“Each person is born with an unencumbered spot, free of expectation and regret, free of ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry, an umbilical spot of grace where we were each first touched by God. It is this spot of grace that issues peace. Psychologists call this spot the Psyche, theologians call it the Soul…
To know this spot of inwardness is to know who we are, not by surface markers of identity, not by where we work or what we wear or how we like to be addressed but by feeling our place in relation to the Infinite and by inhabiting it.”
The Greek word for soul and butterfly is the same – psyche. This verbal anomaly suggests that our soul, the “spot of grace where we were first touched by God,” is a dimension of ourselves that matures gradually. Like the metamorphosis that takes place when a caterpillar is transformed into the butterfly that it is capable of being, we evolve into our best self. It takes time, it takes the experience of loves and losses, the humiliation of failure, and the humbling grace of success to teach us that we are more than the “surface markers of identity.”
What would we be like if we were to live from this deep place of psyche/soul? If we were to do so, there might be an aura that permeated our presence and actions. There might be a quiet calm about us, even though our life was filled with the chaos of conflicted relationships and deadlines too close to meet. There might also be a deep joy that was unexplainably present despite the existence of painful losses. We might experience a firmness and resolve as we voiced an opinion that was unpopular even though it was hard to be the odd person out. And we might find ourselves nonplussed in the face of a derogatory comment that would wound the most callous among us.
When we inhabit our soul, we live in response not in reaction to the events and relationships that comprise our life. When we are in touch with our “spot of grace” we find our identity within, and know that we are more than what we do or what happens to us. When we know “our place in relation to the Infinite,” we experience the freedom poet Mark Nepo writes about above – freedom from expectation and regret, ambition and embarrassment, fear and worry.
Determination, patience, and the willingness to open ourselves to the transforming forces of life are the cocoon that enables us to become a human butterfly – the person of delicate and enduring beauty we are meant to be.