Here is the point of my struggle. For many years now I have followed my inner guidance. Not in all things. (I would be a Saint if this were the case, and I am far from that.) But in the majors. (I now measure success as my ability to follow my guidance 100%, and in no other way.)
In my mid twenties, when I was young and exceedingly gullible (I am still gullible, but less so) I said no to several offers from wealthy men to put me in their castle and take care of me. Some of the offers were very attractive. I said no to all, easily..not my path…
In my search for my vocation I kissed a lot of frog jobs. Willing to try my hand at anything, I went from chiropractic, to investing in a dive resort in Fiji, to manufacturing cakes, to selling golf buggies. Willing to pour my whole self into whatever seemed to be in front of me.
Then came coaching, and I found my love. For 14 years I have been doing this work now, and while each year I have changed, grown, learned; and my service offering has evolved with me, the core of my work has been about the healing of the messy human dynamic, within individuals and with teams, bringing each person closer to their own truth, their soul. It is profoundly beautiful work, and I have felt blessed.
In the early days I met the wonderful and gifted Ernest Oriente. He was my coach. Ernest created a system/model that was elegant and breathtaking, and if I had of followed it, I would have made a lot of money. But it didn’t feel right to do so. I didn’t want to live only in a niche or three. It wasn’t just that I didn’t want to, it was more that it was not my path. So I courageously, or stupidly, walked my own path. I have done similar things time and time again. Said no to the offer that was relatively easy money. Because it didn’t sit with me well. It wasn’t my path. Was this my intuition speaking, or my insanity? I guess really knowing the answer to that question is where wisdom lies.
Yet here I find myself, 14 years later, and I ask myself why, when we do commit to following our truth, our inner guidance, our path, that it so often is so so so so HARD? Surely the other paths would have been easier? Maybe not…maybe the hard part would have been addressing a deep seated unhappiness, or the aspect of self that prostitutes our soul for money, or glamour, or fame….???
My work has dried up, all my old models of creating work do not seem to be working, and I am completely mystified as to what is going on. I feel stupid, confused, sometimes angry…My spiritual director, Caroline Myss, says not to ask why? That is not the question. The question, or prayer, is ‘help me endure this, give me the strength to endure. Help me to trust that all is well, and there is a bigger reason for this beyond what I might imagine.’
When I was motivated to write this warts and all blog, the impulse was to talk about how to live in integrity against the tide. How to say yes to my guidance and no to temptation/ego. The challenge is how to discern the difference between the two. If I look back at the choices I have made, were they ego or soul based? Were they my guidance or my stubbornness? I feel strongly that they were my guidance. Here is the rub…that to follow our guidance does not guarantee the pot of gold. Often the opposite. Really following guidance may be hard work. Very hard work. And it may be painful, and dark. I don’t think we can avoid that, no matter what. I think we all have to do the work, even more so the ones of us who have chosen a path of greater service.
It feels like I have been working hard on self, on the exterior world, on the whole deal…for a very long time. I would love a break. I would love to lay my head on a soft pillow and not have to worry about anything. Even in writing this last sentence it occurs to me that this ‘worry about things’ is what I need to give up. Beside my desk is a quote by Wayne Dyer, which I just literally looked up an re-read…it concludes…”If people only knew who or what is with them, in them, beside them all the time, they would never worry about anything.”
If I were God, working on me…what is my plan? Maybe my plan is to get me to the ultimate place of surrender. To let go so completely, in exhaustion, the trying to keep things together, to run things, manage things, control things…to give it ALL up. To be on my knees such that I say…OK…I yield. I give myself to your hands. As you will it. Letting go also means giving up any form of what it looks like, any form of having money, fame, love..the lot. To stop trying to do…to stop trying…to stop….
So I reach for Joseph Campbell, Hero With a Thousand Faces, “Where is the guide, Ariadne, to supply the simple clue that will give us the courage to face the Minotaur, and the means to find our way to freedom when the monster has been met and slain?”…….”Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the hero’s of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the centre of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.”
Now, some twenty four hours later, I conclude this piece. I feel the beauty in my experience, in the pain and mystery. All is well. Even as it appears so unwell. I have had several conversations with my own real life angels, my Ariadne’s. Wonderful friends, old and new, as we have conversed heart to heart. Hold still is the message. Hold still. The seeds have been sown, the work done. Though I am now in my forty days and forty nights in the desert, all will be well. Resist temptation. Stay the path. Be still, and know that I am God.