Driving hail and snow on the bus back to Quamby Estate

Spirituality is life in action

The Soul Spectrum has gone a little quiet recently because my family has been on the merry-go-round of winter illnesses. We’re through that now, thank goodness. It’s truly uplifting to finally see spring emerge in its full glory, complete with the rich smell of violets and freesias (at least where I live), and so many blooming colours.

I’ve got some more interviews lined up for the coming months, but I thought I would write a quick post with some reflections on what I’ve learned while conducting interviews for The Soul Spectrum so far.

I’ve learned that there is an incredible generosity of spirit out there, particularly if you’re willing to ask people to let you in. I’ve been taken aback at how disarmed and honest The Soul Spectrum’s interviewees have been when I’m asking them particularly personal questions. It’s a level of honesty that I wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable in offering if someone plonked a recording device in front of me and said my words would be published on the internet!

Similarly, I’ve been so, so impressed at how articulate interviewees have been when talking about their personal journey with soul and spirit. It’s clear that they have reflected deeply on these questions, and I just find that plain beautiful. Again, I’m not confident that I could do the same.

Finally, I just love how idiosyncratic each person is when it comes to expressing their sense of soul and spirit. I love the clear picture of diversity that is emerging from The Soul Spectrum’s interviews, which is a liberating discovery. It might be a cliché to say there’s not one way to live a soulful life (I dunno, is that actually a cliché?), but there it is…

Paradoxically, however, I’ve started to notice some common themes among the interviewees. Several have grown up close to the natural environment, which has had a positive and indelible impact on their spirits. Many have spent a lot of time alone to connect with and nurture their soulful selves. And all of them are searchers following their apparently unconventional noses to places that are meaningful and fulfilling to them. This might sound easy, but it can be tough work when the pull of mainstream culture and its glitzy offerings are so overpowering and relatively ‘easy’ to just go along with. It takes a bit of chutzpah (as Ganga Karen Ashworth would say) to get out there and genuinely, really and truly be doing your own thing. I just love it, I really do.

If I’ve learned anything so far, it’s that spirituality is life in action (a realisation which is, in part, inspired by Gail Withers and her Patch Adams quote, “Spirituality is love in action”). It doesn’t look or sound a particular way, it doesn’t come with store-bought material expressions of spirituality, although these can be tools that help you get there (I’m thinking candles, Buddha statues, religious motifs or hymns). Spirituality comes with existence itself. Existence is imbued in spirit every moment of the way. So, to me, spirituality is omnipresent. It is just there ready for you to look at it, marvel at it, and love it with passion. As I said, spirituality is life in action. Take a look around you. The padding of your feet against the earth. The dimples on a smiling face. The breath of fresh air coming through your window. Nope, if you ask me, you can’t get away from it… So I started wondering where my soul is, only to realise it has been there all along. Whoops.

So, THANK YOU to Sage, Kate Pell, Anthony Ashworth, Ganga Karen Ashworth, Amnys Darbyshire, Tisiola Lear and Gail Withers for your time, trust and generosity.

I’ll back in the next month or so with one or two interviews. In the meantime, I hope you’re all getting out there to enjoy the sparkle of spring – yum!

Jess x

PS Thanks to Mik Efford for the pic.

 

 

 

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