Bill Plotkin is one of my favourite authors. His books reach me to the core of soul and bones. I have goosebumps the whole time I am reading his wise words. Plotkin is a depth psychologist, wilderness guide, and agent of cultural evolution. He founded the Animas Valley Institute in 1980 which is located in Colorado where PLotkin and his guides "facilitate the ancient/modern journey to the enigmatic core of the individual human psyche where one might encounter a profound and unique mystery, 'the truth at the center of the image you were both with,' a startling yet somehow unsurprising revelation of one's particular destiny - and, in this way, be gifted a new compass to steer by." Here is an AMAZING excerpt from his book Soulcraft. I encourage you to read the WHOLE excerpt:
"There's so much more to who you are than you know right now. You are, indeed, something mysterious and someone magnificent. You hold within you - secreted for safekeeping in your heart - a great gift for this world. Although you might sometimes feel like a cog in the a huge machine, that you don't really matter in the great scheme of things, the truth is that you are fully eligible for a meaningful life, a mystical life, a life of the greatest fulfillment and service. To enter that life, you do not need to join a tribal culture or renounce your religious values. You do not necessarily need to quit your job, sell or give away your home, or learn to eat only vegetables. You do, however, need to undertake a journey as joyous and gratifying as it is long and difficult. You will perhaps have to make sacrifices of the greatest sort along the way, but you will not be able to determine what they might be before you start. Nonetheless, to put things in proper perspective, please remember that at no point will you be asked to sacrifice any social roles, material objects, or self-images that you won't lose anyway at the time of your final breath. Something at your court prays you won't reach that moment without having courageously embarked, years earlier, upon the mystical journey of the soul.
There is a great longing within each of us.
We long to discover the secrets and mysteries of our individual lives, to find our unique way of belonging to this world, to recover the never-before-seen treasure we were born to bring to our communities. To carry this trea-sure to others is half of our spiritual longing. The other half is to experience our oneness with the universe, with all of creation. While embracing and integrating both halves of the spiritual, Soulcraft focuses on the first: our yearning for individual personal meaning and a way to contribute to life, a yearning that pulls us toward the heart of the world - down, that is, into wild nature and into the dark earth of our deepest desires.
Alongside our greatest longing lives an equally great terror of finding the very thing we seek. Somehow we know that doing so will irreversible shake up our lives, our sense of security, change our relationship to everything we hold as familiar and dear. But we also suspect that saying no to our deepest desires will mean self-imprisonment in a life too small. And a far-off voice within insists that the never-before-seen treasure is well with any sacrifices and difficulty in recovering it.
And so we search. We go to psychotherapists to heal our emotional wounds. To physicians and other health care providers to heal our bodies. To clergy to heal our souls. All of them help - sometimes and somewhat. But the implicit and usually unconscious bargain we make with ourselves is that, yes, we wanted to be healed, we want to be made whole, we're willing to go some distance, but we're not willing to question the fundamental assumptions upon which our way of life has been built, both personally and societally. We ignore the still, small voice. We're not willing to risk losing what we have. We just want more.
And so our deepest longing is never fulfilled. Most often, it is never even meaningfully addressed.
The nature-based people native to all continents know that to uncover the secrets of our soul, we must journey into the unknown, deep in to the darkness of our selves and farther into the outer world of many dangers and uncertainties. They understand that no one would casually or gleefully choose such a thing. Indeed, most people would not begin without considerable social and cultural pressure in addition to the great intrapsychic drive to wholeness. And although the journey is a spiritual one, it is not a transcendental movement upward toward the light and ecstatic union with all of creation. It is a journey downward into the dark mysteries of the individual soul. This is a journey on which, as the great German poet Rainer Maria Rilke put it, we are asked to trust not our lightness, but out heaviness. "
I hope you found the insight I found in these words. Every time I go back to this excerpt I am reminded of how important we ALL are to this world; We each have a purpose here. Remember that.