Hillscapes. Sun. Tea. Books. Birdsongs. And a new location – on the other side of the hill. Quiet. It takes a little time to unwind. I forget that when planning a trip. And sometimes it takes changing our minds and changing our location as we did last night. It was a good move.
Now the breezes come and go, the small manmade waterfall offers her calming rhythm, the hawks glide overhead on rising currents of warming air, and I think about … how much does the soul weigh?
I’ve heard some say they have sensed the soul leaving a body before the time of death was duly noticed and recorded. I’ve also heard that the soul has been measured and documented by comparing the weight of a body before and after death. But I don’t remember anyone saying how much it weighed?*
Are some souls weightier than others? Do some of us have more or less soul? And does our soul grow and get bigger and bigger as we age and experience, pray and dance and mourn and laugh? Or, is my soul exactly as she was when first born of flesh – no different from then til dust returns to dust?
All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.-Ecclesiastes 3:20
I’ll never forget Barbara Buck (the greatest therapist) sharing this verse with me nearly fifteen years ago. It was as close as she would ever come to bringing her personal circumstances into my session of whining, crying, questioning and baulking. Her disclosure, inviting the trappings and insights of the cancer she was fighting in from the hallway where it dutifully waited for fifty minutes, made me sit up and take notice; hold my breath, pay attention to the possibilities of seeing ordinary things re-shaped for higher purposes – like coal into diamonds, glass into colorful tiger-eyed marbles, or living fully when the probably cause of our final days is in view.
She had a knack for that – to offer what at first seemed the most unorthodoxed and inappropriate responses as an experiment towards new solutions, like laughing when wanting to cry, staying instead of running, and playing when “thinking it out” seemed to be the more natural and productive path.
I carry with me today many of her “bucking the system” teachings that help me remember and practice finding ourselves, and God, in all of our human conditions.
- The body doesn’t lie.
- There’s nothing wrong here – stay, don’t run.
- Don’t take yourself or the situation so seriously.
- Try laughing lightly when challenged by making a serious mistake.
- Take care of your own stuff; then leave it out [in the hallway] when helping others.
- And, dust to dust.
So what does all this have to do with how much does the soul weigh? Very little, but the question did lead me to remembering a dear women who shared her wisdom with me even in the times of her own dusks, and with this, a reminder to experience with gusto all that being human can offer. Including, leaving the rest of the story here as we go out and explore Mount Baldy – also known as Prayer Mountain.
*A quick search on the internet turns up rather sorted and unpleasant accounts of such soul research. I’m pretty sure this dip into the mire of myth and mystery lead me, in part, towards the lighter and more uplifting memory of Barbara Buck and her influence to walk more lightly into the sunshine of the soul. No matter what it does or doesn’t weigh.