In our first reflection on Fat Souls, Adams-Farmer based on her reflection on S-I-Z-E ideas by Bernard Loomer. As we discovered in the last post, a Fat Soul is a beautiful soul characterized by its capacity for love, deep relationships and openness. Openness to new. Ideas, perspectives, levels of complexity, non-dual thinking without becoming defensive or losing themselves and their uniqueness in it all. A prime example of a Fat Soul is God – as the Soul of the world. We also reflected that it is about being towards more being – that it is about direction and not some abstract idea of perfection, understanding that each moment affords us the opportunity for tiny steps towards living deeper from our plumped Soul.
I think we are pretty clear about what we might mean as fat – contrary to the derogatory connotations of fat with thoughts of lazy or lethargic, having a Fat Soul refers to a well-nourished, fit soul as opposed to an emaciated, under-nourished soul.
Have you ever met those folks who are really into rigorous 'healthy' eating, and when you look at them, they are gaunt, ribby, sunken cheeks and frail-looking? This is a metaphor of a skinny soul – those who don't get enough depth of soulful experience – instead they graze along the ditches of consumer pop culture, avoiding depth, pain, and discomfort at all costs, therefore, experiencing little of substance to provide the deep sense of joie de vie – the deep sense of joy, peace and well-being. These skinny souls have no fat of life to draw on during challenging seasons of life. The COVID 19 Pandemic has demonstrated this.
But what are we to make of this idea of Soul in the context of Fat Souls?
Patricia Adams-Farmer shares an insight from Process thinker Robert Mesle from his work entitled "A Soul is Not a Thing: A Process Relational Wedding." Mele writes:
"I am a philosopher, let me tell you a great secret of life—a soul is not a thing, it is not something which stands untouched by the events of your life. Your Soul is the river of your life; it is the cumulative flow of your experience. But what do we experience? The world. Each other. So your Soul is the cumulative flow of all of your relationships with everything and everyone around you. In a different image, we weave ourselves out of the threads of our relationships with everyone around us."
"Your soul is the river of your life." The cumulative flow of your experiences." Let’s take a minute and sit with this.
The River of Life and the confluence of all your experiences of and in the world, with each other, its share of joys and sorrows, victories and failures and loss. Employing another metaphor, we weave the tapestry of our souls through the threads of these relationships and experiences. As I type this, I reflect on my journey, and I think of those ratty old juke strands, binder twine and barbed wire kind-of-threads.
There have been times I have wondered how these could possibly make for a lovely tapestry of my Soul. It is here that I reflect on the ideas of Viktor Frankl. Frankl was a psychologist, founder of Logos Therapy and a Holocaust survivor. Of the many wonderful nuggets of insight, the one that revisits me most is the idea that barb wire moments happen in every life; Frankl's challenge reminds us that we are never completely powerless, for, in every situation, we can choose how we are going to respond to each situation. This choice might be to just survive. It might be to choose to forgive, to heal, to make whole. It might be the choice to get back up and press onward.
I think many of the best, heroic kinds of choices we make with the help of the loving presence of God let's us integrate the juke, binder twine and barbed wire into the tapestry of our Soul in such as way that we grow – that even that which was meant for our destruction is reshaped to squeeze every ounce of good from it, for us. This is what love does. In the scheme of a whole life, on a soul that grows, gets fat, there is a particular fecundity, a particular beauty these harsh experiences contribute.
Genuine beauty is the whole of a life - the good, bad and ugly - lived in the divine milieu of Love. It is not the exclusion of the painful but its inclusion and eventual redemption.
When we see our soul as the confluence / threads of all our relationships with the world, each other, God, and with ourselves; and your choices to include and transform each moment, this is a recipe for a very lovely Fat Soul.
What is Fat Soul Philosophy? - Open Horizons. https://www.openhorizons.org/what-is-fat-soul-philosophy.html