( Here I am heading out with a group from our organization “The Community Table” to climb the hills of Entry Islands in The Magdellan Islands. We wanted to get a better view of the beauty of the island and the ocean from on high.)
It is a Sunday morning in January and I am in the Magdelin Islands and decide I need a walk to clear my mind. The walk stimulates my thoughts to all that has changed in my life in the past six months and since I left Newfoundland some ten years ago. My reflections caused me to contemplate, once again, the question of “who am I”. It is a question that I have struggled with for most of my life.
As the thoughts flowed, the first free flow that I have felt in some time, I contemplated my disconnection. A disconnection from where I had grown up, the material things that had been part of my life for half of its duration and most of the things that I had considered dear to me. My thoughts move to a greater disconnection that I have been experiencing most recently, that of my mind from my soul (spirit). Evidence of this was in the lack of inspiration for writing, something that has eluded me for months.
A spark of an idea surfaced, perhaps this lack of inspiration was because I had ensconced myself in my mind. In other words, I had been living only in my mind, a mind somehow disconnected from my soul, with no means of embellishment of thought or insight other than from the external world. By disconnecting from my own soul I had become detached from the greater soul – the font of all inspiration and new ideas. Yes, perhaps on this Sunday morning I had made a discovery!
Then I thought about you and I and how we had been trying to ‘communicate”, adjust or accommodate each other. We have been trying this with words, with actions and with our minds. I was reminded that when we met, courted and married, our communications were from and through our soul. Somehow over the past months we have become disconnected from our real selves and have been playing out our lives in our minds. Perhaps this happened because of my preoccupation with “my work”. Maybe it was compounded by your struggle with settling into a new place, so far from family, friends and all the things that were part of your life for so many years.
As I contemplated more, I happened to meet a woman who had shared a workshop with me here in October (when I was last here). She was reading a book on psychology and reflecting on the difficult time that she had had adjusting since she had arrived in the Magdelins to take a job.
We discussed change, life and difficulty. She asked about my writing, of which she had seen some, and whether I was writing from the perspective of body, mind and soul. In fact, I had given little thought to this in what I had written. But, how strange my earlier thoughts of disconnection would lead me to this meeting and this discussion.
I explained that I thought that the soul “just is”, the center of our being and the center of a greater being (God in Christian terms). I believed that our minds and bodies were only peripherals to something much more substantial – perhaps even invincible. If we could only recognize this strength our fears would dissipate and we could become our true selves.
We discussed the need for nourishment of the body, the mind and the soul. I remembered somewhere in the bible, that it spoke of nourishment for the soul and it was through “prayer” – meditation to some. In other words, the body and mind need external nourishment while the soul receives it from within. Thus the need to walk, to stop and to reflect. We need create place and space to point ourselves inward and to tap the well of universal strength to nurture our true selves – what our souls really are. We disagreed on many things in our short dialogue, which was made more difficult by my lack of French, and her halting English. But, we did communicate despite the barrier of language, cultural differences and different perspectives. I was reminded, as I thought, that all these things are purviews of the mind – communication is much deeper.
All this brings me back to my original thoughts and something, which you have said to me many times, something, which perhaps I never fully understood. You have repeated, many times, that it is neither the place nor the job but how we live that matters. The dilemma that I have realized this morning is that “where” is important. I now know that I have been somewhere else than in my soul. I have been in my mind, and because of its disconnection to my soul, it has been full of misconceptions, fears and retributions.
It took me to go somewhere, which reminded me of Newfoundland, where I grew up, to reconnect my mind back in touch with my soul – to the real me.
I realized how easy it is to disconnect, to try and carry on alone, using only the limited resource of the mind and bypassing the unlimited wealth of the soul. How simple it is to forget that the internal nourishment of the soul enhances the external nourishment of the mind, maybe better said, it counter balances the negative nourishment that the mind can accumulate. How simple it becomes to disconnect from one another missing out on the mutual strength that togetherness provides.
Everything gets out of balance when we no longer know “where” we are and disorientation sets in. How important it is to reconnect ourselves to familiar environs, to appreciate where we are in life. For, without points of reference, we wander through life lost souls in a wilderness of fear. It is this fear of the unknown that causes the clouds in our mind, which subsequently shrouds the light of our true selves – our souls.