Purpose & Calling

The kind of love: a poem to affirm your part in this world

These words arrived in me after a meeting with a friend. These words are for you or anyone you know who might feel that they are not 'achieving' anything of great importance in this world. I hope they reach you.

Eyes full of sadness and longing
you looked at me and said,
"I do not feel I have achieved
anything in this life
of which I can be proud."

And yet
just minutes before
I had been witness to your attempts to rescue
a bumble bee
from a flight of stairs

we both concluded he was most surely passed away
But still
you placed him by some water
A little pool full of hope
that maybe he would surprise us still

What more
could you possibly want to achieve in life
than having a heart filled with the kind of love
that takes a bumble bee, dead, to water
and makes a wish that somehow
he will live?

God doesn't ask you to be anything
He simply asks you to be
And friend
you already do that so beautifully.

Love and courage,

Learning to listen to the wisdom of our hearts

I woke up one morning last week with a deep desire to cocoon myself somewhere warm. I booked myself a day pass at a local gym, which a friend had recommended for its pool, sauna and steam room. 

A large banner above one end of the pool read:

"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore."

Its message rang true for me and as I swam lengths of the pool I tossed the idea around in my head. What is the shore? Why are we often so deeply afraid of losing it from our sight? And where do we find the courage to leave it behind and venture forth into something new?

The shore.

The shore is all that is known or what we think is known. It is the familiar shape of our days and our lives. It is the identity we have created for ourselves and who we believe ourselves to be. 

On the shore, there is a sense of safety, security and comfort even if, strangely, we are profoundly unhappy.

The wisdom of the heart and the fear of losing sight of the shore.

Wisdom is innate in every human being. Each and every one of us contains the same truth, the same remembrance of who we are at the deepest level. Wisdom wasn't given to some and not to others. It is contained within every heart.

It comes to us as a sense, a feeling, a deeper knowing, a moment of expansion, or an unsettled feeling deep within. It might show up as a release of tears, moments of profound joy, or pain experienced somewhere in the body.

It taps us on the shoulder and gives us little messages with which to work. It sends an answer to a question, points us in a new direction, shows us where we're off and does what it can to steer us back.

It is a faithful guide that is always there but rarely turned towards or trusted. Why?

Cultural conditioning

The cultural conditioning to which most of us have been exposed tells us that to listen to the heart is foolish, naive and the stuff of childish fantasies. To follow an invisible inner guidance might be seen as quite insane. 

Instead, we're repeatedly pointed in the direction of the intellect and our days are spent trying to figure things out in the thinking of our personal minds. 

We have a deep and powerful cultural narrative of what it means to live the 'right' life. The right type of education, the right type of work, the right type of relationships, the right amount of money, the right people to keep company with, the right things to buy.

The conditioning goes so deep that in many cases, until something out of the ordinary happens to put a crack in its veneer, we don't even see that it is conditioning and experience it as the only reality there is.

The strength and depth of our conditioning means that to make any deviation can fill us with a feeling of profound fear.

Wanting to see the other side before we leave this one

We can think of the shore as our fear-based thinking and the journey into the ocean as our transition into love-based thinking and trust. When one has lived one's whole life standing on the shore, rooted in fear, it makes sense that we might want some proof before leaving it behind for an unknown world.

And yet no amount of longing for proof will give it to us. Never can the far shore be seen from where we are now. Always we must walk out in faith. 

Same journey, different paths

Whilst we're all on the same journey, towards remembering the deeper truth of who we are, each and every one of us walks a different path and it is our heart's wisdom that guides us through each twist and turn.

In that sense, no one else can ever truly show us the way. Not exactly. Many can guide, support and encourage us, but to some extent at least we are to walk alone and to find our own way. 

Learning to listen

In his book Let Your Life Speak, Parker J Palmer writes:

"The soul is like a wild animal - tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek."

Our heart's wisdom emerges in the still and quiet of a relaxed mind. As the chaotic, habitual thinking of our personal mind settles, the deeper wisdom of our heart finds its way through.

To hear it we must have the willingness to turn away from our usual thinking and to repeatedly bring ourselves back from the rabbit holes we travel down in our minds. We must learn to rest in the presence of this moment.

It is here in the still space of now that the knots we have tied ourselves in begin to undo themselves and the gentle whisper of truth finds its way to our ears.

Taking our first step and building courage

The headlights of a car driving through the night illuminate only the next section of road. Because we understand how headlights work, we're happy to drive in the darkness, knowing that we will always see the next bit of road as we come to it. 

What would it be like if you trusted life as you trust the headlights? To know that you do not need to see the whole road in order to set out on your journey? To know that everything is revealed to you in the perfect way at the perfect time?

The only step to ever take is the very next one.

The shore, again.

As we leave the shore and begin to swim the ocean, the strangest of realisations begins to dawn; there was never a shore at all, only an idea of it in our minds. And we start to understand that when we make a home for ourselves in the ocean, we are always safe and we are free.

I will leave you today with these few lines from one of my favourite Rilke poems:

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

Love and courage,


6 spiritual principles that will help you create anything you want

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how my relationship to wanting things in my life and creating them in the world has changed so radically. More and more I'm left open-mouthed at how ideas come from nowhere and emerge into physical form.Repeatedly, when I trace the process back from something showing up in my life to the initial desire, I'm seeing the exact same process reveal itself. 

If you're interested in creating what you want in the world with ease, joy and a sense of the miraculous, I hope what I have to share with you today will spark some insights for you.

Like it or not, you’ve been chosen by God

There's so much I want to tell you about how I came to be listening to this song on repeat these past few weeks. It's a story about the sort of synchronicity that leaves you in wide-mouthed wonder at the way life works. But I think that's a story for another time. Today is really about one particular line of this song. A line that, if we all really took inside and nurtured and felt, would do a lot of good, I think. 

"Can I Be a Leader If I Shy Away from the Spotlight?" (an Exploration of What it Means to Be a Leader)

A reader wrote to me last week:

"While I do want to be a leader, I definitely shy away from the spotlight so I look forward to seeing how different personalities can become leaders!"

I was so grateful to read this line because I know that what she's expressed here is a thought shared by many and it's something worth expanding on. It immediately got me thinking about leadership and what it looks like to be a leader.