Soulmaking is patiently cultivating one's soul. It is not that one either has a fully formed soul or doesn't. The soul is always in a state of ascension. You should not be discouraged if you don't experience the soul's full presence. The first step is to find out the real nature of your self-your simple, rough form-and become transparent to yourself. For that you need to free yourself from all other forms that you may have accumulated in your adult life. Donna Schaper, a minister of the United Church of Christ, has a perfect metaphor for such self-stripping as she refines a chair. She calls it "stripping down."
The first thing people do when restoring old chairs is strip-strip right down to the bare wood. They strip away all the years of grime, the garish coats of paint piled one on top of the other. They get rid of all the junk that's been tacked on through the years and try to find the solid, simple thing that's underneath.
The philosopher Descartes, by his conclusion Cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am), unintentionally provided intellectual defenses for people who overvalue their minds. The soul reverses Descartes's articulation, because it is mysterious, confounding, and often contrary. It defies the self-validation of logic. James Hillman says that only God knows our real name, and he describes how we may come close to finding what that is, not by cognitive exercises but by way of self-transparency. Once the soul is wholly revealed, one is just what one is. That transparency will serve as a prism, and all the rays of divinity will emanate from within. Artists are endowed with maximum transparency. Their work intensifies emotions, heightens the sense of existence, and invites contemplation. One need not be a fine artist. Woodworking, gardening, writing letters, weaving, or knitting could serve as a prism.