While we are on the topic of soul care this month, check out this post titled “Beginnings” by Kaylene Derksen, new president of the Soul Care Institute. We are delighted that one of Kaylene’s new beginnings is as an apprentice with Anam Cara. You can find her original post here.


By: Kaylene Derksen

About a year ago a mentor friend of mine encouraged me to spend time with John O’Donohue’s blessing For a New Beginning.

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,

Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

John O’Donohue

Little did I know the power of this blessing would mirror the actual course of my life since then. I spent a good deal of time sitting at the start of the blessing poem. There I was being exposed. It was true. In all of the out-of-the-way places in my heart I was feeling an increasing emptiness. Not the kind of emptiness that we think of when a person is living without purpose. It was more like, the purpose for which I was created had outgrown my situation.

It was a vocational emptiness. The kind that stirs you to an understanding that you are no longer fitting where you are and you are compelled to set out on a mission to find where it is you will have space again. Space to grow, to be who you really are and who you are becoming.

This is a risky thing.

My then reality was powerfully working on many levels to keep me where I was. It’s not that it was terrible. I was working for the mission organization that I grew up in. This place and these people had formed me! I love them still and am proud of the work they do!

It was so seductive to stay where I was. Safe, cared for, loved. Cocooned inside what I knew well.

It reminded me of my first time flying outside of the country on my very first mission trip. I was headed to Central America with a drama team of 6 others energetic thespians and I was scared. I knew I was to go, but all I could think about was going home and waking up in the bedroom I had growing up, knowing my mom was cooking pancakes for breakfast and dad would pray over the food and over us. I wanted to crawl backwards in time. I called my mother, crying, “Don’t you want me to stay?” I gave her every opportunity to call me back. Being very wise, she countered, “You go. This is what is next for you. It’s time.”

And so I went.

It was a harbinger of how my life was to be. I have been developing my stepping onto new ground muscles ever since. It never feels easy, but I am recognizing the energy with which God stirs me is such a compelling force! It is delightful to enter into this space, knowing that I can trust the promise of the opening before me.

Today, on this first day of being the President of the Soul Care Institute, I am reminded to unfurl myself into the grace of beginning. What an exciting picture! Like a butterfly, daring to shed its cocoon, just barely hanging on, and then… unfurling those beautiful wet wings. Trusting they will dry. Trusting they will support her as she flys. These wings are not made by her. These are creator-fashioned wings. Therefore they are good and strong. She only needs to use them and she will see.

And so, this is the beginning, the unfurling, the trusting.

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.