The soul is un-understandable without a poetic basis of mind. –Aftab Omar
The Soul Project: Evoking an Ensouled Life is Born
The Soul Project was designed and delivered for the Creative Action Plan (CAP) a requirement of the Ed.D. doctoral program at Meridian University. The initial thinking and design began in the Fall of 2017. The CAP was delivered through a WordPress blog, and the invitation went out to 21 individuals. Nine individuals agreed to participate, and seven completed the project.
As a practice with coursework assignments, a first draft is composed early and sits for a period of time while I digest and consider what has been written. This portion of the Creation Action Plan (CAP) writing was no different and, on a walk one morning, it became clear and necessary to include a bulleted list of learnings.
Although it was and is difficult to consider the work done, and the offerings of those who participated as anything other than, “Perfectly perfect.” I felt the project was “meant” to unfold and occur as it did. At the finish of the project, the remaining thoughts are, ‘The following list feels superficial.’ Nevertheless, as an educator, the practice and habit of evaluating and assessing is a norm, and this type of reflection insists on a critical thought that must be applied to what took place.
List of learnings, in no particular order:
1. Although gathering and finding a time that works for all can be a challenge, it might have been beneficial to meet with those who agreed to participate one-on-one or in a group setting to demonstrate how to navigate the blog and answer general questions about the assignment;
2. Creating an opportunity for a regular opportunity to process–talk through the project with someone who had more knowledge of soul work than I;
3. Provide firm constraints on a time limit for digital stories.
a). Not wanting to constrain or edit what participants created means that the final product is lengthy and may not get the time it deserves;
b). It would have been good to understand what sorts of moviemaking options were available to be able to include, for example, to better capture those participants submissions who penned their soul’s narratives;
4. It might have been beneficial to have an opportunity to meet with colleagues who participated in the Non-Disposable Assignment Enhancing Personalised Learning to share projects and glean from one another’s expertise and feedback;
5. This final learning is perhaps the most helpful in regards to the impending dissertation. While the question is direct, and perhaps even a difficult question there is a sense of missing learning that may have contributed to the design. The question: “Why did you choose not participate in The Soul Project?” Was it due to the amount of time the digital story would take? Was it due to a lack of understanding of soul work–or just, disinterest? Was it a spiritual or religious factor or belief? I might not ever know.
As I reflect and write I consider the idea of leaving The Soul Project: Evoking an Ensouled Life open and invite people to develop their soul story and put it up in the space held for the non-disposable assignment–I will need to ask the CIEL director about the logics of this idea.
For the past several years having taken part in workshops on course design through the universities Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Learning (CIEL) has proved to be both applicable and valuable. The ability to apply the learning about course development and use the non-disposable assignment design checklist assisted greatly in the construction and process of the project. The aim of my CAP besides satisfying the requirements of the assignment was my personal aspiration that the project contributes to the overall well-being of the participants invited. As well as, broaden the scope of understanding of the soul from a personal lens– the dissertation required in the doctorate program will be focused on the soul in higher education. To explore what the soul meant to individuals independent of mine or others expressions was key to my measure of success. By purposefully not providing an example of the assignment or providing too much explanation other than to provide context and a starting place, the hope was to remove any tendencies to compare with another or influence in any way. Another objective was that participants might discover or be challenged or reminded of: who they are, what matters to them, what they have forgotten and more, as well, to invite participants to begin or strengthen their ability to listen to their souls through the non-disposable assignment; narrative of their soul’s calling for The Soul Project purposes.
Upon reflection, I realize how much pressure I initially put on myself, some of the tension was of the good variety wanting to do excellent work, much of the fear was around sharing something of my soul’s work, bringing out into the open my passion for working within the topic of the soul. Every day after I sent out the invitation to participate in the project, I felt exposed in a way I have never felt. Some of the vulnerability I experienced was from wanting the work to be meaningful and worthwhile to those who participated, and to a lesser degree, I wanted and worked hard to design an artistic, organized and visionary piece of work. The expectation was that more people than did, would participate and that that through sheer numbers would broaden the scope of understanding on the soul.
As someone who is passionate about people living with purpose and with organizations as a whole doing their soul work, I hoped a larger participation rate would illuminate the significance of the work of the soul. It was not until the due date arrived, and upon waking that morning in anticipation of incoming assignments, that this last expectation dissolved. I sat at my computer doing busy work, waiting for those whose assignments I knew would be coming in. The first digital narrative arrived, and then three others arrived in the Inbox.
It is an understatement to say that as each participant’s digital story arrived, humility released all the expectations I had placed on the project. I sat at my computer weeping, reviewing each arrival and then attempting to articulate profound gratitude in my acknowledgement of receipt. In the process of putting together my CAP, I’ve thought about how many times over the years I have sat with clients, students, friends and family who questioned their uniqueness. The following observations I offer as absolutes and were demonstrated in the creative work of each participant’s souls’ narratives for The Soul Project: Evoking an Ensouled Life.
- We are each unique;
- We must not compare ourselves to one another;
- We are each beautiful, and our contributions to the world are without a doubt, indispensable.
Those who participated in the Soul Project are forever indelibly etched in my heart for eternity. Not just because they took part in my CAP, but for the courage and commitment, it took to listen to their souls, their dreams, and the images occupying their lives. Each took the time to do the work of the soul through the endeavour of putting together a narrative that meant something to them, a non-disposable assignment, as expressed in their feedback and reflections on the process.
In wanting to acknowledge each participants effort sending thank you cards seemed an inadequate response. It is difficult to put into words the effect each of these individuals compassionate, inspirational and generous submissions have had on me. However, to extend the work done, I have decided to host a gathering a celebration of the soul if you will, to share the completed project and continue the dialogue and exploration of the soul.
All my relations, thank you. Micki McCartney
 My mum used to say this phrase often in an attempt for her children to let go of the falsity of perfection, and simply get to the business of creating.
 When speaking to people prior to sending out the invitation the sense was of great interest. However, relatively few of those people polled either accepted the invite or accepted but did not complete the project.
 Non-disposable Checklist – Appendix C http://wordpress.viu.ca/mccartnem/appendix-c-non-disposable-assignment-design-checklist/
 Feedback collected in written form to be posted on the blog in the assignment repository http://wordpress.viu.ca/mccartnem/storyboard-repository/