The Geography Of Soul








Perhaps my years as Geography major at Middlebury College have not been wasted after all. I think I was just looking at the wrong maps. In the external world I am exactly 180­­° off, every time. It takes a certain mental calculation, like knowing that moss grows on the north side of trees, to determine my direction. But it’s more than that. I’m convinced one’s compass gets set at birth, yet I’ve come to see there are other ways of having a sense of direction.

Take the soul’s purpose, for example. How does it find direction? Have you ever asked yourself what your soul’s purpose was, or what you came into this world to do? What if you drew a map from your heart to the universe? Where would it take you? What would the topography and landscapes look like?

I’ve done some thinking about this, perhaps in part to justify those four years trying to decipher which way the settlers came from, where they built their first village, and what kind of crops they grew – all from looking at a topographic map. There is a certain logic and pattern to the way we arrive and live in this world. There is also something less obvious, which can take years to discern. It has to do with a different kind of direction, derived from mystery and the contract, or promise, we make with our soul before we arrive. I believe we can live a whole life and be oblivious to it, but if we seek it out, like a map in our hearts, we can affirm our reason for being, and infuse it with so much energy we can’t wait to get up in the morning.

The other night I had such an epiphany. I went into a deep meditation with the question, “What is my soul’s contract with myself?” I lay down and listened first to a song of Tibetan singing bells, called “Ancient Spirit’s Sing” by Chuck Jonkey, and then to some world music by Armand Altaïr, called La Traversé. The bells were centering. The world music took me deeper in. A phrase came to me, which I’m somewhat embarrassed to share, because it’s so nice. But it fits for my life’s intention this time around. The phrase was: “I am loving presence.”

This morning I took photos of the sun on window crystals. After yesterday’s snow-storm we had freezing temperatures. I couldn’t wait to get up and find the next turn in the map of my soul.

What is your soul’s purpose?
What did you come into this world to do?

This entry was posted in Eileen's Armchair and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to The Geography Of Soul

  1. john lyden says:

    there was a very interesting movie about 30 years ago starring Gary Cooper called the Hanging Tree about a country doctor in which he said he “carried his soul in his black bag”. This is very, very powerful thought to a physician when he contemplates the meaning of his existence

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      What a beautiful image John. In this fast paced world, where the family doctor’s house calls are a rarity, I think doctors need to be reminded not only of their soul’s purpose but of how they would write their own Hippocratic oath. No matter what our purpose job in life, we all need to look at why we are here. Thanks for participating. Warmly, Eileen

  2. joaneee says:

    Eileen, in my beautiful childhood home was a large world globe that I would spin, stopping it at will, imagining the places I would see. When meeting explorers still was enough to inspire awe, my parents would take me to their lectures and be sure I was personally introduced to them. One day – I knew – I would become them.

    I came close, discovering places in the polar regions that few if any had seen – places that I consider heaven on this earth. Those faraway places have made my spirit soar I feel, allowing me to be “all I can be” in the directions I have chosen in “real life”. I have never thought of this as “my soul’s purpose” as you have suggested . . . but what has happened in these faraway places has a integral part in the person I have become. What did I come into this world to do? I don’t feel as if I have felt that singular force, pointing me in a certain direction. As the explorers had done, I was open and willing to see what was around every corner. Curiosity was the force. The goal, unstated, was to be a positive force in whatever endeavors lay before me I would believe.

    I have certainly tried. . . and each day, I notice, my spirit seems lifted high. And each day I make yet another step forward. I am not going to question such things. I do always give thanks as life is a continual present with more layers that cannot be believe to still unwrap. My personal globe is always spinning. Joan

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      Dear Joan, I believe your natural curiosity may well be your purpose. It has magnetic pull and no doubt draws others in to the wonder of life. What a beautiful gift! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Richard Trenner says:

    Dear Eileen,

    You ask a very good question: one that I need to ask myself more often and more seriously and then—most important—ACT on the answers that I find.

    You write: “I believe we can live a whole life and be oblivious to it, but if we seek it out, like a map in our hearts, we can affirm our reason for being, and infuse it with so much energy we can’t wait to get up in the morning.” Do you have any specific advice for “seeking it out?”

    Your photograph is beautiful. The entire image looks to me like, say, a Arthur Dove’s version of heaven. Better yet, the winter branches (at top left) look like a roadmap giving directions to el sol, the soul.


    • eileenrockefeller says:

      In answer to your question of how we seek out our passion, I might suggest you re-read my post from November called, “How do we Find our Passion?” My own belief is that purpose stems from passion, and they both are derived from one at least three sources: suffering, love, or gratitude. Try them on for size and see what you come up with!

  4. Phyll says:

    Love your photo of the sun shining through ice crystals! Wonderful details. Beautifully captures the magic and mystery of nature. I can almost feel a chill within the frosty design yet sense the warmth (and artistry) of your soul in this radiant crystal collage.

    Our souls let us know when we are in the groove by the ease and lightness-of-being with which we interact with others or engage in tasks and activities. Ever since I was a child I adored animals. I felt happiest and most at ease in their presence. Over the past few years, I’ve been thinking about pursuing something that will benefit animals—perhaps through writing and/or photography–for that is where my heart lies.

    Over the years, I came to understand my (or my soul’s) need for harmony, gentleness and quiet pursuits. After reading Elaine Aron’s book, “The Highly Sensitive Person”, I was able to better understand my true nature and soul’s desire. Another good book is Thomas Moore’s, “Care of the Soul.” Both books taught me about “soul work” and how we might respect and take good care of our souls—thus, spread our goodness, gifts and talents where they may do the most good.

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      I believe that in most cases, gentleness begets gentleness. You walk lightly on this earth Phyll, and it encourages those who know you to do the same. Thank you.

  5. Naef says:

    oh love, this is extraordinary, i am so touched. thank you for the pleasure of being witness to your travels. my goosebumps let me know of the exquisite listening here, this offering, yours. the map of a ‘different kind of direction, derived from the mystery’ of our soul. yes. and yes. may we all still long enough to hear.

  6. Phyll says:

    P.S. Here’s a link to an article, about the soul, by a writer (psychologist) whose work I admire:

  7. Louise Gilbert says:

    Eileen Dear, you “knocked my socks off” with JOY!! You speak my language for sure and it is a pleasure to witness….and yes, from what I know of you, you are indeed a loving presence–so own it girl! Thank you for today’s message to remind me to ask myself what my soul’s purpose is in this world and this is what I came up with: very simply put, my soul’s purpose is truly a reverence for life and its inhabitants. I do believe that I was born with a sunny disposition, which I have come to own more these days—I seem to enjoy being of help when I can by supporting friends and family– who may have difficulties– with a lens of encouragement. The Navajo culture has many songs and blessing/healing ceremonies. One that I love is the Navajo Blessing-way Ceremony–here is a snippet:

    In beauty I walk
    With beauty before me I walk
    With beauty behind me I walk
    With beauty above me I walk
    With beauty around me I walk
    It has become beauty again.

    Love to you and your beautiful soul Eileen, Louise

  8. Hi Eileen, beautiful photos… Yes, I have asked where I belong in the order of life’s crisscrossed
    order ! It is an awesome awestruck question to answer, so I have “stopped” digging into my soul.
    Knitting, music and the mornings seem to rest my quest for answers, My sister S. is the wise one.Who is your wise sibling– visit the wise.

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      I believe you sell yourself short, Elaine. There is a wise one who resides inside you. Everyone has one. Check again, while you’re knitting. You may find her in-between the stitches…

  9. Judith Ann Meynckei says:

    Dear Eileen,

    To answer your first question, for me ..Ephesians 1:11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, *for He chose us in advance, and He makes everything work out according to His plan.

    I came into this world to serve.

    Thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts and feelings to us.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Judith Ann (Judy)

  10. Ellicott McConnell says:

    Dear Eileen,

    I’ve been enjoying your posts.

    You mentioned your conviction that one’s compass is set at birth. In fact, you are correct. A few years ago a gentleman became interested in why, in the autumn, migrating birds appearing in a part of the USA where they would not normally be found were often species which should have been on the other side of the country. Experimentation showed that these particular birds’ instincts were scrambled; they simply couldn’t tell east from west. This aroused his curiosity, and he extended his work to humans, finding that, indeed, there are many people who cannot differentiate left from right without thinking about it, those who quickly tell us to “Turn left”, while pointing to the right!

    Keep up the good work.

    Ellicott (Mac) McConnell

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      I like your equating us with birds and migrating patterns. I hadn’t thought of that. But if birds have a direction at birth, why shouldn’t we? Thanks Mac.

  11. Darrel Huenergardt says:

    I believe a soul’s purpose is to love, in its varying degrees. There are those, few in number, that I love intensely and emotionally. There is a larger group that I love in a individual caring way. There are the masses of unknown people I love in a social good way. How these levels of love are accomplished varies as life situations change. My goal is to be able, at each stage of life to look back on my memories and smile. If I can smile, then my soul’s pathway traveled has been a success

  12. eileenrockefeller says:

    This is a beautiful idea, Darrel. And I believe you are right. It seems so simple, yet it is often the simplest ideas that are the truest, or the most universal. And certainly, there is one thing that sustains us as much or more than sunlight, and that is love. Thank you.

  13. Phyll says:

    And, on this note, may I share an enchanting melody with you all. . .

Comments are closed.