A friend of mine tells the story of visiting a shop in Nepal and coming upon a beautiful ring. The shopkeeper told her it was a "truth ring" and explained that if someone swears by the truth ring and then later tells a lie, they are voluntarily taking on bad karma.
If you really want to know if someone is telling the truth, tell the story of the truth ring and ask if they're willing to swear by it when you question their veracity. Simply ask, "Truth ring?" and if they answer "truth ring," they know they're taking on bad karma if what they're saying isn't the truth, and you can pretty much take it to the bank.
All this being said, before I can get to the main topic here, I have a couple of "truth ring" disclosures myself:
Truth Ring #1
For the past six weeks, I have felt dry and depleted as a writer. Nothing was flowing. The well was dry. Try as I might to conjure something, nothing came. At first, I felt kind of panicked. Writing has always been such a satisfying endeavor for me. Interacting with readers has given me such joy. And yet, I somehow felt alienated from the whole activity, and suddenly a source of joy felt like an obligation. Writing had become an assignment, something to be done, rather than an expression of my deepest call for expression. And with this realization, I knew it was time to allow the field to go fallow, to pull back and give it a rest.
Truth Ring #2
Compounding my personal process of dryness, I felt confused by the new organization of what used to be the Living page here at The Huffington Post. That old neighborhood, which felt familiar and cozy, where I knew all the neighbors and was a frequent visitor on their back porches, had been replaced by the new Healthy Living page. I was thrown off by the unfamiliarity of the new neighborhood, so I decided to allow myself a "sabbatical" from writing. But after five weeks away, I once again began to feel the soul of the writer stirring in me, and one thing I have learned to respect and honor is the calling of my soul.
Now, having spoken my truth rings, I am freed up go on to the main purpose of this post. And by the way, it's good to be back!
Honoring The Soul's Agenda
As I've written so many times in previous posts, the soul has its own agenda, and we'd best align with it, for like it or not, the soul will have its way with us. The soul, as our animating life force, will steer our lives in the direction it intends in order to fulfill its purpose. We can interfere, and we can resist or prolong the process, but like a river, the soul will flow over and around all obstacles in search of a path to its goal.
Going with the flow of the soul, trusting and following it, doesn't always make life easier in the short term, however. The soul is not concerned with ease and comfort; it does not relate to degree of difficulty. Fulfilling its agenda is its primary goal, and there are many paths to its destination. If we throw up a roadblock, it will seek another route. If we allow fear to determine our responses to life, the soul will choose a path consistent with whatever kind of consciousness we project. If we insist on taking the hard way, the soul is just as happy scaling a steep mountain as trekking through a cool forest. We choose how hard or difficult the journey is.
How To Discern The Soul's Calling
It's not difficult to discern the soul's calling if you're attuned to the subtleties of its language. Notice when you feel "stuck" or dry. Notice when you feel drained and depleted. Notice when your energy is low, when you feel irritable, when nothing seems to go the way you want. Notice when life seems like a gigantic red light, when all the doors close in your face, when your work feels like work and your relationships are in conflict. Notice when your dreams are particularly vivid. Record and play them back, as if you're watching a movie and every character in the movie is being portrayed by you.
When this happens, it's a sure sign the soul is attempting to make contact. It wants your attention. Don't hang up. Stop, become silent and listen. The soul speaks in symbols and through images, so give it room to breathe. Pick up a pen and start writing. Pull out a paintbrush, gather some paints and start painting. Put on some music and let your body move. Your soul will show you the way from there. It doesn't matter if you're not gifted or talented at dancing, writing or painting. The soul only cares about moving the energy in the direction of its agenda. There are no gold medals, only completes and incompletes.
The soul has its cycles and seasons. Our work is to become mindful and learn to discern and honor its call. The quote below, from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, could also be called the anthem of the soul:
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
For the soul, our animating life force, time is endless. It is the part of us that will continue after the body falls away. The soul goes on, continuing its journey over many lifetimes, until its agenda is fulfilled.
The flow of my own soul has brought me back here to once again sit at the well and share the fruits of the journey. I honor my time away, but it also gave me a chance to miss you. And miss you I did. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. I hope it's mutual.
I welcome your thoughts and comments. What resonates with you? What questions do you have about your own soul's calling? Please weigh in and let's have a discussion.
Thanks for finding your way here. I honor your presence and feel blessed to have this connection. Blessings on the path.