Have you ever arrived at a destination, not having a clue at how you got there?
On a brilliant Sunday back in 2007, I had just such an experience. After 15 years of marriage, I was nearing the end of a difficult divorce that I had not wanted in the first place. Desiring something greater, I had been attending a Methodist church. I was looking for a relationship with Spirit.
For most of my life, I have known that everything is interrelated. I’ve known that there is a relationship between all things … a common thread of goodness that runs through all of us. I had spent years denying a Higher Power, denying myself the kind of deeply personal relationship that I was looking for.
I was afraid.
Afraid if I were to express my interest in such a relationship I wouldn’t be considered ‘cool’ or accepted by my peers. But on that sunny day of 2007, I didn’t care about being cool OR about acceptance. I was looking to accept myself, to accept how things had come to be and to accept a new future.
My life had turned into something I did not recognize: I was on antidepressants, miserably living in a small apartment. I had quit drinking alcohol and started smoking cigarettes. Basically, all I did was ride my bicycle, work out and struggle throughout my day to day existence.
Although I was in shape physically (for the most part), spiritually I felt anemic. While I was not quite aimless, I did have the knowing that I was searching for a deeper philosophical relationship. Still, I simply could not tap into what it might be. I did not possess the key to unlock the inner source of strength that I knew was always deep within me. It had to come to this. It took losing everything as I knew it, everything I had come to accept and see as ordinary and commonplace, every component I had created, to finally see what had always been there.
I now understand that my refusal to give myself permission to have that relationship with Spirit was but a chapter in my journey to self-acceptance. Just as all the other challenges (disguised as opportunities) had been.
I also knew that I was ready to begin changing myself, in order to become the man I knew was inside. A man who could have a future brighter than his past. For years I had been burdened with some form of incessant chip on my shoulder. It had developed over time, as I had fed it and nurtured it. This bitter edge had been holding me back and I longed to shed its baggage. I knew it was time to address it. And that if I did not do so, it would continue to weigh me down.
I intended to break this chain. And suddenly by this mere intention, everything was falling into place without my control. An invisible hand was helping me establish a new life within my life, a second chance, a do over. This was an opportunity to have a future not defined or dictated by the past. To create a future grounded in love, acceptance and understanding, that would enable me to share of myself with others.
I had come to know that miracles are real and that they happen to everyone, but still, I resisted. I was a closet believer. Yet that fateful Sunday was a valuable opportunity. Out of the blue, it hit me like a bolt of lightning: I had found a home.
Throughout my journey, I had come to become aware that I, too, could have a personal relationship with God. I reveled in this realization and its implications on my life and my entire being. I finally felt I had some answers to the age-old questions we have all asked at some passage in time: “What is God? Who is God?”
It dawned on me that God is everywhere and in EVERYTHING.
God is Spirit.
God is omnipresent.
This self-realization would not have been possible had I not given myself the opportunity – the permission, to acknowledge this truth. Looking back, it was a simple (although elusive) exercise in unrestrained self-acceptance.
Now that I had found a spiritual place that supported what I felt I knew, I wondered what possibilities lay before me. At the time, I was caught up in my own personal drama, and I did not realize that the possibilities presented to me would be endless. Just as they always had been.
Home, for me, soon revealed itself. It was a Spiritual Center in Lakewood Colorado. Now I didn’t get a sense of where my home would be right away. I did receive an “Aha!” moment of clarity, amongst several disguised opportunities to discover and act upon.
It all began a couple of months after my divorce had finalized. I had been attending my Spiritual Center regularly and was working towards healing (myself and those I loved). I had much to do. For years I had been a husband and father, but I had failed to demonstrate the patience, compassion and kindness that I felt I could have possessed. Yet I did realize that I now needed and was ready to cultivate a relationship between these components of my emotional self and my interpersonal relationships.
It was time…
The decision to take a divorce had not been mine yet I now saw my contribution to the demise of my marriage. I began to feel empowered. Revived.
I had a second chance, as a forty-year-old man, and I was not going to squander this precious chance to start over and get my life back in order. I was going to live My Best Life. A life laced with compassion, kindness, ease, grace and more!
The real healing began as soon as I moved into a position where I felt ready to forgive myself. Forgiving myself for all the things I had been blaming myself for, all my feelings of inadequacy and failure. The soul-draining feelings of regret, despair and not being “enough”. This powerful, cathartic forgiveness allowed me to dig into all the other aspects of how and why things had turned out the way they were prior to that pivotal Sunday back in 2007.
I was now willing to cultivate a relationship with Spirit, unencumbered by a host of feelings that weren’t serving (or deserving of) me. Not only were they not helping, they were CAUSING my problems, holding me back from being my greatest self.
There is a moral to my story: Do not be inhibited by self-defeating thoughts or your past life. Move forward in the moment you have. Embrace that moment, for that is all there really is.
This new liberated way of thinking and living has been very powerful and has delivered a myriad of positive side effects. My new appreciation for life, and self , has become infectious to others. Especially so in the community I have become a part of. Being with so many like-minded people has made me hold myself to a higher standard, a standard of Oneness. Knowing that all things and all people are in a precise relationship with one another. All the while, seeing that I am an integral part of it all.
Although my life is far from perfect (I still have many steps to take and opportunities for growth). I know those opportunities can only continue to help me to live my greatest life. The sea of change came when I embraced my problems as opportunities and made the choice to learn and grow from them.
I encourage anyone — at any age — to shed the illusion that the past defines what you are today.
I urge you to embrace the challenges of today to craft a brilliant future.
Cultivate your personal relationship with Spirit. Nurture it with temperance, patience, love and understanding. Only then will you stand in the harvest of your own magnificence. Don’t be afraid what others will think: Share yourself with them. Be patient with their skepticism and temper your desire to judge it.
Nurture them with love and know that you cannot change anyone, but the change is still happening within you. You will be surprised at the results and how much joy you generate, actively participating in your moment-to-moment choice-making. Seeing how it affects the rest of your life as well as the lives of those around you.
The future begins now.
You have the power to create the change you want to see — beginning with YOU. Reap the rewards of living your life now and know that the common thread of love and goodness runs through you and all of us…