Welcoming the Soul

Elul Day 14

"The soul wants truth, not trivia.
So if the space between us is to welcome the soul,
it must be a place in which the truth can be told."
–Parker Palmer

The word soul is not a neutral one, regardless of whether it evokes a positive or negative response. There's soul music and soul food and soul searching. Oh and who could forget soulmate? 

In Judaism there are actually five different words for soul (nefesh, ruach, neshama, chaya and yechidah), which means that this season's spiritual housecleaning requires time and attention to every level and dimension of our lives. I also understand this to mean that there are aspects of my soul that live underground in my unconscious, revealing themselves to me in surprising ways, sometimes in dreams, or playfulness, or sorrow. 

I cannot possibly be prepared all the time for these soulful moments, nor would I want to miss out on the element of surprise that can be magical and delicious. What I want to do is cultivate a feeling of hospitality, not only for others, but for these underground parts of myself too. Welcoming what comes with patience, rather than judgment. Trust, rather than shame. Wonder, rather than fear. This kind of hospitality reaches far beyond offering someone a snack when they come for a visit. 

When Love Comes: A Prayer of  Gratitude


When love comes,

We are racing hearts and fluttering bellies,

And the whole world tastes like sweet nectar.


When patience comes,

Silence comforts us

Like a long drink of cool water.


When forgiveness comes,

Our eyes soften and our lips curve up

Toward the heavens.


When courage comes,

Our feet grow roots into the earth,

And our shoulders pull back and wide.


When compassion comes,

Our arms spread like wings

To pull You close.


When gratitude comes,

Our tastebuds rejoice

In celebration of the bountiful.


When joy comes,

We join the Beloved in a dance

Of twirling skirts and swirling rhythms.


When wisdom comes,

We stand tall in the smallness of our shadow,

Cast by the great Light of Goodness.


When peace comes,

We hold hands with our enemies

And receive them like blessings without restraint.


When the Divine comes,

The path cleared for us and by us

Is shared with stones to mark our way.