As one who engages in accompanying others on their spiritual journey, I know I have a responsibility to do my own work. I was reminded earlier this week by my own spiritual director to do the work. I am grateful for her willingness to companion me and challenge me when I need it. My going to my own director, engaging in peer supervision or even consulting with a supervisor one on one, is doing the work of a spiritual companion. Maintaining spiritual practices and using tools for growth and soul tending are also things of “doing the work” It’s walking the walk.
Let’s be perfectly honest, though, sometimes its just HARD. It’s like the path on my labyrinth in my backyard. I see the path like I see it on my labyrinth but when I look around it seems lifeless and bleak. I long for the greening of the trees in my yard and woods. I want a spiritual spring doggone it! Even though the sun is staying around longer each day, there is still a chill in the air. The snow is gone but the ground is soggy and cold and appears lifeless. I kind of feel that way. It’s hard work walking the walk.
This past Sunday, I walked the labyrinth, journaled about my thoughts and feelings and then went to my office/studio and created SEVEN cards. I’m not ready to share them publicly yet – if ever. They’re pretty dark. They are what psychologist, Carl Jung, refers to as “shadow.” These cards or “Inners” represent the HARD STUFF I haven’t wanted to face for quite a while. These Inners are aspects of my story not ready for prime time. And that’s okay. They are meant for me right now.
I am incredibly grateful I came across the SoulCollage process. I discovered this process in the fall of 2018 by attending a workshop at a retreat center near me. It sounded like fun – cutting images and pasting them on a 5×8 card. The bonus was the process of asking questions or writing poetry AS IF speaking like the image on the card. I remember my very first card I made. I still look at it and say “wow”.
An even bigger “wow” experience was in store for me when I attended a week long, silent, personally directed retreat at a retreat center in northern Ohio. Through images and sentence completions to “I am One Who” I experienced The Mystery or Spirit in a deeper way and encountered that Spirit WITHIN me. I was captivated by the process and wanted to know and learn more. I wanted to know how to share this experience and process with others. It was fun. It was profound. It contained all the human emotions. So, I took facilitator’s training at a retreat center in Westfield, Massachusetts in December, 2019. (In January 2020, I attended a pretraining for labyrinth facilitation training where we walked a labyrinth then did SoulCollage!)
I am aware sometimes images within SoulCollage cards are darker but I can’t say I was prepared to create SEVEN of these types of cards in one sitting. By creating a card – even a more shadowy, darker card, I am able to bring out that piece of myself and look at it. AND if it becomes too overwhelming, I can turn that card over. By turning it face up again, I can lean into the “hard stuff”, that not so pretty stuff and gently say “hello” to that part of me that needs a little care and tending. I can lean in as much as I want and even turn that card over for a minute or two until I can re-orient, re-group, and look at it again.
It’s been over a year since the world shut down. It was a hard time and continues to be for some. Some places are back on line. Others are not. I, for one, am thankful for SoulCollage. I noticed as I flipped through my deck this past week that I created a number of cards during the darkest days of shutdown. I cannot imagine not being able to have this process.
I am committed to sharing this process currently through online Zoom workshops. Please visit Events on this page for dates. https://listening-heart.com/events/
I am also pleased and excited to announce on May 1, 2021, World Labyrinth Day, SoulCollage® and the Labyrinth: Connections to the Soul Retreat Day from 9a to 3p EST. Please see Events https://listening-heart.com/events/ for details and registration.
What are you grateful for in the past year? How do you handle the “hard stuff”? What spiritual practices sustained you through this past year? What practices changed? What sustains you know? How do you “walk the walk” of your calling? of your profession?
(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. Spiritual direction and spiritual companioning is typically done face to face in a confidential setting or can be done via Zoom or other virtual platform. If you would like to explore one on one spiritual companioning, group companioning, SoulCollage©, the Labyrinth or Reiki, please contact me. If you, your faith group, your church or your book club would like to know more about spiritual companioning, please contact me to schedule an informational workshop. In the meantime, my hope is that the photos and this blog serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)