A season has passed since we last connected through my blog. At first I hesitated to write – feeling a little like someone picking up the phone to call a friend when we have let months slide in and sit between us.
But here I am, and like all good friends who smile knowingly, I trust that it will feel just like yesterday…
This month I turned 50! And the lead up to this milestone brought much reflection.
Mostly, I considered the traveller in me – the wanderer – and how I have, often unknowingly, cultivated a sense of following the call of my soul.
You might know that feeling? A certain kind of intuition or sense that guides and speaks to you…
And there is generally an awakening to Soul. It often begins with a turning point. A moment or series of moments when you wake up and do something different; turn in and out in the direction of the whole.
I was 26 when a spontaneous qi experience led me to seek answers that took me to Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. My dubious day job in the Resort there afforded me contact with the local Buddhist population. And so it began…
For 4 years I learnt the way of Buddha, began meditation, qigong, was introduced to Chinese medical practice, the breath, and temple life.
I came to understand sacredness. And it was then that I first embraced the plant-based way of living I enjoy today. Some 24 years later I can’t imagine another way of nourishing my physical self than through vegan living.
Healthy silence met me there too. Tending to space – inner and outer.
Yes, there was a lot socialising, dancing, alcohol, 8-ball, and some illicit substances. There were laughs and friendships too, heartbreaks and life-lessons.
But the steady hand of Buddhist dharma and practice held me well enough that my soul could speak and at times, I was actually able to listen – not always, and not for long, but it was a beginning.
And it took me travelling. I spent time in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, visiting sacred sites and temples. Following the Buddhist trail, I went to China and Nepal, and spent 3 months in the highlands of India at Mcleod Ganj.
Living among monks and nuns, tourists, locals, monkeys, trees and mud, I tried to understand the energy within me. This chi – that life force – that animates everything, and which I could feel and think into direction.
I knew it was healing but I didn’t understand it. I sought answers beyond what Chinese medicine offered. I waited hours to meet the Dalai Lama, but sitting on a wall afterward, watching locals genuflect in the open temple, clear as clear a voice resounded within: ‘Everything you need is within you’.
Everything you need is within you.
I didn’t know where that voice came from, but I know now that it was my soul speaking what I had forgotten. It was reminded me that I came into being, whole, one with creation, with Earth, with Spirit and my soul.
And then I forgot. And then I was not… whole any longer.
And I am not alone in this very human condition.
As we grow the skin of experience over the raw beauty of Soul, and we fragment in an array of tiny pieces, our memory becomes a diaspora of Soul Knowing. And, if we are really fortunate, we spend the rest of our lives trying to round up the pieces, bringing the fragments back together in order to make whole what the incarnation broke apart. If not so fortunate, we live in forgetting, oblivious to our fragmentation, acting out from out wounded and unconscious bits.
In my forgetting, I wandered – a pilgrim in the dessert of matter, seeking ponds and pockets of oases for succour, thirsting for the nutrients that my fractured memory cried out for in its longing.
When I left India, I enrolled in Psychology at University and did 3 years. Though Soul had spoken to me not so long before, already I had forgotten. Instead, I sought the answers of the mystery of life in understanding people.
Unsurprisingly, I didn’t find what I was looking for there.
I thought it was in picking apart the nuances of our workings that my hunger would be sated. But I only found hardness of rock and chisel against the battered crusts of ego and personality.
Still, I studied more. Honours, Masters, Doctorate, countless certificates, tens and tens and tens of thousands spent in training, and learning…
But learning what?
Only now, in this time of reflection, in the turning of my fiftieth cycle, do I realise that Soul isn’t found or achieved; Soul isn’t learnt or bargained for; uncovered or discovered; Soul isn’t even hidden – and as strange as it sounds, Soul isn’t forgotten either. Soul just is.
Soul simply rests back in the being who you are, filtering through, guiding you, speaking to you, helping you to remember who you are, steering you in the way you wanted as you incarnated into your life. And at every single opportunity, Soul offers you a facet to recognise and integrate into the diamond of your being.
Yes, Soul takes every chance it can to reach you through the layers of ego and personality. It trusts that you will recognise the signals, dreams, symbols, signs – that allow you to work out the code and patterns, behaviours, habits and beliefs that are the stuff of the manufactured world – crusting over Earth’s diamond within. And every time – every single time you recognise this, awake to your shadow, understand it and integrate it, a piece of you – one of the fragments is cleared, cleaned, nice and shiny and able to rejoin the Soul of you.
Extraordinary, isn’t it? Or perhaps just really ordinary…
And yes, it’s a risk. Sure it is. What if after waking to fragmentation there is no ah-ha moment? What if you remain dislocated – the diaspora of pieces never coming together for a reunion? What if looking, hearing – what if being with those tiny pieces are just too painful, too raw to touch? How then? How then to remain awake to the call of soul… Easier, gentler, simpler to forget again, to sleep some more.
And that wouldn’t be so unusual. It happens all the time. It’s mostly what happens. We just have to look at our beautiful planet and reach into the collective of humanity to know that fragmentation is the greatest invitation of our time.
That’s why it’s so imperative to stay with it – to awake to Soul, and to stay with it. For just as we long to be whole; just as the Earth longs for us to be whole, so too our very own soul is singing out to us…
And I wonder… I wonder what you might hear if you turned an ear inward… If you trained yourself to listen out for the nuances of your soul…
I wonder what it would say…
And what turn your life would take if you in turn spoke with your soul, and asked it…
How can I help you?
This is my 50th year practice. My invitation is for you to join me – let us come to know the inner essence of our being in our remembering of Soul.
Karolyne Quinn PhD is a healing practitioner and spiritual mentor, living and working in Edinburgh. She writes, reads, dances, communes with land and deer, and lives a plant-based life. Karolyne is currently practicing the art of remembering the Earth of herself, as she touches and is touched by her soul. Karolyne offers in-person and Skype mentorship – Spiritual You – for information click to email her.