Joyce Rupp is one of S&P's Living Spiritual Teachers. She is well-known for her work as a writer, a spiritual "midwife," a retreat leader, and a conference speaker. A member of the Servite (Servants of Mary), she has led gatherings throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Rupp is the author of many books including her most recent Fragments of Your Ancient Name: 365 Glimpses of the Divine for Daily Meditation. She can be visited online at www.joycerupp.com.
My Soul Feels Lean is a heartfelt and transformative collection of poems on loss and restoration. In a brief essay, Rupp points to the loss in her life through the death of loved ones; changes in her physical, mental and spiritual being; and the difficulty in letting go of people, ideas, and cherished beliefs. As she notes:
"Accepting impermanence and entering into it without reluctance, self-pity, or gritty opposition comes about through recognizing the value and prerequisite of loss to deepen and strengthen my spirit. Letting go leads to inner freedom and harmony."
Loss is a wonderful teacher if we have the patience to learn the lessons of transience and our own fragility. Rupp calls this process having a soul that feels "lean." There are open spaces in these meditative poems where we can dwell as we ponder the approach of death ("Is Anything Left?), the daunting nature of change ("You Wonder"), the wisdom in small steps ("Go Toward that Which Repels"), getting rid of expectations ("Leave Them Behind"), acknowledging and dealing with the terrorist inside ("The Terrorist"), and being responsible with your speech ("Saying All the Wrong Things"). Step inside these poems and let them warm your heart.
In her book Praying Our Goodbyes: A Spiritual Companion Through Life's Losses and Sorrows, Rupp shared wise teachings on suffering, loss, and grief. In My Soul Feels Lean, you will find poems on the process of grief and the shock of death. The author gives us further evidence that she is the kind of gentle, humble, loving, and compassionate person we would want to have usher us out of this world into the grand mystery of the next world.
In the second section of the book, Rupp deals with restoration as movement toward renewal. The glorious world of nature with plants, trees, birds, and other animals is a source of wonder and delight for the poet who loves all four seasons. Come join the dance: the poetic and lean soul of Joyce Rupp will be your partner. She has saved the last dance for you and has many things to whisper in your ear. So listen up as you whirl around the floor, again and again, and again.