Carla was a young woman who had a compulsive need to be liked, to be popular, and be approved of. Not surprisingly, she was never content and rarely happy. With the source of her self-respect outside of her, attached to the ever-changing opinions of others, she was never secure in herself. She was like a feather blown about in the wind.
Tom was a middle-aged man going through a separation with his wife. He could not imagine a life without her for he had always projected his soul upon her. Not surprisingly, her withdrawal sent him into an emotional free-fall. His attempts to pressure her back into the relationship only pushed her further away.
She wanted him to get a better sense for his own life and to be less dependent upon her. However, it was hard for him to focus on himself and to develop a relationship with his own soul. Neither did he want to accept that he only had limited influence on the situation and his wife’s ultimate decision. He was more concerned with his own goals than in discovering and serving the goals of his deeper self. It was easier to search for his soul outside of himself than within himself.
Both of these people made themselves the dependent servants of others whose attitudes and opinions they desperately attempted to control. They did not serve their soul, strive to honor their own developmental process, or attend to the discovery and service of their own calling.
We are all meant to serve the unfolding process of our personality and life calling, what is sometimes called the Tao. To do so is liberating and yields a relationship to others that is authentic rather than calculating, self-responsible and mature rather than psychologically dependent, creative rather than egocentric.
Focus on and commitment to your own path, or calling, in life frees you from unhealthy bondage to those outside of you. You are more spiritually self-contained, caring more about honoring your true self than a role/persona that is there to simply please others. Things find their proper place and a healthy hierarchy of priorities is established. You accept what life brings you, experiencing obstacles as opportunities rather than just frustrations.
Placing greater value on what you think of yourself as opposed to what other people think of you is liberating and centering. Caring more about following the process that is trying to unfold in your life, rather than imposing your goals and aims upon life, is a form of surrender that relieves tension, gives stability to the personality, and allows magic to take place. Giving priority to your relationship to your own soul and God leads you to your higher destiny and the truth of your own being......
Copyright © Andy Drymalski, Ed.D. Excerpts may be used provided full and clear credit is given author with link to original article.
I have caught glimpses of this throughout my life, times when i have acted on gut feelings (listen to my soul) and things have happened. However there are times when the ego along with attitudes formed early in childhood have led me to neglect the soul. 5 Years ago following my own personal ‘perfect storm’ i was in a situation where my mother was in the final stages of cancer, at the same time i was having to make decisions about my future (in academic research) which ironically would have taken me back close to my home town. Professionally there was a strong pull, but personally i knew the environment was not good for me. Furthermore it would have meant a distance relationship with my now wife. (Imagine drinking a well mixed cocktail of fear, commonsense, immaturity, ignorance and gut feelings pulling equally strong in both directions). I ended up taking a job which in hindsight was not me, this led to a break down of sorts and catapulted me into jungian therapy which has blown open my understanding of who i am and how the family dynamic formed me (it was not bad, in many ways good, but in crucial ways not helpful to who i wanted to be and what i wanted to do, a realization which has been soul crushing at times). That part of the storm has settled, but i am now professionally unsatisfied and my soul keeps reminding me of my research. In many ways i felt like i betrayed myself, my destiny, but in other ways it was probably a necessary process of stripping me down to the essentials. The problem now is how does a person recover from this ? I have tried to find other directions professionally, but they come to a dead end in ways which make me think some ‘external’ force is shutting those doors for a reason ( i am in no way religious, though delving into the jungian world make me think there is something which is beyond my/our current perception). I have started to take aim at ‘research’ positions but that is akin to winning the lottery. The dynamics of my history, my problems, my current circumstances are so tightly interwoven i cannot see how i can repair the damage)…i guess what i am getting at, is the question: How do you serve your soul, when you willingly / ignorantly / mistakenly /purposefully (still figuring out which adjective is the correct one) discarded those things which served to feed the soul, things which are not that easy to find ? or put another way, if you betrayed your soul/ destiny, how do you recover from that ?
From a very complicated person !
That is a good question and one that I imagine many people beside yourself are asking. I suppose there comes a time when some opportunities are lost and can’t be retrieved. Some callings just aren’t going to be achieved to the extent that they might have had we acted on them sooner, made a different choice when we were younger. But there is always the opportunity for redemption. Life is always redeeming itself. A tree loses its branches in an ice storm and it grows new ones. It may not be as elegant as it once was, but it shoulders on and becomes beautiful in its own way. Like the bristlecone pine trees, wounded and scarred but moving symbols of endurance, wisdom, and eternity. Life is always shouldering on, finding new ways to fulfill its destiny in whatever its current situation. The original goal of the soul may not be fulfilled in this lifetime. There will be others, I believe, an afterlife (or lives). The important thing is to learn from the process, clarify your values and calling, and keep moving forward in whatever way your soul beckons you. That’s all any of us can do. That’s all any of us does. If a tree can grow out of the cracks of a concrete urban playground, new and meaningful life can certainly grow out of your regrets and struggles. Don’t get down on yourself. See which way the wind blows and carry on.
Thank you for your comment and questions.