Day 7, To See What We Can See: A Soul by Any Other Name. . . .


Dear Friends,

So many of us are in so many different situations regarding “soul”, the sacred, “God”, religion, and/or our spiritual heritages.  I myself have struggled so much with this and worked through so much regarding this depth dimension of life. (You can read more about that on the “About” page on my blog.)  My intention here is to offer some ideas and suggestions for pondering the “d & r’s” in life, and helping us to express that part of ourselves in image or word.  That is, to ponder what’s “deep and real,” and begin to express it for ourselves, whether we call ourselves Buddhist or Christian, atheist or agnostic, or anything in between.

On the bad days, when life is flat and I can’t believe that there could be any “God” when so many people throughout history have and are suffering so much,  and the brightest I can feel is some gratitude that I’ve not grown up in a refugee camp, orphaned and schooled in the hatred of my enemies —- on even those bad days, I feel, or hope, that there’s more to life than just surviving, that there are some deeper realities, even if they are purely human possibilities and potentials.  Those deeper things, and my personal allegiance to wanting to develop knowledge and experience of that, is what I mean when I talk about “soul”.

But some of us have strong negative reactions to the word “soul”.  Or just have no idea what the word can really mean, in this mysterious crazy world of ours where it seems that the traditional home of these ideas, religion, has gone crazy with power, abuse of the innocent, and fighting it out with whatever other group it can label as other, and “wrong”.  I know that.  I really do.

Nevertheless, it is of great value personally and for the world for us to explore and claim what is really “real”, what is really “deep”,  what is really worth living for.  So I invite you to brainstorm a list of words that express these ideas that are meaningful for you.  If you don’t like the word “soul”, how about “d & r’s”, “the depths”, “spirit”, “essence”,  “mi corazon”.   If you already have a language and/or a spiritual home in these really “reals”, write it down and translate some of the words into the language you would use with your atheist friends or with very little children.

You can make a crossword again, like in yesterday’s prompt, or you can write the words in webs or circles of color.  Sometimes, the words just won’t come; in that case, cover your pages with colors that make you smile.  Swirl some cheap acrylic paint together with an expired gift card, or layer some watercolors.  Play, and see what can be seen.

With love,


This is day 7 of a series of daily prompts for written, visual, or art journalling, or just for pondering.  For more background information, see the Intro page, or this post on visual journalling:

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