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Contracting with the Soul
Updated: Jan 27
Caroline Myss’ book Sacred Contracts opened the door to a room I didn’t know I needed to enter. My friend and writing mentor, Lauren, mentioned the book during a phone call, I read it, and I can’t see any of my relationships without looking through that contractual lens. In case this is new for some, I can share what these contracts mean for me, and in so doing, maybe you’ll begin to see some soul agreements of your own take shape.
So, the gist is that we cross each other's paths and experience certain things together because we are meant to—to learn a lesson (or lessons), transform in some way, actualize our own inner power, and connect to source/the universe/God/(ourselves, really)/whatever you prefer to call it. Which, in turn, leads to us helping more souls along the way (likely the result of more contractual agreements). Doesn't sound too woo-woo when I put it that way, right?
Let's take it a step further. Sacred Contracts (or karmic relationships between souls) are fixed before birth. Souls have entered into an agreement to aid one another with spiritual growth. The "before birth" part sounded really far-fetched to me at first—like, "How could I make any agreements with other souls before birth?" But before I dismissed the notion entirely, I reminded myself that I am infinitesimal; there is so much about my own life, this world, this galaxy that I do. not. know.
Contracts in Action
As I read more about these sacred contracts, the agreements I saw in my own life made themselves unmistakably visible. I thought about the themes and cycles that have repeated time and time again: "Why do I feel like I am often being forgotten, abandoned, neglected? Is it something I'm doing? Are these karmic lessons?"
Yes. A hundred times, yes. If I follow the agreement "crumbs" tossed along the ground prior to my birth, that means I chose my mother, father, siblings, extended family. I chose where I was born and to whom. Chose my nationality, chose Deaf culture, chose the austere religious upbringing, chose the trauma... When I think about my earlier life—that distant timeline on the horizon behind me—the spiritual, contractual theory doesn't seem that bizarre. Strongly identifying with the archetype of the Orphan Child/Hermit/Wild Horse, it makes perfect sense why the theme of abandonment replays itself over and over, and when I reframe it in my head as a choice, it's liberating. I think, "I chose this. What the hell am I complaining about?"
This very brief analysis brings me to my oldest brother. His death shook me. With twelve years and many miles between us for most of our lives, I didn’t think he and I had much of a contract. We lost track of each other over the years, but we never cut one another off. Even when I was an active member of the faith we were both raised in, and I was instructed not to speak with him, we stayed in touch.
Fast forward to his Stage IV diagnosis.
When he told me his cancer was terminal, I gave him the space he needed to process, and I dealt with inquiries from our shared family unit when he wasn't able (with both of us having similar experiences, we each identified with the Orphan Child archetype). As his health worsened, I quickly became a permanent fixture in his everyday. I wasn't expecting it due to our unintentional estrangement, but there I was cleaning his commode, his tushy, administering medication, spoon-feeding him, watching Judge Judy, and holding his hand whenever he got scared.
I didn't realize the lessons I was learning while spending this time with him. When his time came, I was right there with him (as was my husband) and as he left his body, the room cleared of his energy (this is an undeniable phenomenon, when a soul leaves its physical shell you cannot help but feel the change), and I was left with another form of abandonment, a grief I didn't understand.
Death, the Teacher
All this to say a brother I was estranged from for a big chunk of my life proved to be quite an influential force. I can't fully articulate the lessons he taught me without knowing it; they're too great in number. I'm pretty sure he gave more than I did, spiritually speaking. The contract we had was lengthy. Deep. Loaded with fine print, and it's still active, for it was etched in stone. He crossed over, but that doesn't mean he isn't still teaching me things everyday, doesn't mean I haven't interacted with him since he left. I have. He welcomed me into a realm I didn't know existed. I began to change immediately after his passing, even before I left the Hospice Center. It might not look that way to those choosing to see outdated versions of me. Que sera sera.
As for my other brothers, the agreements are different. With one brother, there is no agreement. If there was a one, it was scribbled on scrap paper with crayon and torn up when I was about eleven. And with the other brother, I'm sure there's a contract, though I don't think he's aware of it. Maybe he is, I can't say. As for my parents, those hefty contracts would require another book. I'm sure those lessons will surface in time.
These soul agreements we chose to take on before we got here, ones we made with purpose, might be karmic debt. Who's to say? Either way, I take comfort in knowing that choosing my own path means I now understand my purpose; it's to be comfortable alone. The recurring theme of feeling forgotten and abandoned, no longer feels like a crisis. It feels more like growth. The question now is, "What can I learn from this? How can I remember and cherish myself? What will these lessons/contracts mean, if anything, for coming incarnations?"