Goddess Leonie asks on A Year With Myself, “Have you found your soul’s compass yet?” She starts her post, “Once upon a time, I was adrift. A boat without sails, a star outside of orbit.” I know this feeling. I’ve lived with it, comforted it, coddled the drift. But I feel closer to shore this year, closer than ever before. This week’s prompt on a 52-week journey of self-discovery is about reconnecting with your core. I’m one of the Instigators on this year-long event and want to share my answer to Goddess Leonie’s question.
My soul orients itself on color, shape, the taste of words.
On ordinary days. Much like a day from last week, when I spent most of the day in the company of my father-in-law.
We had lunch together, a wheat grain yogurt soup with chickpeas and leeks that my mother-in-law had left on the stove.
I came to eat lunch, drink instant coffee, and write.
My father-in-law read his magazine after lunch, sitting on the curved-back sofa with its shiny overlay of beige flowers. In my in-law’s sparse living room, haphazardly decorated, there are only two objects on the walls to distract me. A 2010 calendar with my son in a santa hat, and a watercolor painting I made in 2004. The furnishings are muted. Spare. At home, the paintings are plentiful. The colors vibrant, red, blue.
That day was an experiment in muted colors and a blanket stretch of time without interruptions.
My father-in-law and I sat at opposite ends of the table, he playing Solitare on the laptop I brought home for him from the US in February, and me with my word count.
The clock ticked by. He got up without saying goodbye.
I didn’t look up from my writing goal. When it was time for me to go, I realized he hadn’t come back, that he hadn’t run out to the corner store to buy the paper. I called him. He had gone downtown. “Baba, I am leaving. Do you have your key?” “Yes.” And with that, he hung up the phone.
I had told him I was leaving, so when he came home and found me still sitting at the table, staring out the window at the muted traffic, the muted hills in the distance, the muted afternoon light, he was surprised. His mouth a small ‘o.’ Then he sat down, opened his newspaper, and read until we were forced to turn on the light.
Where do you orient your soul’s compass?