Five years ago, on a sunny May day, I set out on a most memorable journey. I had been to Montreal before, but had not heard of the quaint village of Hudson, Quebec, that lay nestled against the long, deep and moody blue river and the two-lake mountains. As I arrived after a five-hour drive from Toronto, I was immediately mesmerized by the descending, winding road into the village, flanked by murmurs of a creek on one side, and quaint cottages sitting on pretty hillsides on the other. I felt my heart in synch with the rippling water. I could feel my anticipation mounting as I slowly made my way to the days that would soon be filled with enchantment, wonder and falling in love.
My partner had made the brave move of inviting me for the weekend. We had known each other for many years, and as a result of having the opportunity to reconnect, we had begun to see each other in a different light. Within minutes of my arrival, I was whisked away for a grand tour of the village including a walk to Sandy Beach. The wooden bridged steps creaked over the gentle lapping of water; the sun was filtering through with a cadence of warmth that filled my heart with joy. As I walked along the river’s edge, I felt so alive and in love! Little did I know I would be married and living in Hudson within the year.
We bought a turn-of-the-century cottage in dire need of repair. We were knee deep in torn down walls but we were happy newly-weds. Three months into the new chapter of my life, a 20cm cyst was found in my womb. I needed a hysterectomy. I was put on an emergency waiting list; not knowing if what was growing inside of me was malignant. The four months of waiting were some of the most agonizing moments I had yet to face. Would I live? Would I die? It was definitely one of my major crossroads. The cyst was not malignant, but that year of waiting, surgery and convalescing taught me a lot. I stood on the precipice of mystery and knew I was being called to dive in and ask some serious questions: ‘Who am I?’ What do I believe? What are my challenges? What is my purpose? Who do I wish to become?
These questions and I have become the best of friends. I notice when major change is occurring in my life and as I go through the transition, they begin to surface. I believe imagery is our first language and we need to find the way to communicate with that language so we understand the path we are being called to take along our journey. As a spiritual arts practitioner and an artist I make my way into the imagery that calls forth when I ask these questions. One of the pearls that came out of this experience was the song “Tell Me Life.” It was the top of February, a few days before my surgery. I had received the healing wishes and prayers of many and felt I had prepared myself well. I remember being mesmerized by the beauty of the falling snow outside my window. There was nothing left to do but surrender my life to the events that were about to unfold. The fear was gone. I had reached a point of peace. I lay my trust in the Divine. And with this surrender, in this unfolding came the gift of “Tell Me Life.” http://www.theartofsoulcare.com/tell-me-life/
Years before, I was an active independent recording artist. Life has its detours. After feeling unhappy with the music business as I knew it, I began searching for something deeper. My quest showed me the road to seminary. I was there for six years and attained two master degrees, with the initial intention of becoming an ordained minister. Time wove me and shaped me into the practitioner I am today. For this I am exceptionally grateful. I felt carried. I felt my life was saved as the elements of my spiritual life, my religious life, and my inherent artistic nature were woven and integrated, shaping my personhood and my ministry. This quote of Jesus comes to mind: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 15:35) “Tell Me Life” marks the occasion.
Through the sharing of our stories we have the capacity to see ourselves through the eyes and hearts of another. We can come face-to-face with our differences and our oneness. Thank you for being here.
With this opening blog, I leave you with the poem of the month: Miners of Soul.
Blessings and peace for the journey,
Poem of the month ~
Miners of Soul – © Vivianne LaRiviere
Miners of soul,
Dig for me no longer
In the underbellies of the earth.
The walls are collapsing.
These are the depths for no man.
The treasures that lie within
The marrow of the ground
Are to be unearthed by earth itself.
Let your silence deepen
Not your tongues.
The earth rumbles from within.
Excavate no more
The inside of the windows of the mountain.
Silence sings of riches
Only from the soul of a rich one.
And rich you are not
If you are gleaning your happiness
From my empty pockets.
Fill not your coffers or coffins
With silk cloth or coloured paper.
Fill rather my living days and bellies
With fruits of the vine,
Wheat of the fields,
Rice from the waters
And bison, wild bison
That sacrifices its life
So that I may dream of my children
Living until tomorrow.
Challenge no longer
The quest for knowledge
But rather embrace my education
So you may learn the ways and walk of wisdom.
Let milk pour into the mouths of hungry babes.
Otherwise, your soul will be as wanton as the dry dust of the desert.
And you shall remain lowly, beneath the belly of the snake.
And there your identity shall perish
As you grovel in fear
And blame me for the terror that fills your nostrils.
Your time knows no justice.
You are scornful and ignorant of love.
Like the devil,
You look to the edge of the world
To win – your race of destruction
Mirrored in the face of war.
You are out to destroy your self.
God and angels will persist.
The birds will continue to fly
And the wolves will howl at the moon
Long after you are gone.
Fish will swim,
Whales will chant,
Flocks of angelic geese will suspend
Bears will dance on fields of majestic whites
And the rainbow will pray
With the tiniest of creatures
Following them home to safety.
You will be forgotten.
The very thing you fear the most – to be forgotten.
Pretend no longer.
I can see you.
Let you remember who you are.
Rise above the waters.
Your mind is twisted like the gnarled grass of the swamp
Your reality caving into deep quicksand.
Hold yourself serene
Let your heart and eyes be filled
With purity, like a vessel of clouds and blue sky.
Heed not the voices of those misaligned.
Listen. Deep listening is your medicine.
Become a doctor of listening.
Follow only your breath – it is the richest of all of riches,
Mined only in your own soul.
Trust in what you gave away.