Awakening to our soul is a long journey. Any of us who have been on long trips know there are rewarding times that open our minds and spirits. Lovely times where we wish our trip would never end. Painful times, ups and downs that sear our hearts and spirits, perhaps making us wish we had never started. Waking to our soul can be like this.
One of the complicated aspects of this journey is that souls aren’t motivated by the pain that being in a human body brings. They understand that one of the hardships of being human is that learning to be human is painful. They know that pain is a teacher, a motivator for us, and that we experience pain in the awakening process. That we feel pain and our souls don’t can sometimes cause a feeling of great separation.
Pain is a powerful tool for waking us up. There is nothing quicker to make us feel immediately human and vulnerably present to what is happening at the very moment of pain. It can stop us in our tracks. If we pay attention, it presents us with an opportunity to slow down. Slowing down allows us to pay attention to what is happening. Paying attention creates awareness. Creating awareness decreases the amount of pain. Decreasing our pain allows us space and time to create what we want in our lives. This creates an opening for us to listen to our souls so that we can heed their guidance.
Pain is not a pleasant experience, so we try to stop it. My learning curve is always slower than I want. I used to say that my approach in learning how to stop creating pain in my life was the “2 x 4 (as in wood) approach.” Sometimes I had to be figuratively hit over the head with something — an unpleasant experience — to pay attention in my life. (Whatever hit me over the head might be obvious to other people, or my soul, but not to me.) I was not purposefully living this way. In fact, I desperately wanted to stop it! But it took time before I awoke to the fact that if I slowed down, became more present in my life and paid attention to how I was living, I could learn from beauty instead of pain.
Our soul wants us to learn from beauty — beauty as defined spiritually. This definition includes all of who we are: our hurts, our fears, our longings, our dark places, our learning curves, our gentleness, our love, the gift of who we are.
My journey includes skinning my spiritual knees from time to time, getting over embarrassment I sometimes cause myself from not having enough experience or tools to prevent my learning mess happening where others see it. Many times, I have not gotten it right the first time, the second time, or the third time.
What has made it easier to connect with my soul? Three things: working at it, working at it, working at it.
Usually, it is something outside of ourselves that starts us on our awakening journey — an illness, a deep loss or tragedy, a significant change such as entering a midlife crisis. I was fortunate at the beginning of my journey to have a very good and deeply spiritual friend say to me, “Heron, you really seem to be making life hard for yourself. You need to find someone to help you look at how to make your life easier.” It took a few years to understand that my very wise friend was correct.
What was critical for me is that I listened to my friend when she said I needed help. It’s difficult to develop new skills in something without help; the journey of awakening has to do with learning spiritual and emotional skills. As we develop these skills, our ability to maintain our emotional equilibrium allows us more freedom to believe in ourselves. Believing in ourselves is a very liberating doorway into connecting with our soul.
This is the journey of awakening to your soul.