When the SOUL is neglected, it doesn’t just go away, it appears systematically in obsessions, addictions, violence and loss of MEANING. ~~Thomas Moore
One Christmas season, I saw The Velveteen Rabbit on television. This was before I had started doing the work on myself that I so desperately needed to do. It touched me so deeply that I went out and bought the children’s book for myself. There was something about that story and the journey to becoming “real” that I knew I had to have. Maybe buying it was the only way I could do that at the time. I remember reading it over and over again.
That analogy of being the one chosen got to me. I’ve written in previous posts that I was terrified of being unlovable. The story of The Velveteen Rabbit is about a toy rabbit that is finally chosen as a favorite of a boy and is just literally loved to pieces. And, that’s when he’s no longer a toy; he became real.
Now, I see it a little differently. Yes, I want to be real. I want to be loved to pieces. But, I don’t believe it will ever be because I’m chosen. I don’t believe it is a lottery or a personality contest to be loved. There’s so much love to go around. And, God definitely chose me when he created me. That’s a given. So, He definitely loves me to pieces. I believe it’s an inside job. I have to love myself. I have to choose to touch my own soul in order to become real. I also hunger for others to really see me. To me, that is what loneliness is….the desire, the longing to be truly seen by another person. I have been lonelier in relationships than I have ever been when I’m alone because I wasn’t seen.
I read a book called Soulprints: Your Path to Fulfillment by Marc Gafni in early 2000. In it, he has “Soul Print Practices” that are exercises to touch your soul and to develop your soulprint. I love that the book is experiential and outlines steps that I can actually take to explore my soul’s desires. It was my first understanding of the kinds of things we do to leave a soulprint. For instance, he talks about letter writing. You can leave your soulprint through a letter to another person. Ever find an old letter? Wow! When I find them, it’s like a treasure, and I love reading them. I feel truly connected to the other person through their words and handwriting.
He tells a story of one person receiving another person’s soulprint. An elderly couple was walking down the street. They were both so old they looked to be past the century mark. The woman’s shoe was untied. They looked into each other’s eyes briefly, and he began to bend down to tie her shoe. Marc describes it as being so slow I never knew anyone could move so slow. It probably took a full five minutes…. She waited patiently and allowed him to do it for her. In Marc’s words, the act was a symbol of a lifetime of knowing each other’s soul and receiving each other’s soulprints. They took time to see each other.
I try to pay more attention to receiving other people’s soulprints. Often, I’m busy or distracted or don’t do a very good job of it. But, I really do try. I know it honors the other person. But, I also know that I love that feeling when I allow someone else to share their soul with me even if they are not aware they are doing it. It’s a spiritual high that I cannot even begin to describe, and I won’t even try. I believe we are all spiritual beings. My friend Suzanne told me, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” That reframes it, doesn’t it? It is such an honor for anyone to open themselves up to me even for a moment. When I think of it as a spiritual interaction, it adds so much more depth and meaning to the experience.
Ultimately, aren’t we all like that velveteen rabbit, longing to be loved to pieces, to be that chosen one that is seen for our inner light. It’s not about being chosen. It is about being received. We are all chosen by God. Being seen for the beautiful beings that we are by other beautiful beings is our innermost hunger, it is what we call loneliness. The deepest, darkest loneliness can only be quenched by true connection with another person. I hope to do that for someone today. It will be so much fun!