Welcome to The Soul Spectrum, an online space dedicated to documenting the presence of soul in the full spectrum of our everyday lives. It’s headed by me, Jessica Raschke, because I’m utterly obsessed with “soul”, something that people might otherwise describe as “spirit” or “spirituality”. I like to use the language of soul to understand how people make meaning in their lives, because just the word “soul” in itself leaves me feeling inspired and fulfilled all at once. But everyone has their own way of interpreting “soul”, and that’s what really, really fascinates me.
So, it’s not surprising that I often find myself having long and dark nights of the soul. At least, that’s where I think I’ve been, somewhere in the soul, or just somewhere close if not actually in it. Yet the notion of the soul itself is ever elusive. What is it, exactly? Sometimes I know I’m there, deep in some kind of soul-space, but most of the time my rational self steps in and interrupts any chance of really feeling it. I doubt it. I forget it. I challenge it. Sometimes I ignore it. This poor treatment of the soul-space must be why I keep returning to a quote by that wondrous poet and mystic, Rumi:
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.
To me, the soul is inextricably linked with a strong sense of spirituality, and I keep pushing myself to reach a place within myself where I completely feel soulful. Yet I hardly ever reach it. Perhaps I’m already there, perhaps I’m always there and I have just taken it for granted. But something within me says, “You should just know it.”
No, the truth is that I envy others who can confidently claim that they are living a soulful life. I’m fascinated by this kind of person. I’m in deep admiration of this kind of person. Well, actually, I’m intensely envious of this kind of person. They have reached a place that I can only struggle to arrive at. And I might not ever get there. Although – as the line from Rumi suggests – I have every intention of getting there. I have every hope that I’ll get there.
But, just in case I don’t, I’d like to learn from the many people out there who are living soulful lives wholeheartedly. I want to hear their stories and ask them how they came to believe and feel what they do, and what their soulful beliefs look like in their everyday lives. I’m particularly curious about those who walk comfortably in their soulful selves in a contemporary and secular sense.
All the very best,
PS: Thanks go to Hamish Ta-mé for so generously offering to photograph the wonderful interviewees. Thanks, also, to Mik Efford for designing such a beautiful website. As always, a big and loving thanks to Jim Pettigrew and our kids for so patiently supporting me in making The Soul Spectrum a reality.