"Your soul knows the geography of your destiny.
Your soul alone has the map of your future,
therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself.
If you do, it will take you where you need to go,
but more important,
it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey."
- John O'Donohue
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
- Mary Oliver
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles by Marianne Williamson
What is my life's greatest longing at this moment?
In class, we have been asking ourselves this question and outside of the classroom, we have been encouraged to tuck this question into our heart-minds as a living inquiry. Our aim is not so much about working the answer, but rather, to cultivate curiosity and openness to living the unfolding question.
To facilitate a courtship with our innate, inner life impulse, Toko-Pa Turner (author of Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home) suggests that we create a Longing or Dream Altar. Dedicate a space in your home for objects (found or created) that symbolize aspects of your life's longing. Even if you haven't found anything that symbolizes your longing, Toko-Pa recommends that you place a piece of cloth in a spot in your home to create space for the longing / dream to reveal itself.
Toko-Pa also believes that dreamwork offers a restorative path of true belonging to our lives and to the world. In class, we have been cultivating a "courting relationship" with our dreams, freeing ourselves from figuring out what the dreams mean, and instead, practicing being open to the mysterious and symbolic nature of dreams.
Dream recall & courtship tips:
- Remain still in bed upon waking and mentally rehearse the dream fragments before getting up.
- Journal the content and core feeling states of the dream.
- Take an integrative walk in the woods with your dream to practice remaining open to the wisdom and medicine offered in our symbolic sleeping life.
As the Salt Spring Island author Toko-Pa Turner writes in her profoundly beautiful book Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home (2017) "The world has never been more connected, yet people are lonelier than ever. Whether we feel unworthy, alienated, or anxious about our place in the world - the absence of belonging is the great silent wound of our times."
Toko-Pa continues "Most people think of belonging as a mythical place, and they may spend a lifetime searching for it in vain. But what if belonging isn't a place at all? What if it's a skill...or a set of competencies that has been lost or forgotten?"
Inspired by Toko-Pa's writings and her online dreamwork courses, I will be sharing with you in the 2019 winter class season some of the competencies of belonging that can "heal our wounds and restore true belonging to our lives and to the world" (Toko-Pa Turner).
Masters Level Clinical Counsellor (MA)