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Monk in the World Guest Post ~ Patricia Campbell Kowal

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission for the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Patricia Campbell Kowal’s reflection on living the mystery:

“I commit to finding moments each day for silence and solitude, to make space for another voice to be heard, and to resist a culture of noise and constant stimulation.”

This is the first expression of commitment in the Monk of the World Manifesto which has become a foundation for my life. One way I practice this first expression is by sometimes putting my prayer- thoughts on paper. If it stirs a God-thought for me or another this gesture seemingly becomes a spiritual gift.  Recently as I practiced this commitment, I went into the loft of my home—a sacred place for me. With pen and journal in hand (just in case) I listened to a visualization meditation I had read in one of Christine’s books and had recorded on my smart phone (sometimes too smart for me!)  Alas, I sat in quiet, put the ear buds in and listened to my own voice saying the words and directions of another’s suggested meditation.  One prompt was to just be with the strongest emotion I was feeling and then listen for a word to come.  My emotion was “powerlessness” as I was experiencing many transitions around me. Then the word that came was “mystery” as it was beyond me to figure everything out! So, I sat with the word mystery and then I found my pen on paper as I began to realize that we experience mystery in all the passages of our lives, which is I believe, the call of the soul.

The following poem flows from that quiet meditation. It had meaning for me and perhaps it may have meaning for you, so I humbly share it here.

Call of the Soul

The unknown a newborn faces upon its birth She wails in anticipation with her first breath

. . . mystery

like cacophony from geese in the sky heard during spring migration.


The unknown the teen confronts upon his introduction to the adult world He craves the call to independence

                                   . . . mystery

like the feeling of wind on his face while racing downhill on his bicycle.


The unknown a betrothed embraces in a life-partner commitment Neither knows where this excitement will lead

                                 . . . mystery

like the delight of running with abandon in an open field.


The unknown of choosing one’s life-path The final outcome beyond understanding

                               . . . mystery

like experiencing starlight glitter across the sky.


The unknown in accepting divine guidance Hope and trust guide the sojourn

                              . . . mystery

like the fulfillment of longing that was always deep within, but secret.


The unknown of letting go of the familiar Conflicting feelings create confusion

                             . . . mystery

like choosing between sweet and sour, both enticing.


The unknown of saying good-bye to a relationship—once loved or not Sometimes great sadness, sometimes great relief, perhaps both

                          . . . mystery

like sitting by a runway seeing an airplane vanish into the sky.


The unknown of relinquishment of the earthen body to its final rest A new level of living is the hope

                         . . . mystery

like deep sleep before awakening.


                      . . . mystery—The Call of the Soul

Patricia KowalPatricia Campbell Kowal offers Spiritual Direction and Grief Recovery Workshops as a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. Pat lives with her husband, Bob, in Spokane, WA and together they have three grown children and a first grandbaby due any day!  She is grateful for the paths her life has taken.


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6 Responses

  1. Thank you for this quiet meditation, being lead on a spiral path attended and guided by…mystery.

  2. Thank you! Your poem leads me to slow down enough to reconsider many facets of this beautiful gem called, life. Revisiting or contemplating the experiences you share, one at a time, for all they are, or even in some part, brings me to pause.

    Remembering that living our moments fully, not trying to capture and keep, them brings more freedom
    to see, to enjoy and to be,in the heart of the mystery. Somehow, we find ourselves more grateful, more joyful, more generous, fuller …and lighter, dancing through….!

  3. The. Imagery of this beautiful poem will stay with me for a long time…mystery, the call of the soul.

  4. the unknown ….. mystery – The Call of the Soul; Outlined beautifully Patricia, thank you! The seasons of the unknown …. mystery!

  5. The message from the Abbess emphasized in part, the changing seasons of life. Each season of life has experiences that are unique to it. I feel your poem captures the activity of those different phases of life, like the phases of the moon, the tides. I believe the matching of your poem with the message from the Abbess in this issue, was a fine artistic expression in itself.