Psyche: Your Inner GPS Navigation System
I was walking this morning and came across the above sign. The road goes up and over a series of mountainous wilderness areas, ascending and descending through some of the most gorgeous terrain anywhere in the world. And it’s wild, truly “a road less traveled.” The territory is filled with mountain ranges, creeks, tributaries and one of the only remaining free-flowing rivers in the United States. Wildlife is everywhere. Sometimes in winter, the road is impassable, due to snow and ice. During rainy times, an avalanche of rock and debris will rumble down the mountainside, the road becoming impassable. One year, the underside of the road eroded away and there are still parts of the lane where only one car can pass at a time. The landscape is lush, greens of every hue. Little water grottos roll down rock crevices. Deer are common, and there is an occasional siting of a bear, mountain lion, or bobcat. Gorgeous California mountain king snakes, or the more common garter snake, mosey across the road, sometimes stopping to bask on the hot pavement during warmer months. Dragonflies and butterflies create a medley of colors, dancing through shimmery shadow and light. Osprey and eagles can be seen flying overhead, as well as hawks, falcons, blue jays, woodpeckers and other types of birds.
If you know where to look, there are waterholes for swimming, huge boulders used by locals as diving platforms, and places to sun. Seasonally, salmon swim through and fishing spots, known by generations of local tribes’ people and others, can be found. Bear grass grows here and is used to weave beautiful baskets. This road meanders through sacred spots, believed by many to be the center of all things.
After many twists and turns, you will reach the top of Etna Mountain, one of the places where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the road. The vistas show mountaintop upon mountaintop — a cascade of purple gray mountains awash in green, layers of soft color for as far as the eye can see. From this place, more unseen delights await you on the road: there are alpine lakes, bowls of granite, water so pristine, so clear, you can see the lake bottom. As you journey down this side of the mountain, you will see lupine, wild orchids, dogwoods, wildflowers of hot pink, white and purple. There are flowers so rare, only a few know what they are!
Along this road, life is only lightly touched by human hand or foot.
The modern GPS may say this road is the fastest way to the coast; however, locals and nature Herself knows otherwise. Until the sign was installed, vacationers’ GPS devices would tell them that this was the shortest way to the Pacific Coast; however, what the modern electronic device didn’t tell the driver was that even though the mileage was half that of other routes, the time would be double. The GPS also didn’t let the driver know that there wouldn’t be a gas station, bathroom, or place to eat for miles. No amusement parks, corporate food chains, or shopping malls here. Yes, the distance and delights between here and there mean something quite different on this road. This landscape is well worth the trip — if you know what you are getting into.
And so it is with Soul Travels.
When Psyche calls, it’s not usually a fast track from here to there. The inner travels are in the rhythms of nature. The path to the authentic self is magnificent and wild, inner terrain dynamic and alive. Like the sign on the road this morning, you cannot measure or comprehend the details of your journey by the calculations of modern societal thinking or belief systems. Inner travels require a Soul Compass. Tools for the inner journey: dreams, art, writing, music, dance/movement, meditation and prayer. These are Psyche’s GPS devices, the way to find your True North, Psyche’s call for you.
The inner landscape of the soul traverses depths and vistas not to be missed; this is an expedition into a different terrain, however, and requires planning, support, and patience. Surround yourself with people who have traveled this road before you, who will support you with your journey.
Take all the time you need to swim your depths, go fishing for stories, both personal and collective, and listen to what Psyche is singing awake in you. Learn about the center of all things and take time to weave together the reeds of experience and dreams into your most beautiful work of art: you. Your Soul Journeys will require you to not measure yourself and your calling by outside devices, people, places or things. This may be tough going at times, but well worth the effort.
If you are called to something, called to travel Psyche’s Road, you know it. You can do this.
Donna May is a therapist, educator and author of the upcoming book Psyche’s Call: Putting the Soul Back in to Psychology. She is an adjunct faculty member at College of the Siskiyous and is a board member for the Depth Psychology Alliance. She is passionate about the need for, and utilization of, depth psychology tools in these modern and changing times and does counseling and consultations in her Etna, CA office and via videoconferencing. Donna facilitates classes and workshops in and out of Siskiyou County, including her popular Soul Callings Workshops in Mt. Shasta and Story Tending Circles which utilize active imagination, art, writing, and drumming/music to deepen participants’ connection with their inner terrain and soul callings. She also offers free Psyche’s Call Writing Prompts that go out daily to people all over the world. You can connect with her on Facebook (Psyche’s Call with Donna May), Twitter (@Psyches_Call), LinkedIn & Pinterest. To learn more about Donna and her work, go to her website, Psyche's Call.