The Soul and The Spirit in Pandemic Form

Ever wake up wondering why you are feeling low? You begin by attributing it to outer realities, like the weather, your current personal predicaments, your relationships, the tasks that preceded your sleep, the experience of sleeping or not sleeping, your physical strength or pain, the looming day’s plan or lack of plan. These realities impact your spiritual state and thus, your emotions.

Oftentimes, the senses determine our moods as well. Is there a jarring noise present? Do you smell the litter box? Are you hungover? Do you realize there is nothing good to eat and must now forage for more?

What is available to us, and also what we seek and procure are the very sparks of energy that inspire us or leave us wanting. This is the case with Spirit. Spirit, or breath, is inhaled and exhaled, granted resources necessary for life. Spirit also breathes into us an energy that comes from the divine source. In this way, we are sponges for sunshine, birds singing, pancakes and a good massage. When we awaken to source, we build a vibration that resonates with all the gifts of our world, both inside a single home, inside the neighborhood, or expanding out on a global level, and finally also into other dimensions for which we may connect through meditation, dreams, and intuition.

Spirit is that which gives us inspiration to act, to fight, to love, to hold someone’s hand, and to rest, to keep going. Spirit is the life force within and without the body we inhabit at this time.

Soul, on the other hand, is that which resides within eternally and independent of spirit. It includes our inner thoughts, an untold or realized purpose, memory – both conscious and unconscious – the history of wisdom in this lifetime and prior lifetimes, the family’s genetic imprint, the current experience as an individual entity, and the future calling to another purpose, even beyond the grave.

When we think of a soul having depth or mass, power, equal levels of shadow or light, it is so often out of our human sphere; it is one of fate and divine orchestration, especially noted only if we are paying attention. Of course soul and spirit are inter-related as well.

In a pandemic, our spirit, or life source, is limited by the experiences which protect us from illness, death, and loss, and questions our responsibility to others. We must adapt in order to keep the vibration at a tolerable, or ideally, a joyful level.

We complain and cry out because we are lost and must fight in this new reality. We are agitated and clawing for the upper hand. We are also comforted when we find that the human collective shares in this. We are then not alone, even if we are alone.

However, in order to adapt, we must also surrender to what is. We must come to know new ways to feel inspired, energized, and hopeful. And let’s face it, we are being stretched, and only the strong will survive. The strong will see that they must evolve with it. The strong will continue to use their imaginations and sheer will to their own advantage. Madness may be inevitable. Yet, madness is on a continuum, and we can nurture ourselves out of it.

We have always freely used the world at our disposal. Now our world gives less of what we know. No more vibrating in massive groups. No more breathing in the collective energy of electric concerts, the drive of sporting events, traveling with abandon, and the aesthetic of movie theaters without great risk of meeting the silent, invisible spirit of death.

The soul lives on and integrates a new piece of what it was always meant to know. This pandemic is only another part of the eternal experience. Lessons are being taught.

The question is clear. How do we keep the breath of spirit moving? How do we now honor our ancient or newborn soul by feeding its own divine nature?

Thoughtfully. Intentionally. Bravely. This pandemic has left us weary, but there is still much time left to endure.

For me, it is one simple hour at a time. What does my soul tell me? What does the divine provide? What will I do, but more so, what will I choose to believe?

I can tell you that I believe in the bigger picture. I believe in me. And I believe in us. I believe in a song. I believe in looking into the eyes of the people I love. I believe in looking into the eyes of strangers too.

I will smile. I will sit in silence until the tears come. I will do the dishes and paint and write and dance. I wlll read and talk with my family on the phone. I will spend an hour just taking a bath or tending my nails. I will allow naps. I will walk outdoors as though on a pilgrimage, seeking new roads I have not yet tread. I will watch a comedy. I will curl up to the side of the few that I can, human or animal; it makes little difference if I decide it. I will close my eyes and listen. I will taste every bite.

When the holidays hit, and I am possibly alone, I will play Little Drummer Boy and drink egg nog anyway. I will keep the rituals that build a divine source of spirit with candles and pine boughs and bells. I will be grateful I am alive in a world that will find its way back to its natural state, a tiny sprout of green among the burnt remains.

I will dream of the day, not so far from now, when a warm mist rises off the morning streets, the children of God delight in the fragrance of lilacs and wet soil, and the earth swells with hope.

Remember Yourself, Dear

My son who lives in a small rural town came to visit me in the city yesterday. He expressed an open disdain for the noise and commotion of urban life. Beeping vehicles and diesel motors and speakers from the green line blaring scheduled routes across the airwaves. People crisscrossing everywhere. Flapping birds leaving shit on the sidewalk. Trash on the park bench. A human being sleeping against a brick wall.

Granted, my son might have had a strong need for coffee, but for the first time, I felt territorial. I wanted to protect my idea of my own current home.

I waved his commentary away and bared down into my own pride.

We slipped inside to the privacy and control of my apartment.

Later that evening, hours after he had left, I walked along the street alone, heading home from a local venue.

It had just stopped raining and it felt peaceful. Sweet and safe. I had only a few blocks to go. The street was glistening with rain water. A lot of grit had been washed away. And I thought about how I could not bring him back to see this now. Only I would know the beauty of this gentler side of the city. The green leaves against the soft sky. All the people seemed to have gone somewhere else. The cars moved slowly now.

It doesn’t matter where I am. I can deflect the madness of the city’s burning fuse. I can absorb the gorgeous microscopic moments of the human race. I can just be here and know that I have everything I need within me to live. The universe will provide.

I do this thing when I walk in the city. It is something you are never supposed to do. I look people in the eye. I don’t smile. I just look. I know it is a risk. I know it can come back to bite me, and it has. More than once a stranger will rage, “What are you looking at?” Sometimes rare predators will think it is an invitation for the kill. Then I have to become ice and stone.

But my daring effort is only a glance. Half a second. To see if they are looking back. To see if they can tell I am just a soul who wants to know another soul. To see if they can tell that I am here on this earth and one day we will all surely die.

Most people don’t return my glance. Most people don’t look up at all. But every now and then, a person like me will catch the split moment and smile a little. Just the smallest glimpse of a lift on one side of their lips. Then some part of me knows that the world is still good. I cling to the memory of a past I once held loosely, when the world was safe and strangers said hello. After all, we don’t have that much time here. We are only puppets for the gods.