Tending to My Nurturing and Expressing
The five-day journal writing workshop, so skillfully led by Faye Schwelitz and so opening to the 14 beautifully committed participants these past five days, was powerful for Pat and me. This was the third of these 5-day workshops that Pat and I have attended in a year’s time, and we are planning to continue this twice-per-year routine as a part of our spiritual enlivening.
The format has been the same each time. Many of the participants have been repeaters. And yet each workshop has taken us to new and deeper places. We are grateful to Faye and her inspired commitment to foster the journal-writing workshops created and refined by her mentor Ira Progoff, depth psychologist who died twelve years ago at the age of 76.
The intensity of the workshop cannot be captured in a single blog post, but this morning I am stirred by the notion of balance in my life. This balancing comes in varieties. On the first level is balancing my busyness with various activities with the quiet time of nurturing my soul. The busyness brought to me the image of the familiar clown scene, the clown who tries to keep 20 or so plates spinning atop their respective polls. As I return from the workshop I feel I am thrown into this scene once again.
What are some of the plates in my life? Lectures to record, Pathwork administrative tasks to oversee, material to record for Faye, getting out the next newsletter announcing a six-evening series that Patty Mahaffey and I shall be doing in April, meetings with various friends, and all the little things in my daily routine. These could totally catch me up and leave no time for that which nurtures and grounds my life.
Faye reminded us that our spiritual lives are multi-dimensional, dealing with times when we feel close and connected to something greater than ourselves, times when, because of this sense of connection, our lives take on deep purpose and meaning. They feel rich in these moments. But there are times when we feel far afield from such a Source, when we feel disconnected from all that would give life meaning and purpose.
I became aware of two dimensions to this spiritual life. There are times when I feel nurtured, fed from Source, for want of another way of putting the wordless into words. These times include times in Nature, seeing into the depths and wonder of a single wild flower, delicately expressing beauty into the space surrounding it, entering my soul and quickening it. Or reading a Pathwork Lecture or other writing and coming to an inner “Yes,” an inner resonance which, too, enlivens and quickens my soul. Or having an intense exchange and engagement with another. Or taking in a Beethoven or Mahler symphony, tears flowing from my eyes as I drive along the hills of West Virginia caught up with the magic of the music in the setting of Nature. Or meditating in the morning with Pat and feeling the flow from deep within of insights and intuitions which so awaken and stir my soul. Yes, these moments nurture my soul. It seems important to be conscious in these moments, savoring each morsel of nourishment, letting the morsels flow into me, letting them be digested and integrated into the cells of my being.
This nurturing is balanced with another spiritual dimension that Faye brought me in touch with: creativity, seeing this as the soul expressing itself. Faye noted many creative ways that the soul expresses what is alive inside: writing a poem, composing music or singing a song or playing a solo or being part of a choir or orchestra, painting or expressing in other art forms, or writing special prose. All of these express what arises in our soul, Faye noted. I took Faye’s words in and could instantly see some of my soul’s creativity as it expresses itself into the cosmos.
I noted that my blog posts feel like acts of creativity, expressions of what is arising in me. I am full of energy as I write out each entry, usually something having roots in my meditation, counseling sessions, discussions with Pat or others, or just arising from my depths. I feel so alive in these moments of creating. I can imagine that a painter would have similar feelings while creating works of art. I notice that there is great satisfaction in this expression of my soul’s creative processes.
Another expression of my soul’s creativity is in recording my reading of the Pathwork lectures. Here I go through each lecture carefully, marking phrasing, reading them carefully while standing at a podium, feeling the resonance of their truth with my truth as I read. I enjoy all phases of this recording process. And afterwards I delight in listening to them in the car or at the gym, experiencing their words once again enlivening my soul. And I notice the smile in my heart when another asks for a copy for his or her own process of taking the Pathwork wisdom in.
And this takes me back to times of nurturing. I notice that I am not so much captivated by the concepts or ideas contained in the lectures, though these can be helpful. Rather I am taking in particular words that my soul needs in that moment. The words flow over me and into me. More like a devotional reading than a cognitive learning reading.
All of these words of nurturing and expressing my soul’s creativity takes me back to balance. The clown has done his work in letting me see the insanity of the 20 spinning plates. I smile as he gathers his plates up in preparation for the next soul who needs such a lesson.