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Launch of Soul Passages

September 5, 2010

Launch of Soul Passages

The slant of September afternoon light over the mountains. The setting slice of moon in the vibrating azure sky. It ignites that yearning. The very beginnings of turning inward. The ever-cycling wheel of the seasons. Endings and Beginnings. This taste of fall in the air inspired me to to launch Soul Passages this weekend–to create a dedicated space to explore life’s threshold experiences through poetry,writing, images, and SoulSongs.

As I was sitting in a Council of fifteen people last week, a woman shared that her life has been a series of “stretching” experiences. She named what is true for so many of us–the power of Soul Passages: experiences or periods of time that transform us and initiate us into new awareness and capacities. In these moments, we “undergo” a passage that asks us to let go of aspects of our identity that no longer serve and step into the unknown (Severence), to allow ourselves to be fully transformed by what we discover there (Threshold), and to bring these gifts fully into our bodies, our daily lives and our communities (Reincorporation).

Nearly seven years ago,I was diagnosed with a benign pituitary tumor. Over the course of the next three years, I underwent two surgeries, a host of alternative therapies, and a vast amount of soul-searching. Through this journey, I was shaken to my core, as many aspects of my life were simply dismantled before my very eyes. The healing journey initiated a irreversible process of internal alchemy, in which I was confronted with my deepest fears and greatest hopes–in which the only way to the other side was through the fiery core. No one emerges the same from these experiences~these passages change us on a cellular level and bring gifts and awareness we never imagined. It was through this healing journey process that I saw that the experiences of Rupture and Stretching (such as Major Illness, Death, our own Birth, Birthing our children, Puberty, Menopause, etc. ) are natural Gateways of Evolution–as a species, as individuals, we are literally wired for these kind of quantum leaps. In fact, brain research now shows that during the developmental transitions in our lives, our brains are more “plastic”, more malleable, making new neural connections and synaptic leaps.

As a poet, I have always been drawn to writing and reading what I would call SoulPoetry–poetry whose central focus is the human and world soul. This is truly an ancient new-old tradition, embodied by such poets as Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Lucille Clifton, Rumi, Hafiz, Rilke, Gary Snyder, Wendell Berry, Teresa of Avila, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Antonio Machado, Pablo Neruda, Rabia, Mira and so many others. Poetry is one way we speak about the unspeakable, dream the undreamable, live the impossible, connect the individual with the universal, and navigate across time and space and culture. SoulPoetry invariably speaks of SoulPassages, and so, as part of this blog, I will regularly include poems that speak to these wild, beautiful, fierce passages life offers us.

The World Calls
When the world calls you to stand
cracked, metamorphic, slab shifted
shameless before the wind
there is no doubt
that you are as untamed as this
that from your rainwashed crevasses
comes the silt for the valley’s first green,
that from your frozen deserts come the calving
glaciers emitting the blue light we know
as inner wisdom. So doubt not the call
of this landscape-the one that pulls you crawling
on your knees out of the huts,
from the village dance, from the warmest hearth
to the radiant dark heart,
to the bone of the wild,
to your origin—to this one being
you were born to be.
~Laura Weaver

The Journey
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
~Mary Oliver

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