Honoring and actualizing our divine purpose is both an individual and a relational process. To be sure, so much of the work happens in the interior of an individual where the decision is made, time and time again, to do the painstaking work to identify and embody the paths we are here to walk. We call that ‘Divine Perspiration’ in the Soulshaping soulpod. At the same time, this dance of sacred expansion is also a relational one, where we learn together and where we are supported on our journeys by the efforts of others, seen and so often unseen. When I was young, I imagined myself a lone wolf warrior, doing my souls bidding all alone in the barren wilderness. As I grew older and my lens clarified, it became clear that I had been supported throughout my journey. The Divine Mother was with me every step of the journey, as were so many wonderful others. The following are just some of those gratitudes, taken from the gratitudes section in Soulshaping, and beyond…
Gratitude to those who encouraged me before I could encourage myself—my parents, Valentia Lee, Miriam Blumstock, Graham Northcott, David L. Mandel, Sharon E. Lavine, Rocketdog, Wendy Yamamoto, Judith (Leslie) Greenbaum, Nella Starai, Janice Nishimoto, Nicholas Brinckman, Sue Bennett, Arthur and Carol Back, Gloria Robbins, Ova Back (and her warm chocolate pudding), Joelle Glasroth, RJB, Dr. Ralph Kilmann, Esther Climans, Eileen Greene, Randy Richmond, Amy Baumal, Little Missy, Gary Schilling, Jackie and Shani Feldman, Dawn Stephenson, Lisbie Rae, Jill Goldblatt, Tony Melaragni, Fatima Lobo, Naomi Goldsmith, Louise Frechette, David (Skinny) Sniderman, Marta Cuellar, Janet L. Bomza, Amy Burke, Michele Spicer, Edmond Timmerman, Dr. Leo Shack, (Auntie) Judy Haid, Bibbles Ganoush, Dr. Tom Greening, John Pothiah, Avi Zimmerman, Abigail McClure, (Auntie) Mitzi O’keefe, Auntie Tilly, Martin and Stanley Resnick, and Uncles Ricky and Teddy Perlove. Thank you all from the bottom of my soul.
Gratitude to those lite-dimmers, double-crossers, space invaders, and plain old nasties who attempted, in word or deed, to force my light under a bushel. Your hurtfulness was grist for the soul mill, gifting me with the painful lessons I needed to learn. Without you to push against, I might never have found my way home. Glory to the school of heart knocks.
Gratitude to those bodysoul workers and healing places that supported my healing and expansion: Sandra Finkelman, Marika Pollak, Marilyn Morinis, Jim Bean and Beverly Yates, Dr. Christopher Hassel, Janice Greene, Rainah, Cora, Kathleen Mckay, Barb Towns (and her band of renown), Ruth Whalen, Laurie Ward, Lindsey Syred, Meenakshi, Esther Myers, Blake Carter, Katharine Beet (Yoga Space, Toronto), Angie Toccalino, Sarah Tomlinson, BarnCat, Downward Dog Yoga (Toronto), Jivamukti Yoga (Toronto), Rosa Laborde, Ramona Ng, the Kid, Redpaw Data Services, Yellow Brick Road, Deanna Villa, Diane Gordon, Clinic I Need, Barb Dewar, Suzuki Shiatsu, Anne Harris, Odette Schywiola, Jennifer and Chris Italiano and everyone at Live Health Cafe (Toronto), Christine Matheson, Fresh Restaurants (Toronto), Omega Institute (Rhinebeck, NY), Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts, Harbin Hot Springs, Samasati Nature Retreat, Saybrook Graduate School.
Gratitude to those soul blazers and champions who have touched and elevated my journey, reminding me of what I inherently knew all along: Rumi, Ram Dass, Alexander Lowen, Seane Corn, Coleman Barks, Robert Augustus Masters, Eddie Greenspan, Oprah Winfrey, Jean Houston, Jeanne Achterberg, Bhagavan Das, Anodea Judith, Sean and Robin Wright Penn, JFK, Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack (for Serendipity), David Wolfe, George Kaufman, Deva Premal and Miten, Amma, John Wayne, Natalie Portman, Penelope Cruz, Mary Oliver, John Pierrakos, Stan Lee, Wah, Nelson Mandela, Ron Kurtz, Krishna Das, Rocky Balboa, Drew Barrymore, Chantal Kreviazuk, James Hillman, Thomas Moore, Van Morrison, Abraham Maslow, Seabiscuit, Christopher Cross, Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali, Terry Hunt, Forest Whitaker, Jessica Lange, Jack Kornfield, Stanislav Grof, Steve Carter, Captain America, James Taylor, Yvan Cournoyer, Guy Lafleur, Neem Karoli Baba, Cinderella Man.
Gratitude to dear friends and seeming strangers that helped to keep this book-writing expedition afloat by word or deed: Granny Franny, Elizabeth Lesser, General Scribbles, Michael Payer, Kathryn Graham Wilson, Spicy, Jeffrey Abrams, (Auntie) Corrine Wilks, Kathryn Bint, Glen Newbury, The Open Heart Gang, Maggie Zellner, Edna Khubyar, editors RonniLyn Pustil, Catherine Dees, Diane Darling and the brilliant David Ord, Jean Christian, Sharon Sephton, Nancy Loucks-McSloy, Oliver Kinghorn, Alexander K. Rai, Tena Moore, Ken Preston, Tony Everest, Uncle Joe Perlove, Sophie Brown, the customers of Academic Glass Ltd., Kay Wong, Gilligan, Roberto Diamanti, Rachel Larabee, Faith Davis, Jongrok Choi, Jessica Weiser, Warren Sheffer, T. Wally, John and Jack A. Armstrong, M.J. Bogatin, Ethan Dann, Coach House Press, Monte Gagne, cousin Rocky Polson, Naomi Lir, Angela Spagnuolo, Yumee Chung, Sharon and Gordon Resnick, Swaha, Jennifer Berezan, Wade Imrie Morissette, Wah, Lama Gyurme, Aeoliah, Snatam Kaur Khalsa, Zoey Shamai, Larry Back, Carmella Hatter, Joey Rappaport, that homeless woman on St. Clair Avenue who told me I had it in me when I looked downtrodden, Auntie Annie and Uncle Manny Perlove, Jerry Gladman, you.
Many thanks to Peter Beren and Mark Ouimet for supporting my work and landing me in the right hands. And profound gratitude to the lovely people at North Atlantic Books (Richard, Emily, Jon, Kathy, Susan, Sarah et al.) and Random House, for giving Soulshaping a larger set of wings and a better chance to fly.
Profound gratitude to my niece, Naomi Lir. So grateful that your warrior spirit overcame the obstacles and that you found your way back into my life. I honor your brilliance and your faith in this challenging but ultimately delicious human dance.
Hugs of gratitude to my spirit kid, Vanessa (Hot Tamale) Lees, for always reminding me that I am needed for what I bring. Your courageous insistence on living from your heart always brings me back to my own. May you love yourself, as Ragus loves you. Rave on, Tamale, rave on.…
Profound gratitude to Tarini Bresgi, master of the subtle realms, courageous path-traveler. Despite the challenges we have faced, we continue to do God’s work, in one form or another. Your contribution to Soulshaping has impacted on so many lives already. I bow to your determination and courageous willingness to seek the needle of truth in an often confusing karmic haystack.
Boundless gratitude to Zeydl Hemrend, the greatest friend this soul could ever hope for, whose unwavering love and patience keeps my sails aloft on this often-hazardous ocean of meaning. Without your divine wisdom and support, Soulshaping might well have sunk to the bottom of that ocean, perhaps never to be seen again. Let’s keep moving, Bauble. Let’s keep shaping our souls.
Eternal gratitude to my grandparents, Bubbi and Beela Perlove. Bringers of the light, you stood beside me, in front of me, and within me every step of the way. I continue to inhale all the love you left behind. When I lose my way, I take a big breath of you, and the path becomes clear. You are forever woven into the seams of my soul. I felt you the other day, when that truck almost hit me, and suddenly diverted. You have been busy these last years, holding me safe.