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A book that changed my life: An Imperfect Offering

Introducing a new Soul’s Code feature, A Book That Changed My Life. Name a book that changed Your life, and tell us how it did that for you in mind, body or spirit

BY KATY LEASK — Everyone should read this book. I’ll come out and say that loud and clear from the start. An Imperfect Offering is not a light read. Nor is it a pleasurable one, though there are moments of triumph and nobility against all odds that serve to both inspire and humble those who seek to better the world around them.

For those of us who thought ourselves well-informed about the world, we stand well-corrected as James Orbinski, past president of the humanitarian aid group Médicins Sans Frontières, leads us through a gripping memoir about the horror of war, the shocking indifference of many to the suffering of others, and a handful of people and organizations trying to do something about it.

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Life is a ballet

BY VICKI WOODYARD — Life is a ballet, and although it looks and feels beautiful at times our toes are bleeding and we wake in the night with muscle cramps. All of this strenuous work creates beauty and it is well worth the effort. I have never danced as hard as when my small daughter was fighting cancer. She took ballet at the age of five although she had a large muscle missing from her right leg. It contained the tumor that had to be removed.

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Prayer Wall: Galveston prays for miracles as Hurricane Ike approaches Texas coast

Residents flee storm that recalls the worst natural disaster in American history

BY BEVERLEY WOOD — 9:00 am one fateful Saturday in September, a storm began to make landfall in Galveston, Texas from the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, where it had tossed and turned all night. By 10 o’clock, the severity of the wind had gathered force — and with it, the size and speed of the waves. People began to notice.

The next 14 hours would count more than 6,000 dead in what remains (at least, today) the largest natural disaster in American history. Dateline: Galveston, Saturday September 8, 1900.

Saturday, September 13, 2008 is upon Galveston — and so is Hurricane Ike . . . 

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Jivan Joti Kaur

You and your “Moon Centers”

We have 11 Moon Centers in our body, and we dwell in each one for 2 1/2 days. Every woman’s rotation pattern is unique, and stays with her for life

BEING THERE: EMMA — We have moon centers! This was news to me.

And it arrived at a workshop in Espanola, New Mexico at the Sadhana Solstice Retreat. The revelation: just how attuned our female bodies are to the rhythms of the moon.

I had always known our general sensitivity to the tides in terms of our menstrual cycles, but I didn’t have a full understanding of the beautiful pattern we move through physically and energetically every 27.5 days.

We have 11 Moon Centers in our body, and we dwell in each one for 2 1/2 days. Every woman’s rotation pattern is unique, and stays the same her entire life. This seems to be fairly basic and essential info about our Being. Yet what do we learn in school? Hardly anything about our own essence, it seems.

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Even if their prayers *did* lower the price of gas . . . God help us!

It’s common to pray for people’s health, and we’ve even heard of believers petitioning God for everything from rain to the winning touchdown. So when Soul’s Code heard about the group, Pray at the Pump, we weren’t entirely surprised. Freaked out by the super-spike in oil prices, they have staged vigils at gas stations in St. Louis for road relief:

Participants say they plan to buy gas, pray and then sing “We Shall Overcome” with a new verse: “We’ll have lower gas prices.”

Lo and behold, the cost of a barrel of oil has, indeed, declined this week — with the unfortunate side-effect that others might take up this line of prayer. Prayer isn’t so much about  . . .

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How I flirted with temptation . . . and embraced monogamy forever

GUEST COLUMN: Beverley Wood

All of the guys I’ve ever been in love with have always said the same thing. I have one eye on the door even if it’s just out of the corner of the eye — like I’m waiting for someone who I know is coming, someday.

It disturbs me when guys point that out while we’re still at the intense romance stage. I don’t notice it myself until much later.

I believe in fate. I don’t know what it holds in store for me, but I believe in it.

The trouble with the door thing is the timing. When a significant other accuses me of staking out the door, I’m usually perfectly content. Until they point out this trait, I forget that I do it. And then I start wondering who it is that I’m waiting for. If I knew, I could take my eyes off the damn door . . . and get down to business.

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The top 20 things I’ve learned working in a homeless shelter


I wrote this after my first day of work at a homeless shelter in Hamilton, ON, a steel-plant city in Canada. It’s an overwhelming job that provides endless opportunities for me to learn about myself, and others.

Our society has a hierarchy, and its currency is called expertise and knowledge. Homeless people are at the bottom of the pyramid because we believe they display neither of those qualities. It’s nonsensical, from a spiritual perspective. These individuals have deeper experiences than many of us who have conformed. Why? Maybe they’ve peered so deeply into the abyss, that it opened them up, humbled them up — or totally transformed them. Here’s what they’ve taught me:

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Tree on the diving board

Face to face with my inner pain

This is the second in a series, Finding happiness in all the right places, by a young female seeker

BEING THERE: EMMA — My decision-making mechanism wasn’t cooperating when I was weighing whether or not to go on this retreat. It was a constant back and forth — I need to buckle down and work, but I’m depressed and not productive, but I’ll feel better if I’m productive, but I can’t even get up before noon because I don’t care, but I need the money, but this trip will be good for me, but maybe I’m just escaping, but the retreat is me facing myself rather than just a distraction.

Eventually, I packed, even as I oscillated between worrying that I was running from my problems and loving the spontaneity of it all. I used to travel constantly — crazy and wild spontaneous trips — and living in Austin I had settled down with all its benefits and drawbacks. I even wrote a poem, senior year of college, called “My trips, my drugs”

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Breathing Room: How do you find it after a little child has died?

Breathing Room: How do you find it after a little child has died?


What can we do but keep on breathing in and out, modest and willing, and in our places? ~Mary Oliver

We all need breathing room. A place where we can go to be recharged. For me, that room is on the inside. It cannot be located on a GPS. It is inside of us that peace descends and no where else.

After my daughter’s cancer came back for the second time, she had to have it removed — once again from her right leg.

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A mind-body portrait of depression

This is the first in a series, Finding happiness in all the right places, by a young female seeker

BY EMMA — I didn’t understand the numbness, the lack of desire to eat, my entire body feeling warm, almost feverish and noticeably weak, unexplainable/explainable bruises on my body . . . the void where motivation used to be, the constant tears at any phone calls, feeling as if I was in a dull dream. I told my friends I was confused, I didn’t understand what was going on with me. Maybe I was sick, this didn’t make sense to me. My thoughts were healthy, my emotions disastrous: What was I not facing?

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