New Wineskins
June, 2007

So much life all around us!  
Fresh breezes playfully dance through the northern pines.  
The warming sun nourishes the landscape.  
Grazing cattle eat their hearts out!  What joy!  
The vigor of life strengthens…
berries appear on the bushes, budding roses prepare for their unfolding,
bees drink sweet nectars, and birdsongs fill the morning and evening hours.

All creation partakes of the richness of each day’s bounty.
“As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.  
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2).

The journey of the soul enters a period
of unprecedented growth and development.  
Whatever it was that caught us and ushered in this new springtime…
an idea, a change of heart, a paradigm shift of some sort, an awakening…
the new life is in a raw and unrefined condition.  
Our task is to cook this rawness over a period of time,
which may last several years.  
It is a process of distillation…
of turning memories, thoughts, ideas, hunches, impressions, and insights over
and over again and again.  
Over time something important emerges…the ripening of fruit.  

We cultivate, watch and participate
in the budding rush towards splendor as it unfolds in our lives.  
Taking an interest in what is alive in our soul is a way of loving it.  
Love makes a difference!  
We develop the skills of cooking…simmering, stewing, boiling, and
broiling…making something delicious to eat.  

It is important to give soul a home in which to thrive.  
Soul desires a home in our hearts or in our journals,
someplace personal and private.  
The home brings things together like a hearth…
the fire of the home, a warm center.  
Any place will do:  a tent, an apartment, a mansion, a room, journal…
the literal place is not important.

This new wine needs a new wineskin.  
“Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins.  If they do, the skins will
burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.  No, they pour
new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved” (Matthew 9:17).

A container is needed to hold this new expression of life.
Our attitude should be one of cherishing the new life
as it expands out from us…
to exhibit mercy to its childishness and adolescence as it matures.    

For instance, let’s say we were awakened to an idea
that we were too dependent on others.  
The first inclination is to think that we need more independence
(an ego move)…and this is a move away from soul.  
To be soulful, we deepen our idea of dependence by cooking and
fermentation.  We hold the growing idea of dependence in a new wineskin.

We cultivate, watch and participate in the times we find our selves
dependent.  We take interest by loving the various moods and nuisances of
dependence.  We deepen our experience of that word.
We allow the soul to work on that sludge
until we find the gold hidden thread.
And something vital and living eventually emerges that graces our lives.  
We learn to coddle dependence
and it becomes a virtue of strength and vigor.   
It ripens to sweetness!   
The feeling of dependency is foundational for a spiritual life.        

Soul Journey Through the Seasons
Nourishing Life--June, 2006