The Universe — or whatever you might personally call it — has been trying to send a message.
As with most missives from the Universe, it’s been sent again and again, louder and louder each time, until it just can’t be ignored any longer. And, if your experience is anything like mine, then you’ll agree that the Universe is persistent if nothing else. Moreover, you’ll likely also concur that such spiritual dispatches usually don’t comport with pleasant descriptors, such as “sugary sweet” or “warm and fuzzy.”
The Universe Knocks — Loudly
However, you’ll probably acquiesce that, once we finally answer the call, we’re often in for powerful, potent truths — whether we want ‘em or not. And, sometimes, to fully assimilate such nuggets of veracity, lessons must be learned viscerally, not just intellectually.
Doesn’t it irk the heck out of you when the “ah-ha” moment, in and of itself, is insufficient?
Desperately Seeking Slighted Soul Slivers
In my case, this particular lesson relates to regaining a piece of myself that was misplaced along the rough-and-tumble way. That missing bit of self is akin to a “soul loss”* in shamanic parlance. And it stands between me and joy, me and wholeness.
My absent piece is the one related to vulnerability and playfulness. She’s the flirty, fun fop on the fool’s journey. She’s the one who’s open to possibilities, filled with beginner’s mind. She lacks jadedness, world-weariness, and pull-up-the-draw-bridge-and-bolt-the-door caution when it comes to matters of the heart.
As of late, it’s become painfully and increasingly obvious to me — and others — that this soul sliver has been lost and can’t be found. I’ve looked. Honestly, I have. I’ve searched under the bed and in the back of the closet. Not there. I’ve rifled through the “junk” drawer. Not there either. I’ve even checked the basement, the attic, and the garage. Nothin’.
And Then She Was Gone
While I can’t figure out where she’s gone off to, I do know that she’s been gone a long time. She was with me in my 20s and 30s. She was there during many adventures and in a multitude of zip codes. In fact, she was present until the hinges fell off during an especially cold and dismal winter.
That’s when she split (and, no, not because of the bitterly cold and endlessly dreary weather). She didn’t say goodbye. She merely hit the door and didn’t look back, not once — not even for a second. She got out of Dodge when the going got tough — really, really tough. She’d had enough, and I can’t blame her, because I’d had enough — in fact, way more than enough — too.
My life was in the middle of a meltdown, despite the sub-zero temperatures outside. London Bridges were coming down hard and fast. Major illness had me physically, emotionally, and spiritually wiped out. Family crises were in full swing, and the people in my innermost circle of life were struggling. What I viewed, at the time, as a career catastrophe was underway. And, worst of all, my beloved walked out on me and our long-term relationship.
Shazam. The end. Full stop. Only, nothing stopped. It just kept coming — and coming — and none of it was good.
You can’t blame that soul fragment for abandoning ship either, can you?
Since then, life has rebounded. Wounds, physical and emotional, have healed (albeit leaving scars). Loved ones are at peace. That specific career train completely derailed, and I blew up the tracks for good measure — which turned out to be a blessing. I eventually scraped up the shards that were once my heart and glued them back together as well as possible. And that interminable winter finally ended.
Gone But Not Forgotten
Yet, once the wreckage was cleared and things were put back into a new order, she — that lost soul piece — didn’t return. So, I simply went on without her.
At first, I’d actually forgotten about her entirely. Then, when I recalled her and what she brought to the whole — that fun, carefree, easygoing aspect — I merely discounted her worth.
But it’s not quite that simple. Her lack is felt, deeply so. Her absence is palpable, painfully so. It makes itself known in many ways, such as when I’m out and about mixing and mingling, or when I have a random interaction in the grocery line. It’s clear that some interpersonal function hasn’t just been dialed down — it’s been turned off completely.
That makes for awkward and surprising moments (read: deer-in-the-headlights reactions), as I no longer expect to be flirted with and have forgotten how to flirt back — which used to be second nature when she was part of the whole. I often seem unintentionally aloof, cold, or even impolite — things that she most definitely was not. Moreover, I’ve started to hide behind some extra pounds and lots of long, flowing layers (because who’d notice me anyway?).
A Not-So-Simple Plan
Could the solution be as easy as losing a bit of weight, buying a couple of cute outfits, and doing some speed dating?
Um, no. This is definitely not about getting a date. It’s not about losing that 20 — or, more realistically, 40 — pounds. Uh uh. It’s not about making snappy small talk with strangers. Not at all. None of that is why the rest of me needs that impish bit back.
It’s about something far more profound. It’s about wholeness. It’s about walking my path with ease as a glorious, complete, womanly creature shining her unique light into the world.
So, I ask you: Have you seen her? Do you know where I can find her? And, more importantly, do you have any suggestions for what to do when I locate her?
Hmmm. I don’t know all the answers yet, either. But the first step is actively looking.
Where should I start the search?
Well, she cherished moments of possibility that could be found in many everyday instances and interactions. If I’m open to noticing them, then I might well catch a glimpse of her. At first, she might only be spotted at the corners of my peripheral vision. But, over time, I suspect that her sightings will become clearer and more frequent.
And, once I find her, I’ll most definitely have to turn on the charm — the real, heartfelt allure that radiates from the inside out, not the fake stuff, which she could spot from a mile away. She loved to be wooed and engaged, and she adored smiling and being smiled at in return.
But then, believe it or not, the truly challenging part begins. I’ve got to make her want to stay. It won’t be enough to assure her that all the five-alarm fires that were raging when she ran down the fire escape have been put out, the ashes cleared, and life rebuilt. No way. While that’s all well and good, it won’t be adequate to offer her the safety of our own comfy, little cocoon. She never could stand being a caged bird. Instead, I’ll have to be a willing, witty partner on adventures — both mundane and monumental.
I don’t know how long this process will take or where it will lead. But I do know that it will certainly involve the unexpected. I’m also prepared for the fact that there will be dead ends, failed attempts, and frustrations along the way — maybe a lot of them. It could be like a cha-cha: one step forward, two steps back. It’ll also involve the uncomfortable unraveling of incompatible ways of being that have become entrenched. But there’s also sure to be laughter, levity, escapades, exploits, and loads of learning. So, I’m in. I’m all in.
Up For Your Own Seek-And-Locate Mission?
Are you in, too? Are you really, really in? Do you want to undertake your very own version of this seek-locate-reintegrate quest toward authentic wholeness?
If you’re in, as well, then: Ready. Set. GO! And happy wholeness hunting to you!
* Soul loss occurs when a piece of one’s self — of one’s soul, of one’s essential essence — becomes so injured that it simply splits off from the rest and disappears to another plane. This can happen because of mental, emotional, or physical trauma, or due to extreme stress. This loss may or may not be immediately noticed. Nevertheless, when it happens, the self is no longer complete. Something — often something vitally important — is missing.
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