“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent.” – John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
O’Donohue picked the name of his book with purpose. “Anam cara”, or “soul mate”, suggests that the timeless wisdom buried within might offer the kind of guidance you would get from a cherished friend or spouse. Google it and you’ll find coffee mugs and spiritual retreats and other such things. It would also be a great boat name. And it stirs something in you whether you have one or long for one.
This idea of the soul awakening isn’t new to us. If this awakening happens at all, it might not be thought of as soul, but as passion or purpose or calling. Some of us steer clear of words like soul. It almost feels intrusive for me to be writing about such things. Not skating my lane, you might say. But I understand eternity, and urgency, and this idea that the things that matter most to us require immediate attention. For our time in eternity isn’t the moments on this side of the turf.
My own urgency started burning inside of me when I started writing again. It served as a catalyst for exploration and deeper thinking. And when you have it yourself you quickly see the urgency in others. Hikers hiking every available moment, landlocked sailors scrambling to be ready for the warmer days ahead, small business owners pouring every bit of available energy into standing up something special, artists creating brilliant mirrors that reflect back on the rest of us. Urgency senses its kind out in the wild.
The trick is finding and awakening that soul. And you only find it by trying and doing, tossing aside and finding something else to do. If you’re lucky you find it quickly and embrace it. Or you see it and follow a different path, only to have it pull at you until you finally listen or die embittered at the path you took instead. That’s no way to begin eternity. Is it?