No limits to the soul

June 23, 2016

That was the touching response Michael J. Fox had to the death of Muhammad Ali, made all the more poignant by our knowledge that Fox also has Parkinson’s Disease.

What caught my ear instantly was that last part: so he could be his true self again.  Fox knows, as many of us know, that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but instead, spiritual beings having a human experience. (Thank you, French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, for that.)  Fox was, in effect, saying that Ali had completed his work here, and once he left his earthly limits, his soul was free. The soul, of course, has no limits.

That spark that’s “us”

hamsa_hand_jewish-255x300I came to the belief–an understanding, really–of the soul late in life. Catholics are kind of fuzzy on that kind of thing and it wasn’t until I began exploring spiritual matters in earnest that I understood that the soul is our essence, our true self, that little spark of spirit that makes us “us.”  And once my belief in reincarnation solidified, I saw that we incarnate to grow or to play a role in someone else’s growth, but that our soul always remains the same.

Ali’s death made me think about possible reasons for his life here –at this particular time and this particular life.  I wonder: if he hadn’t had Parkinson’s, would he have become as revered as he was? Oh, sure, he’d always have been looked upon as a great athlete. But this man was so much more than that. So much more.

He was a boastful man–part of his schtick was to tell everyone how great he was. But Donald Trump does the same thing and isn’t half the man Ali was.

A life’s purpose

Celtic_knot_two-part_circle_horizontalAli was a man of integrity–how many people could get away with saying that they could not in good conscience fight for the freedom of foreign people when their own people were still not free? Who could get away with that? And would that acceptance have lasted over time? Or as time passed, would Fox News and others pick-pick-pick at him and his conscientious objector status, trying to disgrace him and tear him down for beliefs different than theirs? I wonder. Oh, hell. I don’t wonder at all.  Of course he would have been dissected into tiny little bits by the media monster.

Parkinson’s was a shield, I think, from the kind of “feet-of-clay” attack (pun unintended) that so many celebrities face in today’s media environment. Ali’s Parkinson’s made us see him as more human, more than “The Greatest” and a CO. No one dared attack this great athlete who was struck down by a cruel disease while still a relatively young man.  No. We were forced to accept him and many learned from him.

Parkinson’s allowed Ali to model not clothes or golf clubs or hair products, the usual kind of celebrity model, but how someone could rise above. How they could have a full life despite a challenging illness– even appearing in front of millions of people to light the Olympic torch with full-on tremors–and no embarrassment.

Parkinson’s was part of Ali’s soul’s plan and I rather think this incarnation was for our growth more than his.

His spirit always seemed whole and complete.

Smart, brave, powerful and full of integrity, it lives on.


39 comments on “No limits to the soul
  1. Donna says:

    My beliefs are very, very similar. I know we have lived before and will live again the soul indeed having no limits. Each place we live in giving us more experience. And the quote a spiritual person having an earthly experience is so true. We use that phrase all the time to try and understand what is going on? Your assessment of Ali is right. We view the so called tragedies of this world with our light and knowledge and not Gods. Although I don’t believe God gives us diseases, He does provide solutions for our problems.our problems always can be blessings

  2. Hi Carol! Lovely post with a wonderful insight into our true selves. I had not thought before what might have been Ali’s soul purpose but your explination works well for me too. It’s easy to just think of ourselves, and others, as the physical form and personality that we see on a regular basis. Far more important to see that “true self” as even more viable and real whenever possible. May your true self continue to share such words of wisdom! Namaste! ~Kathy

  3. Carolann says:

    Beautifully written Carol. We can only hope that our souls are set free in the end. Not to be a Debbie Downer but, I always get so freaked out when I watch ghost shows on TV and there are some spirits ..many actually, who are asking for help. It always breaks my heart hearing those EVPs.

  4. pia says:

    I want to believe. I oh so want to.
    Coming from a long line of people who believed and believe that you have to make every moment count in this life because….it’s hard!

    I can’t believe we’re given sicknesses or other conditions to show how we can rise above them

    I first learned about “my disability” eight years ago. People began treating me as if I will get my reward in another life. Only I had and began having again a great life here now. It’s dangerous when people get into that mindset. I’m probably as intelligent or more intelligent; have accomplished more; traveled more; lived more to be honest—yet all of a sudden people were superior to me–and expressed that.

    I know that’s not the point of your post. I know you’re talking about having a full life despite and I respect and understand that. But understand that life is often about perception and feeling superior, and I began to perceive myself as less than until I realized I was the same person I had always been.

    I do love the intent of your post, and as always the writing!

  5. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    Beautiful post. I had forgotten about some of the things Ali had done, but after reading the tributes to him I realized what an unusual man he was. He followed his heart, for sure.

  6. Yes, Carol. And I suspect that your recent learning experiences are bolstering this beautiful attitude and writing. I love the thought from de Jardin…that we are spiritual beings right now living a human life. Oddly, you and I both mention Muhammad Ali today. Not nearly in the same way, but he is a part of our lexicon for so many good reasons. Lovely post!

  7. T.O. Weller says:

    Carol, like you I too came my current beliefs about soul and spirit a little late. On crazy days and even the not so crazy ones, it helps me to remember that our true selves are travelers and explorers, here to help and to learn.
    Life is so much more beautiful when we think of it that way, and those around us (even Trump) become fellow travelers, explorers, learners and helpers. It can alter how we see everyone and everything.
    I’m so glad I popped in to read this today. I leave with a smile. Thank you.

  8. YES! Spiritual beings having a human experiences. Not easy, but we are here for the lessons that cannot be learned in the spiritual world.
    Bless you for writing this. Bless Ali for all he contributed to the rest of us on his journey, and bless Michael J. Fox for his words and on-going example of how to live our lives with integrity in the face of challenges.

  9. Kari Ann says:

    Such a beautiful quote. I care for my 91-year-old grandmother who is always in pain and it is very hard to watch. I also watched my mom pass from cancer. We all face hard times and a belief in something (whatever it is you believe) can get us through it.

  10. Barbara says:

    I do believe the soul can go on. I love your take on it, Carol.

  11. Klaudia says:

    Such a wonderful piece of reading . I really enjoyed that , so deep and full of thruth.I believe , the day we stop believing, life is over. In really difficult times only faith and believing in what ever this may be for each person individually , keeps us going . I think , people who can’t believe in anything , are really sad people. It’s like giving up dreaming.

  12. Andrea says:

    My pastor always says that we are spirit beings, we have a soul and we live in a body 🙂

  13. Ali has always been a sports icon. I’ll never forgot the 1996 Olympics as he lit the torch. Very touching!

  14. There is no question that Ali was a man of integrity.

  15. I work very hard being the best human I can, by doing spiritual things.
    Coffee is on

  16. What a beautiful quote by Michael J. Fox. It says so much about Muhammad Ali, and your post is so thought-provoking about our souls vs our bodies.

  17. sue says:

    I so admire your writing Carol it is always thoughtful and also makes the reader think. I suppose I have always pushed to the back of my mind about who we are and what happens when our physical body is no more. Now that I am older and also having lost my mother, father and then my brother (last year) all in their mid sixties I find I am trying to work through exactly what I believe as time seems closer as I near 60. A lovely tribute to Ali. Thank you.

  18. deanna says:

    Great post! I think it is wonderful that he was ale to be strong and show the world who he really was. I think it is important for the world to see that everyone can have strength through weakness.

  19. I love it when people can overcome and be a positive example in spite of difficulties.

  20. Elizabeth O. says:

    Both Michael and Ali are people we should look up to. Both strong and brave enough to face the challenges ahead of them. I felt deeply moved by what Michael said about Ali. Ali definitely lived a full life, inspiring others along the way.

  21. angie says:

    I had a great man tell me it is enough to believe but you also have to know what you know and it has to be in your mind and heart to live on
    come see us at

  22. Meg Root says:

    I read a few posts about Ali after he passed. I think I enjoyed this one the most. I love the idea that he modeled for all of us, someone who could “rise above” the challenges we are given in life. You are so right–I would have admired him as an athlete. But his gift to us went far beyond that.

  23. Lovely post! It’s like giving up dreaming and I do believe in it.

  24. Nicole Escat says:

    What a nice post, amazing! I found Ali an inspiration to many people.

  25. Liz mays says:

    I think it probably did soften hearts of anyone who was only thinking of him as a draft dodger. I like the thought of his soul being free now.

  26. katrina gehman says:

    my best friend’s mom has Parkinsons and it’s so sad to see her like that. nobody should go through that.

  27. Nancy Hill says:

    Got behind in my reading due to migraine… why the hell did I choose these in my life plan? I also wonder about dreams where I am working on future lives. Does anyone else have these?

    I don’t know what I believe. I suspect much. I know there is so much more… I am glad I have had glimpses and glimmers of multidimensional connectedness.

  28. Debbie Goode says:

    I agree…beautifully written. I believe and my faith has seen me through some really awful times in my life. Someday I will know the ‘why’ of it all, but for today I’ll just continue to live…to love…and be thankful for all that I have in my life.

  29. Elda says:

    Interesting…I had not thought about how the media didn’t attack him because of his parkinson’s. A lot to think about here. Great post…

  30. SKJAM! says:

    There is something to the notion that Mr. Ali’s illness shielded him somewhat from the ill effects of celebrity in his later years. Both by making any attacks on him seem like bullying, and limiting his public appearances so that well-meaning or opportunistic friends couldn’t use him as a prop as other celebrities have been. On the other hand, I think he would have preferred good health himself.

  31. Palma Black says:

    That was very deep. Ali was my hero – not because of his illness, but because he stood up for Black people when he really could have just been an excellent boxer taken the money. I loved him because despite his Parkinson’s he did not let this debilitating illness change his attitude towards fighting for what is right. I too believe that we are spiritual beings having a human experience and feel totally liberated for accepting this. There is also a school of thought that says that our souls choose our destiny for the live experience but that we forget when we are born into this life…Our life purpose here is to Re-Member…

  32. This was a powerful post and it is something that makes you stop and think. Much was written about Ali – but I feel much of his life was kept private. After his death, I noticed so many people I knew that had spent time with him – he was extremely generous with his time.

  33. Michael J Fox went to the local high school here as did Michael Buble. Such different Michaels. Fox returns every year to host a successful golf tournament and a local theatre bears his name. He’s indeed a special guy. I’ve no doubt his health experience has shaped and moulded him. And I agree with Vickie’s comment – Ali kept much of his life private. I’d no idea how generous a person he was. To keep that secret is a gift.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.