Five years ago, shortly after I became certified as a Gallup StrengthsFinders coach, I wrote a blog about the strength called connectedness, i.e., the ability to sense and notice how all things and events are related. I reflected on how I was surprised that this was a “thing” that people felt was a strength that they used for success personally and professionally.
At the time a former hard-core atheist, I was pretty curious about this idea. I was also recently married to my now-late husband, Christopher, who had told me shortly after we met that being spiritual meant believing that there are things we cannot understand. His frame on spirituality is really the reason that I went from atheist, very concrete about life being knowable and measurable, to Spirit-curious.
Years later, I could be characterized, at best, as Spirit Lite when we received his diagnosis of cancer. Spirit Lite meant going to yoga, trying to be present, and being more open to the woo woo ideas and practices. I listened with interest and openness to the conversations about crystals, healing practices, and guidance but rarely partook.
All that changed when I learned about Christopher’s stage IV cancer diagnosis. I decided that I must dive into Spirit and post-traumatic growth to get through this. I wrote about PTG at the start of the Silver Linings blog; it was a big motivation for me to start the blog to share the notion that all challenges are actually a chance to learn and grow. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the growth. After all, if it was easy, we would’ve mastered that topic already.
Christopher’s cancer diagnosis, occurring on the heels of the death of my sister Sabina, made me also realize that my current toolkit was just not enough. I would have to take my learning to a new level. Beyond positive psychology. Beyond PTG. To Spirit.
So this is my disclaimer and warning to those who don’t want woo woo in their lives, that the Silver Linings blog is about moving to the next (temporally) most important thing for my wellbeing, and that has to do with our connection to all things: Our purpose, ourselves, each other, Earth, and Spirit. This interconnectedness, and fostering vibrant connections between them, is really at the heart of the mission of the nonprofit I started in honor of my late sister and husband (www.familyandcommunityhealing.org). FFCH’s social media campaign focuses on our connection to Earth, and includes my personal blog discussing how Earth and the natural world provided support and healing for me throughout the tragic year of 2018 and beyond.
The Silver Linings blog focuses instead on a more personal discussion of the development of my connection with Spirit, and the strength, wisdom, inspiration, and support that became available to me when I did. This recovering atheist has turned all woo woo, and I’m going to talk about it here, openly and honestly, just as I did when I started this blog in 2013 about my lessons as a recovering control freak and self-hater.
The original Silver Linings blog was too personal for some people to appreciate and/or grasp, since we talked about emotion and vulnerability. This phase is likely this is going to be even more challenging or unapproachable for some given the nature of the topic. I understand. There are parts of this journey that, honestly, felt – and still feel – pretty crazy and unbelievable.
I’ve learned that faith is part of the process. I do not fully understand that aspect of it. After all, I’m a rookie given I’ve been doing this for only 18 months. Admittedly I have been taking a deep dive during that period, where perhaps I’ve achieved a sliver of brilliance in my spiritual work, which is offset by so much ignorance on so many other levels. I still have much to learn and so I hope that this can be a platform for shared learning where everyone can participate.
The Silver Linings blog is about creating a place to share our collective wisdom about thriving and becoming our best self despite our life’s challenges; this phase is about the spiritual aspect of our life which underlies our wellbeing practices taught to us by positive psychology. The richness of this mysterious and often invisible part of us is the most important part of our lives whether we know it or not. Uncovering and appreciating it means that we can add a transcendence and depth to our lives that was unimaginable to my former atheistic self.
I hadn’t realized it but I was already following my Higher Self (soul) most of my life. My purpose required I excavate through the solid and intractable atheist beliefs, bit by bit, to what lies underneath: our connection to each other, Earth and Spirit. It’s actually not all woo woo because positive psychology’s exploration of the value and importance of religion and spirituality motivated me to select the topic of authentic purpose, or callings, for my capstone project (shameless plug: see our book, Being Called).
Our calling or authentic purpose is what connects us and our lives to the divine, since it is a purpose that we are born into. So shortly after Chris died, when I sensed that my purpose was going in a new direction and to a much higher level, I had to decide whether I was going to be a hypocrite and stay in my comfy, beautiful dream job at UGA, or to take a leap of faith and pursue a purpose that is definitely life-changing and possibly even world-changing. Both are inexplicably linked because I can’t change the world if I don’t change myself.
This is the new theme of this blog, my spiritual journey that changed me and that I hope will bring about the change that is needed to create the world that we all have hoped and dreamed about.
I’ve taken a leap of faith to take action to make this change, investing most of my personal and financial resources which reflects a commitment that screams that I can change the world. It is also to inform you, possibly to your surprise, that you can too.
The time is right for this change. We cannot wait any longer. It is a leap of faith, but Spirit is here to guide every step and inspire me to be bigger than I can imagine.
You are bigger than you imagine too.
In fact, the world needs your passion, talents, and gifts. The world needs your hope and optimism and vision for a better world.
If you want guidance, you will have it. You only have to ask, and you will receive it.
If you aren’t ready to ask, notice the invitations that are all around you each day, beckoning you to begin your Hero’s Journey, which is after all, the summons for you to bring back the lost wisdom of your generation, for it is urgently needed by all.
It’s a beautiful journey. It’s unsettling, and inspiring, and awesome, and it makes me feel so incredibly alive and hopeful.
Join me. Share with me. Teach me. Learn with me. Start now by posting a response about your own journey and hopes for the future, and then share with others who might want to join too. We can create this change together.
Next blog: What is Spirit?