Preparations for a journey…
Placed on a campfire, the pictured artemisia lets loose a fragrant silvery smoke. The refreshing odor serves nicely as an incense offering for the soulful travel I am seeking. Preparation for travel is more than packing one’s gear, or at least it can be more. What does it look like if we spend as much time packing for our psyche as we do trying to ensure our creature comforts?
As I prepare myself to step off, I’m gathering the gains and losses of the last year. It’s a review process that I’ve come to rely on more regularly given the vast amounts of information our modern lives challenge us to hold. Typically for this process I review my journals, paying close attention to the dream series that has unfolded since the last review. I also pay close attention to lost leads, interests which surfaced over the preceding months but which, for what ever reason, did not get developed or dropped away from consciousness. While this is not a complete life review, doing this creates a reprioritization signaling that the multiple concerns surrounding daily life will be placed to the side, allowing a redirection of sorts to emerge. This process leads to a frame for what is to follow that I like to call the set. Rooted in intentionality, the set develops a context from which a picture of your goal for the journey.
Embodiment is an essential attribute of our entire earthly existence, but these days we tend to specialize in disembodiment. Posture is both literally how we hold our bodies during any action. Posture also relates to attitude, which can be thought of as how we hold our mind in relation to whatever has our attention. If one of the goals is to engage the imaginal realm, then the question follows, what postures suit this activity? Consider this: heading toward the motor vehicle department, our minds and bodies brace for the anticipated irritations. Heading toward the imaginal, distinct postures related to wonder, humility and and awe begin to dominate and support our hopes for soulful travel. As Robert Johnson reminds us:
“The unconscious is a marvelous universe of unseen energies, forces, forms of intelligence – even distinct personalities – that live within us. It is a much larger realm than most of us realize, one that has a complete life of its own running parallel to the ordinary life we live day to day. The unconscious is the secret source of much of our thought, feeling and behavior. It influences us in ways that are all the more powerful because unexpected.” Robert Johnson, Inner Work, pg. 3
As we so beautifully note in the poems of Rumi, one essential posture is to be welcoming, that unknown/unseen guests may be received.
Two “lost leads” from my journals earlier in the year that seem particularly important as I prepare for the soulful travel this week and will serve for the focus of my next post: Timing and Temperature.