how to hear what your soul wants

There are times when we feel pulled forward in life, by some strange mysterious force. A force that is both as big as the Universe and as small as an atom. That force is your soul. 

In June, I'm going to be spending time alone, without food and water, in the Oregon desert for four days and four nights. It's going to be time for me to be with my soul, to pay attention to its language and messages. Some people call this journey a Vision Quest or Vision Fast. (Don't worry, I will have a ton of support, including my closest friends and family camping together as I go through the fast, and an elder who will guide the whole experience). 

But, with so much noise, thoughts, expectations, and needs coming from all directions, how did I hear the call?

It started with a class at Stanford, believe it or not. I was taking a Design Fundamentals class. One of my professors asked us to tap into our "artist alter ego." I explored my imagination and materialized a woman named Leela. Leela is a forest nymph who makes art with nature. She created these cocoons in the forest, that she would climb into and live in for three or four days. Then she would then emerge from the cocoon, the other end, reborn. 

At the time that I created Leela, I had no idea what a Vision Quest was. 

After I graduated, I spent two months birthing a manuscript to a novel, about a girl who goes on a "Vision Quest" and seeks a clear vision about the work she's meant to do on the planet. In the book, the girl goes off by herself in the desert for three days, without eating, and has a vision of her past life as Leela (full circle!).

After writing and reading the book, it became clear that my dear psyche was asking me to do a "real" Vision Quest. In other words, my soul was screaming at me through the act of creation and imagination: hello! you need to do this. 

In Soulcraft, Bill Plotkin writes about the role of imagination in a caterpillar's metamorphosis: 

"No one exactly knows how the caterpillar changes form in such a dramatic way. But this much is known: inside the caterpillar's body are clusters of cells called, of all things, imaginal buds. Imaginal refers to the imago, the adult phase [of the butterfly], but it also means "to imagine," and psychologists use the word imago to mean an idealized image of a loved one, including the self. The imaginal buds contain the idealized image, the blueprint, for growing a butterfly.  While the caterpillar goes about its earth-crawling business, these cells, deep inside, are imagining flight."

Having studied Eastern traditions, I always thought of the imagination as kind of a waste of time, another way the mind distracts us from accessing spirit and consciousness. But now I see that the imagination can be a force of guidance, when it's coming from a deeper place within.

Pay attention to images, symbols, dreams, and synchronicities. Don't forget that your outer landscape, especially wild ones such as the woods, desert, ocean, etc. are all reflections of your soul's inner landscape {tweet this}.

What images or visual flashes have you been seeing lately? What is your relationship to them? Your soul may be talking to you. Feel free to reply or comment below on this post and let me know. 

xo

Maria 

If you haven't already done so, sign up here to receive my creative confidence playbook for women as well as the latest wisdom articles in your inbox (all free).