I've been on an almost two-month hiatus. The time passed so quickly I almost didn't notice. Have you ever been involved in an endeavor that swallowed you up? You thought you were focused on one thing, but something kept dragging you off in another direction? Maybe bright shiny objects kept flashing in front of your eyes, dragging you off topic, off your work, out of the box you neatly had things in? Today's topic is about how spiritual purpose gets our attention. The problem is, we so easily ignore what the universe wants us to see!
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT THAT YOUR LIFE HAS REAL MEANING TO YOU?
I retired last October, and I was happy to do so. Or so I thought. I've worked since I was 15 years old, mostly at things I liked to do. I was feeling burnt out, maybe even like I was getting too old to keep going at the pace I was moving at. It surprised me to find myself jumping into a course on forming an online business only a month after my retirement. Yet it excited me. I'm the sort of person who likes to learn. I thought of it as an avocation, something to keep my mind occupied and active. Little did I know that in this innocent endeavor lurked a trap.
My goal in retirement had been to invest in self-care, slow down and take time to assess what my next step would be. I would rest, have some time for meditation, walking, nature, and time on the farm. You know, those things that fall by the wayside when work consumes over 50% of your life. But old habits die hard. I underestimated the engrained nature of my years of habits of staying busy. Only a week after my retirement a wonderful ad popped upon my Facebook page. It seemed like a "sign" as I was contemplating this simple idea of starting online coaching. It was an invitation to a free 3-day event to learn about the new growing business of online entrepreneurship. It said this was cutting edge and would offer "a blueprint for your business." Just what I needed! I signed up immediately.
DOWN THE SPIRITUAL RABBIT HOLE!
Remember Alice in Wonderland? That's the trip I've been on! It is so easy to be distracted by the ideas and interests of other people's journeys, and even to believe they might be your own! I don't think this is a terrible thing, so long as we wake up at some point and take stock. Whose spiritual journey is this, after all? Will the same values that work for those around us work for us? Little by little I got caught up in the information fed to me by Google and Facebook's algorithms and more interesting "stuff" kept coming my way. How do I get my spiritual message out, I kept asking myself? Can I reach you best in a blog, or a book or a course? Each wonderful teacher offered up their method as the miracle answer to my quandary. My vision got foggier. Soon I was overcome by vertigo, running even faster and I had to STOP!
A MUCH NEEDED RESPITE FROM MYSELF!
Fortunately, I was invited to a 50-year reunion of a delightful community of friends from the seventies. I am blessed to have this group of friends who have stayed in touch and gathered periodically over the years to celebrate our comradery and connection. I don't know many who have over fifty people they are so close to in this way. There is love and spiritual communion whenever we are together, and it always gives me pause to reflect. From this group I cemented in my heart the importance of unconditional love and service to others. It was people here who called me to task when my life was stalled due to alcohol and drugs. A friend didn't know what was wrong, but he knew enough to question me, and it started the thought process in my head that change was in order. I have friends among these folks that I can confide in, bear my soul to, and unearth the things that hide out in my heart.
I didn't really share the details of what I had been doing with the whole group; just a tidbit here and a smidgeon there. But by the end of the weekend of love and joking and communing, I had found my center again. I was home. I knew that I wasn't doing what my heart was calling me to do. I had ventured off the path. I didn't even feel bad about it because I was reassured of my values and worth in this life. I came back home knowing I had to refocus and take the time to find me. Both my path, and the "not path" were illuminated. I shared my observations with a group of women I am on this small business journey with and they supported my renewed vision. How important community is as we birth spiritual vision.
IT'S ALL PART OF THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY -- ALWAYS.
I have the feeling that all through my life, the universe has presented me with paths that have forks in the road. Often, I take the "wrong" one. I am enticed by the one with the bright flowers, the unusual animals, the things hanging from the branches that make it look interesting. Usually that's not the path that gets me where I need to be. Mine is a path of service. I listen, I look, I feel my way through places that are soft, shadowed, and misty. I find other souls along the path. I join with them, walk awhile, then wish them well as they veer off on their own. Some stay for the journey. There is nothing I love more.
Slowly, however, I am learning that the distractions have their lessons as well. There are lessons that teach knowledge and information and there are those that teach less direct things...like resilience and flow and compassion. There are moments that teach awareness and there are those that teach boundaries. No spiritual lesson is lost if we pay attention.
I return to you refreshed and renewed. I still don't know where this spiritual journey leads, but I invite you to walk the path with me for a while if you feel so moved.
Linda Wilk, spiritual coach, https://coachingaspirituallife.com