Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Body and Soul

I read your words through tears.  This is something I never hoped for.  I did not understand how full this house could be with friends who love each other and seem to know me.  Thank you all.

Susan, I am very sorry you have lost a friend.  But I am glad you are among so many here.  Thank you Leah for your sweet words and warm welcome.  I too am grateful.

How are you Elizabeth?  Courage is something we can all share with each other, and I think we shall often have need of it.  I am delighted to hear from you again Suzanne.

How do you do, Lady of Healing?  Won't you remind me of your name?  Victoria, I am so glad to meet you, if not there, then here. 

Father Will, you see how many we are and how great is our need of each other.  I feel blessed to have you here as we begin our journey.

I am possessed by every one of your words and questions in turn.  Each is the first thread of a full Conversation.  And each is so purely from the heart of what Innermost House means to me that I would like to address each of you first, which with my organizing skills is likely to cause a problem!

I think I would like to begin where we all begin, with the soul.  Sherry you very kindly said how hard it must have been to leave some part of my soul behind with Innermost House.  Thank you.  It was hard.

Pam and Ember wonder what I mean by leaving my body behind.  I’m sorry that I have so little power of explaining things.  I only say what the whole of my life seems to speak through me in the moment.  But we might talk a little about the body and soul of Innermost House, and about the Conversation.

To me the Conversation is a spirit.  It is what makes a house a living soul.  I know there are all kinds of houses to serve all kinds of purposes.  But the only purpose that has ever mattered to me is to enclose that living spirit.

The Conversation as I know it was born of my earliest married intimacy.  From the first it has required all my care.  I think it is so rare a thing today perhaps because it is so fragile.  It is a native of the dark and inward places.  To leave it unwatched for even an hour in this world is to leave it in peril.

The more my husband and I nurtured that child of our marriage the stronger it grew, and before many years it needed us to move with it, forever seeking out the more and more perfectly suited houses it needed for a home.

From house to house we moved with it, like ministers to a soul migrating from body to body.  It taught us what to seek with its own developing needs.

At the end of it all we came to a place of placelessness.  It seemed that all our nurturing had come to nothing.  There was no place left to go.  That emptiness seemed to last a long time.  The way in was terrible.  But somehow within it there was a still peace.

Out of that peace arose Innermost House. It was not like any of the other houses.  All of them, however extraordinary they were, had been chosen from the world of available houses.  But Innermost House was grown from the wild by the spirit that gave it life. 

I don’t mean to speak in mysteries.  Neither my husband nor I feel we created it.  It was as if the Conversation that had blown into and out of thirty houses in turn had, this one last time, drawn a body around itself from the surrounding earth and sky. 

I thought it would last forever.  There was no time in the house, only the forever returning day and night.  I never thought I would go.

But I have never been able to see an hour before me, no more than I can remember an hour past.  It took me completely by surprise when the house was first taken from us, and then again when we gained it back.  It changed things.  

Even I realized that I might have to choose someday between this body that I loved and the soul it enclosed.  With my husband's help I made preparations.  Nearly three more years would pass, but when the crisis came I was ready.  I lingered until midnight, then I left with the soul.


  1. It sounds like that was the right decision, then. Bodies are beautiful, but they go off once the soul's moved on. Bless you for your courage and insight in discerning when the time is right. May your path onward be blessed. May the Light travel with you as a kindly lantern.

  2. I am curious what the message from your soul was that told you to leave the body of Innermost House. More often than not in my life I have left my home or relationship because I was moving away from situations or places that didn't feel nurturing, as opposed to being really drawn with uncertainty to the next destination or relationship. I only had the hope that the next place was more ideal and although it often was better, it was usually a struggle to some extent.

    Although you miss the Innermost House, do you feel your soul is content where you are? Did you move towards something concrete and to a situation that feels like 'home'?

  3. Hi Diana
    Is the Comversation freed to explore new things and directions now that it is freed from its last body? How has the felt sense of it changed?
    With you in thought,

  4. Diana, I honestly don't know what to say to your post. My heart has been helplessly aching for you since reading your posts and looking at your empty house, and I've been feeling such sadness for the difficulties you have faced throughout your life as you've followed the inner commands of the spirit. I'm awed by the singleness of your purpose and your courageous willingness to 'leap without a net' time and time again. There's a part of me that feels like I'm mourning for you, but also in some strange way for me too. In the brief time I've known about you it's as though your experiences have somehow become woven into the tapestry of my own life experiences and they've moved and transformed me in inexplicable ways. Just as much as you feel that you are holding my hand, please know that I am holding onto yours as well. We are connected now and you have my support. You are very special and a beacon for me as, at your invitation, I stumble along next to you, trying to keep up. Thank you for allowing me into your private space and trusting me (and the whole group!) with your heart. I feel humbled by your vulnerable yet indomitable inner strength. Much love, pam

  5. Diana, It has been such a joy to hear your voice in our conversations. I am Becky Smith. We exchanged emails in mid-January of this year. With all the changes we have both experienced, that seems a lifetime ago!

  6. Thanks so much for writing this Diana. Thanks for your devotion to the conversation. It is a light set in a candlestick.

    Your writing has made me more aware of the power and beauty of the conversations I value - with friends who are willing to go as deep into the conversation as the conversation wants.

    Thanks for sharing this child of your marriage with us.

  7. Did you have a choice Diana? You write beautifully. Asta x

  8. I didn't truly understand the recent posts and the images of an empty Innermost House. I thought they were pictures from the beginning of your stay and not the end. Diana, what a bittersweet moment you must be in right now. Memories of the Innermost house still so fresh in your memory and yet what adventures and unknown delights you are moving towards. I wish you all the very best for the coming months and years. Whether you return to the Innermost House or not, you have created a very special place, not only for yourselves, but for all of us who are drawn to the shadows between light & dark and the place between the fill and the void.

  9. Thank you again Diana for inviting us on your journey.. I too have many questions. I do not know if,or how you could answer them at this time, yet I DO know they are actually too painful to ask. (If that makes any sense). I sense you have such an amazing core strength, yet also a vulnerability which I am sure makes all of this extremely overwhelming in so many ways. I am here with the others to support you in your endeavor, whatever that may be. I am also trying to be patient so that you may come forth with a spiritual ease and in as painless a way as possible. I know that when I rest, and be still the spirit will move me. I am hoping that you are able to do the same..I look forward to your posts and truly respect the energy, love and spiritual effort it takes for you to bring them forth:) Thank you again:) Susan

  10. Ah Diana, the leaving of this body may well have felt like a death! I trust that your new body is a new life. Suzanne

  11. On recommendation from the admin of the fb page for IH a repost of my comment from there to here.... Truly, I'm at a loss what to think. I'm no materialist - I know things like houses aren't everything (or anything, really) and I've worried at times we've been a bit fetishy about details, and, most importantly, it's their house to do with as they please - live in it, burn it down, turn it into a bowling alley but dagnabit, we are body and soul, material things do matter, places matter and do point towards more. I can't wrap my mind around this yet. It's like a monk leaving his cell. Again, not for me to make any sort of judgement, I'm just feeling a bit discombobulated by the notion of it being empty. I shoulda been a Carthusian...

    1. I know what you mean- I feel the same way........sad.......

  12. I was just sitting outside on my lunch hour break at work, feeling the warm breeze and the happy, dancing sunlight scintillating in the air and I had a sudden thought of you, Diana, and what shape your new body might take for your spirit. As you and Michael craft a new space for the Conversation, have you a sense yet of how it might differ from your IH in California? From the photos,your old IH appeared so safe, nurturing, and cocoon-like, as though the walls were wrapping themselves around you. And yet, the Conversation, as a separate living, breathing entity, has seemed to have expanded beyond that pared-down fit, perhaps as a result of a wider audience clamoring at your door to participate in it. I love the idea that was mentioned on the Facebook page of several separate retreat cabins for visitors who wish to come together to share in the Conversation with you, but how will that impact your own space and need for solitude and privacy? Would each visitor cabin have a unique style, or perhaps would the cabins mirror your aesthetic for your own place? Might you have a separate small lodge-type gathering place for the guests to meet in the Conversation around a blazing fireplace? For some reason, when I daydream of the shape of your new IH, I picture you cozily settling somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountain area with a vista of misty mountains and spectacular autumnal forests.

    1. LOL! I just went to the IH Facebook page after posting the item above and saw that you have been looking 'in the middle' of the east coast. Maybe you WILL end up somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains, after all!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Well now...that is in my neck of the woods...I can only recommend it. Without reservation.

    4. The Ozarks are beautiful, too. It does get hot, though. :)
      Aren't we just ridiculous??????

  13. Well, one person's joy is another person's sorrow. I am very happy that you will have an IH more accessible to the public, but I am very sad that it will be so far away from the West Coast. The new location would be more convenient for Europeans to come to, though.

  14. You know, we've talked a lot about what Diana has been feeling about leaving her IH, but what about Michael? After all, he BUILT the house with his sweat, his aching muscles, and his love. How has their leaving affected him? Did it take them long to come to a consensus vote on the move? Did Michael also have the same impulse at the same time as Diana did that it was time to leave? What made them decide to look for a new place to live on the east coast instead when it's so far away from Michael's faithful tailoring clientele?


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