Home Concepts Adult Development Deep Caring XXXIV: Bridging Spirit and Soul

Deep Caring XXXIV: Bridging Spirit and Soul

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William Bergquist and Gary Quehl

In essence, the work of generative men and women involves moving inward as well as outward. We must return home to our family and our own inner life. We must cross the border into new worlds and new experiences. We must ultimately bridge the chasm between soul and spirit. One of our Sage leaders reflects on this bridge in his own life:

Early in my own life I repeatedly dreamed at night of this bridging and integrating process. I now realize that this dream was preparing me for my future life, as do many repetitive dreams in our lives. I dreamed of climbing a flower-strewed mountain. This mountain rose up singularly and impressively from a plain. I now realize that it was a strong image of spirit and of masculine achievement for me. Near the top of the mountain there was always a cave. This was a hide-away. I looked forward to reaching this cave while climbing up the mountain. The hideaway was always damp.

He moves deeper by reflecting on a project engaged during his childhood:

This cave closely resembled a “clubhouse” that my brother and I built as small boys living in Illinois. We dug a big hole in the ground and covered it with plywood. The clubhouse wasn’t very pleasant. It was very dirty and offered little light. It soon was filled with water and spiders; yet, for a brief period of time this clubhouse represented safety and a respite from our schoolwork and family responsibilities. It was an enduring image for me of a soulful presence in my life. Similarly, the cave in my dream represented safety and a reprise from the climb. The dream has taught me that I need to blend the spirit of the mountain and my climb up the mountain, with the soul work of the cave and “clubhouse.”

Quiet Generativity: Finding Truth and Being Honest

As mature men and women, we must move beyond our dancing to tunes that other people are playing. If we are to be truly the guardians of values (Generativity Three), the mentors and motivators to other people (Generativity Two) and the advocates for and promoter of civic causes (Generativity Four), then we must discover that which does seem to be true and of value in a world that challenges both truth and veracity. We must move beyond getting by and fitting in. As one of our Sage leaders puts it regarding her own life:

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