Monday, December 1, 2008

Soul

With soul, as with biology, ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. The experiences of the individual not only mirror and are reflected in the events of one’s time, they also echo the voices of the ancestors, who ask us to continue their unfinished stories and to un-forget those tales, which are so vital to the song lines of the soul. We live in the dark light of their shadows and through our symptoms and dreams we are offered paths of dialogue not only with them but also with the collective dreams and symptoms of our age. But to engage in these conversations it is necessary to awaken to the life of the soul, which, while it expresses itself through mind and body, is neither the life of the conceptual mind nor the life of the anatomical body. Soul, like a metaphor, is neither a thought nor a thing. Indeed it is not just like a metaphor; it is a metaphoric reality, which unfolds as stories lived out in time and through our relations with the world of the living and the dead. [Mirror and Metaphor] A major theme of these stories is the myth of the orphan in exile who awakens to the sense of life as home/work, as a journey of homecoming [The Orphan in Exile and the Journey of Homecoming]

The arc of my life and work these past thirty years has been in service to this task of being a witness to the elusive mornings/mournings of the soul. In the work of the soul the gesture of the witness is a backward glance, which recovers what we have lived through forgetfully and re-members us for an-other beginning. The backward glance re-turns one to his/her heritage as a destiny and offers a moment of transformation when destiny can become a vocation [Ways of the Heart]

These words were written by my dissertation advisor and mentor Robert Romanyshyn, PhD. They echo my own thoughts.

Once the move occurs and I feel somewhat more centered I plan on devoting a majority of this blog to the Soul. My dissertation speaks a similar language as that expressed by Robert. We spent many hours together talking about soul, the Orphan, Jung, exile. I can't even begin to express my gratitude to him for our conversations.

Just because I'm sick doesn't mean I can't write about Soul.

Maybe being stripped away from everything in my life both literally and figuratively has something to do with this journey of the Soul. Maybe it has something to do with exile and homecoming.

Who knows? Slowly but surely everything is being carried away by strangers. Tomorrow my plants will go to a good home (hopefully). I've nurtured these plants,one for as long as 10 years, so I'm sad to see them go.

Who knows what this phase of my life is about. I know one thing for certain. It's about the unknown. Will I get better? Worse?

"What else should our lives be but a continual series of beginnings, of painful settings out into the unknown, pushing off from the edges of consciousness into the mystery of what we have not yet become, except in dreams that blow in from out there bearing the fragrance of islands we have not yet sighted in our waking hours..." (David Malouf, An Imaginary Life, p.135)

2 comments:

Daphne said...

I, for one, would love to see more writing from you about Soul. The world needs you to express this.

Renee said...

I look forward to reading more about soul. I must tell you I think this will challenge my abilities ~but I always enjoy learning and becoming a deeper person.
I have already had to look up a couple of words in the first paragraph!
On a simpler note, I too, had to get rid of my plants ~ some I had had in my home for over 25 years and moved with me several times. I feel for you.
Renee