Hello old friend,
You shared with me that you’ve made tremendous progress spiritually. You meditate regularly, faithfully attend yoga classes, and visualize every night before drifting off into a gentle sleep.
You speak eloquently of the Talmud, the shamanic path, the Koran, the New Testament, and the Bhagavad Gita. You give thanks each morning to the four elements with the cornmeal you scatter in the wind. You lift your face reverently up towards the golden sunlight, welcome its soothing caress upon your face. Your life is good, you tell me. I immediately understand that you are expecting me to acknowledge your bounty, and I, ever the accommodating friend, oblige.
But what has become of the other growing things in your life? Your once beautiful garden so long now left untended has been overcome with weeds. Your son weeps in earnest in the darkness of his room, feeling alone and abandoned. He is weary of your lectures and your preoccupation with mystical experiences. While you serve him delicious vegetarian fare, he is starving for your attention.
And what of your partner? He no longer turns to you in bed at night. You waved him away again and again, too engrossed in your newest work of wisdom to hold him and whisper. He looks at you now from across the breakfast table, no longer enchanted with your transformation. He gazes at you barely listening to your animated explanation of energy points along meridian lines, and sees a stranger. He would like to share with you what little he understands of himself, but he knows that you‘re not interested. Somewhere along the way to simplifying your life, you concluded that he was too simplistic. His familiar face has now blended into the background. And as you eagerly encounter new vistas, your husband and son fade from view.
You miss your son‘s soccer practices; they conflict with your prayer group and you fail to schedule a dentist appointment; have these become more of those unimportant details you sought to escape when you left your job? You wanted to live a more meaningful life, have time, you explained, to attend to what really matters. I understood and applauded you then. I am struggling to comprehend now.
You shared with me that after reading BirthQuake you made the decision to honor your life more fully by living in greater accordance with your values. I remember feeling so proud of us both that warm summer day. I am more than a little embarrassed to think that I once took even a little credit for what it now hurts to acknowledge. I don‘t want the slightest responsibility for the “progress” you’ve made. Perhaps it is simply that you have surpassed me, grown beyond my superficial concerns. You see, I still value those bothersome matters that seem to you to interfere with the supreme needs of the mind, body, and soul.
It still all matters to me – mind, body, spirit, relationships, love, labor – all the details. I don‘t always enjoy tending to them, but I accept them as necessary. My dear friend, I ask you to consider that in order to follow that which is holy – you must embrace the whole. In turning away from the less invigorating aspects of your life, you claim you have gained spiritually. Forgive me, for I wonder just how much you’ve lost…
Caring for the soul is not a limiting endeavor which demands that much of the rest of our lives gets placed on hold. Soul work calls forth the sacred in even that which you consider to be tedious, and must encompass all of our lives.
Written by: Tammie Byram Fowles, author of BirthQuake: The Journey to Wholeness