‘Qatana, I STRONGLY suggest you listen to this. I really want to talk with you about it…and perhaps partner to hold each other accountable.’
This email from my dear friend, Joan, is waiting for me upon my return from a four day retreat. I love Joan, I respect her judgment about what’s worth listening to and I want to support her. So I listen.
Sitting in front of my computer in the kitchen, I like the vibe of the woman presenting the webinar. Her voice seems calm yet forceful. She seems earnest and sincere. The promises she offers are enticing.
Want clients to flock to you? Provide lists and templates, and promise results. Want to work less and earn more? Just charge lots for packages of services that assure people they’ll get what they need. Want a six figure income? Offer on line programs attended by hundreds and you’ll be there in no time.
Glowing testimonials leave no doubt that the formula works beautifully for some. Pictures of attractive people flash on the screen. They’ve made more money by investing in the program. They see more clients. These people ooze success and offer gratitude to the presenter for her role in creating it.
Instead of feeling energized or motivated by this presentation, however, I feel a heavy discouragement settle over me. Underneath, I recognize the same program that didn’t work for me back in 2010 when I spent tens of thousands of dollars and ended up with nothing to show for it.
I know from experience that this program doesn’t work for me, but the promise of success still entices me. After all, the inner guidance I just received on retreat offers no guarantees. My Spirit Guides have shown me how trusting the process and going with the flow will lead me to the path that’s right for me.
No templates. No clear instructions to follow. I don’t even know exactly where this path is leading.
Away in the retreat setting it felt empowering to let go of the struggle of trying to do things that don’t fit for me. Finding my own path felt right. But now, compared with clear instructions to follow and assurances of success, this path seems filled with uncertainty.
What if the path less traveled leads nowhere?
Why can’t I be like those people in the testimonials, who follow the instructions and get great results!?!
With my confidence shaken, I turn once again to my Inner Wisdom for help. Immediately I am transported back to a moment many years ago in a chapel in the Irish countryside.
Illumination in the Chapel
I’m sitting in the small convent chapel.
I’ve come to Ireland on a program with my harp teacher the summer after being confirmed in Judaism. We’ve stayed in convents where I’ve encountered the Gift of Faith in some of the nuns I’ve met – a sublime peace and calm grace that comes from absolute trust in God and the teachings of the Church. I have never encountered anything like it before.
I long for the peace this Gift bestows, but know myself to be of a tradition that constantly wrestles with God. In the Judaism I learned, every answer begets another question – many questions, in fact.
I’ve entered this small chapel, bright white and filled with brilliant bouquets of red and blue, pink and yellow flowers, tormented with an intense longing for this peace, yet feeling condemned, by virtue of who I am, to never experience it.
Suddenly, I’m astonished as the room fills with a brilliant light. The flowers look as if illuminated from within. In this instant I receive the simple knowing that I am who I am. The path of these nuns is not my path. I am different from them. This is simply what is.
This simple message of acceptance instantly frees me from my torment. I feel that deep peace of knowing that things are just what they are and that this is all right.
Back to the present – and the future
The reminder of this experience brings me home to a vital truth – embracing my own path is the one way to peace. I see how only pain can come from comparing myself to others who are different from me. I also appreciate how fine this path that I’ve been on in the decades since that moment in the chapel has been. I could never have known at that moment the places it would lead me, but now I know the journey has been rich and full. It has been my journey.
Knowing this gives me courage to follow my own path into the future, as uncertain as it may seem at the moment.
After all, I may not know where this path leads, but I trust with absolute certainty that I’ll encounter richness and beauty along it. I suppose that this, in a way, is a Gift of Faith.
Our Inner Wisdom Knows
Our Inner Wisdom has been with us since the very beginning of our lives. It knows every single thing we’ve done, everything that has ever happened to us. It can remind us of earlier learnings and show us how to apply them in our current situation.
No counselor or advisor, no therapist or coach can ever do that. This is one of the great gifts that Inner Wisdom offers. I am so grateful for this gift.