“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” ~Rumi
A Little History – 1975-2007
In 1975 I entered seminary, drawn by the strange pull of loving the depth I experienced in small, spiritually-oriented groups. Because I experienced a turning point in my life in 1967 at a retreat structured around small groups, I felt drawn to develop a retreat ministry. When I discovered that I possessed gifts as a pastoral counselor, my call expanded.
After graduation, I facilitated several retreats, mostly for church-related women’s groups. I planned meticulously a process that would lead the retreatants to plumb the depths of their inner life. However, these women spending a weekend away from home duties were more interested in having fun.
Bill Gay, a minister who contributed to my turning point in 1967, remarked at a retreat I facilitated for clergy in the early 80s, “Our denomination is spiritually anemic.”
Before long I focused more on counseling than retreat ministry. I learned that when people are in pain, they tend to be more willing to plumb their depths. That became the focus of my 30-year ministry.
Fast Forward – 2007-2017
After I retired in 2007, I got serious about writing my memoir. I took classes and attended writing workshops to learn the craft. It was fun interacting with other writers. And as a life-long learner, I soaked in the information.
However, writing a memoir required me to plumb my own depths. I had been doing that for years in my journal. Writing was my spiritual practice and form of meditation. Writing a memoir gave me an opportunity to go even deeper. And so, while some of my past was painful to revisit, I generally loved the process. I emerged with a whole new perspective on my life.
After publishing A Long Awakening to Grace in August 2017, I found freedom. With all my shameful secrets out in the world, I no longer felt the need to hide.
Unless you are famous or your story intersects with a hot topic in the culture, memoirs don’t tend to sell without a concerted effort at marketing. I do not experience marketing as an activity that feeds my soul. On the contrary, it tends to deplete me. And so, as I wrote in my last blog post, I’ve made my peace with writing as a hobby and not a business.
A Soulful Return — 2019
Sometime last winter I pondered the idea of offering a writing class through our local Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. A class focusing on craft did not call to me. I wanted to offer others an opportunity to write as a spiritual practice … designed to help participants plumb the depths of their inner life.
Class moderators are not paid so I figured if I was going to give my time, I would design the class around what interests me. And what interests me far more than facts about one’s outer life is what goes on in a person’s inner life … where their wisdom resides.
With all the reading my Sage Sisters and I had done on Conscious Aging, I wanted to empower elders to offer their wisdom to future generations. Our descendants might like to know what made us tick beyond just getting names, dates, and locations … as most genealogy reveals. There is something I’d really like to know about my grandmother … and sadly, the contents of her inner life went to the grave with her.
I began playing around with a process. And then a name for this class came to me as though a gift from the Universe. Soul Scripting: Writing for Wisdom and Wholeness. With the help of some friends, I wrote a clear description and sent it off for the curriculum committee to consider.
They accepted my proposal.
I wondered if anyone would sign up. Were there people out there like me … serious folks who like to plumb their depths? I didn’t get my hopes up too high.
After the initial date for taking registrations, I received an email with the list of classes that still had openings. Soul Scripting was on the list. I had limited the class to 14 and if there were just a handful interested, I was ready to drop it.
I called for the tally. Turns out the registrar didn’t get the information about my limit and accepted 18 registrants. You could have knocked me over with a feather.
Friends asked if I was excited. I kept my expectations in check.
Yesterday, March 19, we held our first class with 15 people in attendance.
I thanked them for coming … this group who expressed enthusiasm for the class description … these people willing and eager to plumb their depths.
And what a joy it was for me to hear
- their experiences of writing from the soul
- their experiences of listening deeply to a classmate’s writing
- their generous expressions of appreciation for the wisdom they witnessed in the soul scripts shared
I am back in my element … drawn by the strange pull of what I really love! I am fulfilling my soul script! It brings me fully alive!
“The Glory of God is a human being fully alive.” ~Irenaeus
What about you?
What is your soul script?
What brings you fully alive?