I opened an interfaith, spiritual center here in Las Vegas in January. I thought that if I were a minister that I needed a physical space to do my ministry. The center has become a much bigger business than I imagined. I never slowed down to ask myself if I would really enjoy running a business. More importantly, I did not slow down to ask my inner guidance if this was the path for me. I just moved forward to the next logical step. The center became something that I stopped enjoying because instead of teaching, I was constantly doing administrative work. Instead of having time to relax and connect to Spirit, I was constantly doing and helping that I had no time left for my own inner light. I bless and admire ministers who successfully run churches and centers because it truly is a challenging job; it is no wonder most ministers burn out in their first couple of years of ministry. The longer I was in the center, the more exhausted and unhappy I became. I believed in the premise of what I was doing which was trying to connect people to their own individual connection to the Divine, but honestly, I stopped having time to teach the way I wanted and to really enjoy my work.
For many years, all that I have wanted to do is to write and teach. My soul longs for the freedom to share what it has learned. I have wanted to travel and help people. I have never had the faith to really live this dream out. When I finished my first book, I was in the deepest part of my illness, so I had no energy to even talk to friends let alone teach the book. Now that I am well, I want to live a life that makes me happy and one that is aligned with my own inner spirit. I write this to you feeling slightly fatigued again because in the midst of the busyness of the center, I stopped taking good care of my body.
The fatigue that I am feeling now is reminding me of the lessons I learned when I was ill. I learned to listen to Spirit always. I learned that the soul deeply longs for authentic expression. I learned that I am always connected to the Divine source of wisdom and guidance. I learned that nothing in the material world mattered over following the guidance and feeling well. I learned that life was too short to not enjoy what I am doing and who I am doing it with.
So I am still a spirit unleashed, but I am learning to focus on the areas that really matter to me. I want to teach and write because that is who I am at the core of me and the part that brings me joy. I want to share the gifts and the blessings that I have been given. I want to take exceptional care of my body because it is the vessel of my soul. I want to have time to be in the quiet and listen to God. When I went to a Parker Palmer clergy retreat in Chicago in August, I came back knowing that I was hungry for God and ready to gulp buckets of God again. I cannot gulp buckets if I do not create the time and space for the union.
So I am stepping out in faith again. Faith is a funny thing because it is only proved in the taking of a risk or choosing of a different path. We cannot wait to have enough faith to do our dreams; the faith comes only when we start moving toward them. All the doubts that linger in the back of my mind about whether Spirit is on my side come out of hiding as I move with faith. Luckily, I am blessed to know that Spirit had me through all those years of illness, had me when I finally got well, had me when I stepped off track running a center, and still has me as I move in a new direction. To quote the words from my favorite Kathy Zavada song, "I am listening. I am open. I am praying to do Thy will. I am surrendering with a heart of devotion. I am visioning a life that fulfilled." I am listening with faith to the call of my own soul for the deep connection with Spirit.
My questions for you this week:
1. What makes you happy and feel alive?
2. What makes your soul sing?
3. What drains you and why?
4. What would stepping out in faith to live more of your happy look like or feel like?
5. When was a time where you knew that God had your back? What did that look like or feel like?