The other day, after reading Bill Plotkin’s book, Soulcraft, I found myself awe-struck, inspired, and sweaty.
It was as if a realization had crept back into me and mirrored the fire I felt burning inside.
I know I am still a youngster (27 years to be exact), but I am fortunate in that I have come close to certain, unspeakable realities that Plotkin so eloquently writes about for those on the road to self-discovery.
This is not because I am skilled, but because I am lucky. Grace comes to those who are ready…or not. I certainly was not ready for the gift of life when it came crashing in.
After delving deep into his book, I slammed it on one of the dusty counters in front of me, peered up at the roof of the bookstore I work in, took a deep breath, inhaled the smell of brownies creeping in from the Ben & Jerry’s above, and considered this startling fact:
The soul and the spirit are different, on a relative level. (On an absolute level they work together, of course, for you cannot have one without the other.)
Now, I am nearly 100 percent sure that these words—soul and spirit—have already thrown some of you for a loop, but please, allow me to explain this all without touching on metaphysical concepts and ideas that some may see as woo-woo and abstractly absurd (especially for you skeptics out there).
I am not a theologian, nor do I intend to cloud you with superstition. So if you don’t like the words soul and spirit, pick whatever words you like. But please, feel into the essence of what I am attempting to portray here, for the essence is far more important than the surface of things.
The soul is who I am when no one is looking, when the curtains of the day-to-day world are closed, and I am dancing to sexy, rhythmical house music in a corner untouched by boredom and practiced choreography.
The spirit is who I am when I am that I am: sitting still in meditation, looking out from my tiny home, as the slow and innocuous movements of a cow eating dry and unkempt grass reflect my own innocence.
The soul is unique to me because no one else can fight the personal demons and shadows that creep up my leg when I am walking through the cold woods, isolated in Colorado.
The spirit is not unique, for it is the space where the dance is happening. However crazy and terrible the adventure may seem, the spirit remains firm and untouched. No dancer is yet to ruin its floor.
The soul is on an adventure; the spirit is the land on which the adventure occurs. If you heed the call to adventure, you understand the land that much better. But it requires courage to heed the call, and for me, it came like a rushing force, a hurricane, an earthquake, all at once, that whispered like this:
If you are fortunate enough to hear
the call to adventure,
with unsteady hands,
take the sword out of the dated sheath,
give it to the maker,
and let it create a necessary devastation.
Let it pierce the parts now, before a dry
world consumes the soul and drowns it in
before the colored and ravishing
door becomes unfamiliar,
lion loses itself in a flock of sheep,
before the years pretend to
know your true
Do it now. Otherwise, you
will be forced to destroy a sturdier, more
believable house later on.
Otherwise, you will have
to face the seemingly solid
demons created from too much
You were not put on this Earth
to walk in a straight line. No—
an underworld awaiting your
descent and spirits
in the high heavens
holding their breath until
you taste the flight of your own potential.
There is an unseen heart carrying
God’s blood inside of you.
And when you lift off the ground,
or cradle in destiny’s lair,
some people will not understand.
Even though they are not
separate from the
adventure, they have taken it too seriously.
They have given up, instead of given in.
Don’t judge them.
Proceed with sincerity,
if it starts and ends with pennies
in your pocket.
For it is better
to be at the bottom in a world
of possibilities than
richly crammed in
a world of
The myths are true, but only through
you—the nameless one, the
one with a thousand names.
The question is, will you let go?
Or face the wrath of being taken?