purely with hands of honest flesh.
Through tears, I thank you, Love Divine
For the pain that fertilized these roots
For the the skills of the silver hands
For the way of healing you’ve laid out before me.
With opening heart, I thank you
For the nourishment of music
For those who have held space allowing me
to grieve the necessary
to repent the untruth
to grow roots of integrity and heal my hands.
By Destiny L.