Metaphorically speaking that is.
He begins his Prelude with this: “There was a time when farmers on the Great Plains, at the first sign of a blizzard, would run a rope from the back door out to the barn. They all knew stories of people who had wandered off and been frozen to death, having lost sight of home in a whiteout while still in their backyards.”
Lately, all of the gidgets and gadgets I’ve been playing with, the Smartphone, Pinterest, the search for optimum efficiency are great entertainment. But I’m hankering for more depth. The second part of the title of Palmer’s book is: “The Journey Toward an Undivided Life” and THIS is the conversation I am craving.
I have been wrestling with survival and success when I want to be pursuing meaning. I’ve traveled outward when I really wish to explore the inner landscape. I’ve been focusing on my role instead of my soul. And this is my blizzard.
How easily I lose my way when I’m not reading books that remind me of my deeper self. I work hard at my various jobs and so I feel entitled to play and play takes the form of distraction. Distraction is not inherently bad. It only becomes so when I simultaneously ignore the call to contemplation which is my true nature.
And if I want to be creative in my art and in my life, then this true nature is the well from which to drink.
For many years, I was involved with a Voluntary Simplicity group. What began as a highly structured exploration of simple living evolved into an intimate family of choice. We shared our inner lives. We met monthly for over fourteen years until we gradually lost our ability to be vulnerable. I count that loss among my greatest griefs because now I have no meeting place where I am called to be authentic.
Which is why I picked up Palmer’s book again, hoping to build what he calls “a circle of trust“: a place to be held accountable to my soul. I want to ask the deeper questions of meaning in the context of a group of like minded individuals; to be witnessed in pursuing my answers; to be reminded that the soul matters.
Palmer concludes his powerful Prelude: “This book is about tying a rope from the back door out to the barn so that we can find our way home again. When we catch sight of the soul, we can survive the blizzard without losing our hope or our way. When we catch sight of the soul, we can become healers in a wounded world — in the family, in the neighborhood, in the workplace, and in political life — as we are called back to our “hidden wholeness” amid the violence of the storm.”