Large-Souled and a Privilege to Know
Some people are larger than life. They seem to loom large over every interaction we have with them, not because they try to be dominating or because they are necessarily smarter or more talented than anyone else, but because they have a special presence. What is it about these people that makes them so special? They may have attractive attributes, such as intelligence or empathy, but (in my experience) they also may not. They may be successful in life, but they also may be living an “average” life—one that is not particularly accomplished or high profile. I call these people “large-souled,” meaning they have a significant presence in the universe. We may identify different people as being in this category depending on the way we interact with people. Maybe some people don’t recognize this category of people at all or mistake good looks, success, wealth, or charisma for a large soul. I’ve always felt drawn to the large-souled and have aspired to be one myself. Because the qualities of these people aren’t effable, this can be difficult.
What does large-souled mean?
It’s easy to run across people who have outstanding attributes. There’s no lack of people who are smart, charming, or attractive in this world. But how many of them are able to dig deep into your soul in a genuine and long-lasting way? And what do people who have this ability have that others don’t? To me, one of their most prominent qualities is their subtlety—we might not recognize them right away. We may interact with them and get to know them, then all of a sudden, they’ve become part of us—not necessarily in any kind of romantic way or even in the sense of a close friendship. We eventually find that they have a tremendous influence on us and who we are. We find ourselves drawn to them in ways we find difficult to describe. We may feel a sense of stability, warmth, or pure joy when we’re around them. Our feelings around them and about them may also be difficult to describe. They have a special energy and seem to reside in a special place—on a different plane.
Who are the large-souled people?
Being large-souled is perhaps not a universal designation—meaning different people can be large-souled depending on our relative perceptions. Someone may be large-souled to some but not to others. Whether someone is large-souled may depend on our relationships with them, our respective energies and how they align, and possibly our need for this kind of person. One may only become large-souled through their interactions with others.
When I think of the large-souled people in my life, there are very few who make the cut. I would consider several of my friends as large-souled. The songwriter in my band, the sax player in another band, and the woman who cuts my hair (who is also a friend). The first large-souled person I came across was certainly my dad. He was not perfect (by a long shot—he had many faults), but he did have this ineffable quality that I was drawn to and have tried to emulate. Of course, this begs the question: Does everyone have a parent who they consider large-souled? Maybe that’s the nature of the relationship. In my case, it may be because my father died young and has taken on a bit of a mythical quality in my mind. Regardless, he was large-souled to me.
Striving to be large-souled
When we spend any time around large-souled people, it is very natural for us to want to be like them, but this isn’t easy. Unlike other personal qualities that we can easily recognize and objectively assess, the large-soul characteristics are hard to pin down and even harder to aspire to. It’s similar to striving for serenity—we can’t just go to the gym and pound out reps—we have to be open to it and let it come to us. There’s no checklist or specific set of qualities. The best we can do is recognize these traits in others, spend time around them, and try to absorb their qualities.
It’s like meditating to achieve Nirvana: We may or may not succeed, but it is in the effort that we become open to enlightenment, and we are the better for it.
A Part of Her
She walks through the door
And the room changes.
Not in a flashy way, not overpowering.
But everything is just better.
I’m drawn to her
I make my way over,
without the need to interrupt
or steer the conversation.
Just to be nearer—
Just to feel her.
I marvel at her.
I bask in her presence.
I try to understand what it is.
But then I stop.
It’s not about understanding,
It’s about experiencing.
When she is gone,
a part of her remains.
Not in the place, but within me.
I focus on that part and nurture it.
I strive to keep it alive.
And I yearn to be with her again.