Over the past few months, I have been harvesting my soul, gathering up the joys and sorrows, the richness of my life, in memories, writings and photos.
I have been prompted to dig deep in this harvest, partly as a result of my participation in the two-year program Growing in Wisdom. This program, sponsored by several retreat centres across Canada, is aimed at those seeking a spirituality for their wisdom years. I enjoy thinking about myself as a full-time student in ‘wisdom school’. I always liked school! And the pandemic has offered up the solitude to support this harvest.
In Anam Cara, John O’Donohue says that everything is within our soul in the temple of memory. I enjoy thinking about all the rooms in the temple of memory. O’Donohue also emphasizes the importance of self-compassion as part of this process, especially important for those times that are difficult to remember and be with. Those rooms we may have avoided entering but would serve us well if we did so. *
Note that Anam Cara is translated as soul friend.
Aging nudges us to visit this temple of memory, all those rooms, and integrate life in ways that busyness may have kept us from in the past. This integration promises to bring us home to ourselves in new ways.
I trust this process, this integration, will give me some peace of mind and will also provide me with some wisdom to share. It has prompted me to start some new creative projects and to add new voices to my blog posts. In 1969 and I am Having a Baby, I am reminded of what it was like to give birth some 50 years ago, and of the specialness of the women in our lives at such times. Women Making History put me in touch with my early feminist years, and Jolabokaflod: Icelandic Book Flood has connected me to my Icelandic ancestors. And in Grief as a Companion, I share about honouring grief, bringing it out of the shadows, especially at time like now where we all experience so much loss.
Oh my, this harvest is bountiful and for that I am so thankful. And I am reminded that what I attend to now, will be the fruits of future harvests.
The first few lines of Anam Cara:A book of Celtic Wisdom:
It is strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone. Behind your image, below your words, above your thoughts, the silence of another world awaits.
*Thanks to Nancy Phillips, Program Coordinator for the Growing in Wisdom Program for her writing on harvesting the soul and reference to John O’Donohue and Anam Cara. I will be sharing more about this course in the future.
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