Living a Life with Soul—Honor the Pause.
Soul sings in our blood, our bones, and through the turning of the seasons.
There is wisdom there—in my cycles and in nature’s cycles. Like nature, my womb knows what to do even when I don’t. It does it monthly, effortlessly, and often painlessly when I listen.
We are better guided by our own instincts than most coaches. I know that, and as a coach, I try to help my own clients reconnect with the wisdom of their own bodies and their inherent life rhythms.
Our bodies know no hierarchy, only need—and it is good to honor our needs.
Scrolling through my social media feed, annoyance percolates like poorly-brewed coffee, dark and bitter. My feed is full of coaches—people like me—who do what I do for a living. They are sharing their stories, feelings, and pontificating on the nuances of the human condition. They do it well. I suppress a little bit of vomit. I’m sick of it—sick of them, sick of myself, sick of the endless onslaught of drama, advice, desperation, sadness, and even celebration (even though I, myself, just celebrated my granddaughter’s first birthday).
Sometimes it’s like that. I just want everything to stop.
Normally, I write to process, to heal, to feel, and to share my perspective about what it is to be human—the hard, holy, and humorous—but it’s been a bit over a week since I have written anything. The last thing I did write tore through me like a summer storm, uprooting trees and leaving a peculiar charge to the air.
It’s cold here, in my little mountain town, -8 degrees, according to my phone. Syrena, my silver Subaru, wouldn’t start without a jump yesterday. I know how she feels.
It’s hard when man’s machinations run counterintuitive to nearly every natural impulse we were born with.
It’s hard living in a society that tells you that most everything about yourself is wrong. It’s hard when we have been conditioned to ignore the shiver of revulsion that reverberates through our nervous systems when we encounter something that is off for us. It’s hard when we have been trained to shun and mistrust true pleasure.
What would you do with your one precious life if you knew there was no heaven but the one that you create here on Earth—now—with your own two hands and the hands and hearts that you hold and nurture? Would you plant seeds, literally and figuratively? Or would you sink into your couch with a bag of potato chips and watch and binge on Netflix?
I’m not judging your need, my need, our need for things like Netflix. Occasionally, we need to escape to unwind. We need to sit still or curl into a ball, surrounded by blankets and beasts, and to eat a pot of spaghetti. Or I do, anyway.
Yesterday, I chose Netflix. I watched “Firefly Lane.” The story revolves around the friendship of two women, weaving vignettes from junior high into their 40s around the ups and downs of relationships, careers, and families. I needed that. We need soulful stories.
Now the stagnancy, and perhaps shock, I had been feeling for the last week gives way to deep dreaming. It was there all along—my impulse to rise, to create, to flourish—like a seed buried in dark soil, not needing sunlight yet, but thriving secretly on its promise.
Imbolc has just passed. And now, on this freezing morning, it’s hard to believe that only a week ago, I climbed my favorite hill on a 40-degree day, and bared my breasts to the sun, welcoming and honoring the first inkling of spring. My areola naturally want to worship the big one in the sky. It’s not sexual, per se, except that life force itself is sexy as hell or maybe, more accurately—heaven. Most importantly, it was deeply pleasurable.
The heaven we have been promised is, all too frequently, based on performance. Be good little girls and boys. Go to work. Go to church. Don’t feel that deep growl in your belly, don’t own your hunger. or give yourself to the pull of the moon.
Don’t seek pleasure. Practice productivity. And so the machine grinds on, telling us who to be, how to look, what to do, and above all—to keep busy.
Relentless busyness eventually leads to numbness. We go into shock when life is happening too fast for us to process. To heal we must allow ourselves the opportunity to slow down and actually feel what is, and what has happened.
Our bodies are not machines. They are living, sensing apparatuses for all of our experiences.
In what world does it make sense to deny the feelings of our sensitive flesh? In a demonic one—in systems that invert pleasure and creativity and subjugate life in the attempt to control us while simulating excitement through violence, addiction, and shame. This is a subversion and exploitation of life; resistance to this is natural and healthy.
Perhaps the first premise of artificial control is to make what feels right—wrong.
Any top-down system—be it spiritual in its division of soul from body, its need to eradicate ego or its counterpart, imperialism, with its wanton destruction of variety and nature—is divorced from common sense, the senses of the common people, Earth, and her cycles.
We need to stop feeding systems that denigrate pleasure—be they spiritual, educational, societal, economic, or political—even if we must, ourselves, become heretics to claim our own sense of self and agency. Deep inside, we know who we are and what we need. And it feels good to honor that.
It feels good to be alive—to wake in wonder, in curiosity, to want to taste, touch, explore, and create. It feels good to speak our truth, even when our voices tremble. It feels good to cry, to laugh, to occasionally shake with rage. And it feels good to breathe and to rest.
Using our mind—and even willpower—to overcome the body is no different than the use of technology to subjugate the earth and her inhabitants. There will be consequences. Neuroses, like depression and anxiety, form through the collective psyche. Planetary deterioration manifests as evidence of our disconnection from our own senses, Earth, and each other.
Care for self—for life for our lovers, friends, and family—is deeply pleasurable and that pleasure actually leads to better health as well as right livelihood.
Now, after resting, my mind is active, fingers flying over the keys, touching them more quickly than I would like to touch my lover’s skin, but I am thinking of that, too.
Health, happiness, and even productivity arise from honoring the pleasure found in respecting our bodies, our rhythms, and practicing rituals that bring souls to life.
And it is life with soul for which we must strive to live.