Tag Archives: calling

Taking the Leap

spiritual guidance photo (2)

What is the difference between those who follow their dreams and those who do not? One major difference is that those who follow their dreams eventually take a leap from where they are into the somewhat unknown. Some have called it a leap of faith. It is taking a step in the direction of a vision without knowing all the details of how it is going to work out.

Some who don’t follow their dreams are in a waiting pattern – waiting for just the right moment, waiting for the unknown to become known, waiting for the perfect conditions to present themselves, or just waiting for courage.

While patience is a good thing and paying attention to timing is wise, at some point there is a leap to be taken. Rarely are all the steps revealed in advance. Seldom is everything neatly arranged for our human comfort. However, what does occur is that a moment arises where we realize we have done all that we can to prepare for pursuing our dream. More importantly, there comes a time where the vision is pressing against us so firmly that to not take the leap would be to engage in significant resistance.

The time has arrived. We are as ready as we are going to be. There will not be some better time in the future. We may not be or have all that we will need to completely fulfill the vision, but we are all that we need to be to start it. Some gifts are not bestowed until we take the leap and we are committed. Then our clear “yes” begins to open doors that heretofore where not accessible to us.

The leap ultimately is part of advancing our soul work. And the soul does not advance through maintaining human comfort. It beckons us to reap a greater harvest that awaits us when we step into the infinitude of our being. It calls us to stretch in order to see what is possible.

To use a temporal example, in tennis some people decide to not try to return a particular shot because, in their mind, it is not possible to make. Others will go for the shot. Those who go for the shot often surprise themselves by making an incredible return shot. We cannot know what is possible without making the attempt. Deciding in advance what is possible and what is not possible is putting ourselves in a box of limitation.

When Moses of the Bible led his people out of bondage, there were many moments when the people moaned and groaned, and longed for the comfort of the familiar, even though the familiar was being in bondage. As Moses and his people made their way through many seeming obstacles on the way to the Promised Land, again and again the people lamented that if only they had stayed in Egypt (where they were in bondage) they would not be dealing with the present obstacles. And such is the nature of taking the leap. We are likely to question ourselves when we reach the uncomfortable parts of the journey and wonder if we were wise to ever have considered venturing into foreign lands.

These doubts are natural and should not deter us from continuing to move forward. What’s important to remember are all the times that we surmount the seeming obstacles. When we find ourselves in the midst of a seeming obstacle, we can remember all the times we thought we’d encountered an insurmountable obstacle only to find ourselves on the other side of the Red Sea.

The invitation this day is when the soul calls you and the moment is ripe, take the leap! Step into the mystery and begin to offer your gifts and your vision to the world.

Enjoy the journey.

Saying Yes to Your Calling

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I believe most of us have a calling, even if we’re unaware of it. I’ve had many conversations with people who have said that they would move into action once they got the calling. Facetiously, I have asked for their phone number and suggested I would give them the call.

The common misconception is to think the calling must come through some dramatic means, such as Moses hearing from God in a burning bush. In most cases, the calling seems to come more in the form of a thought that just keeps coming up, that just won’t let us go. It just won’t go away.

I often think of the dawning of my own calling, when I was called to be a spiritual teacher. After becoming licensed as a spiritual practitioner and engaging in several years of deep spiritual practice, I began to ask, in my daily meditations, what was I to do with my expanded consciousness? The first time I did this, the word “minister” immediately came to mind. I quickly dismissed it as some chatter of the ego or the imagination. But no matter how many times I asked the question, the answer was the same. Thinking I just wasn’t getting any reliable information with this process, I stopped asking the question.

Shortly thereafter, person after person began to approach me, unsolicited, asking “You’re going to be a minister, aren’t you?” To each person, my response was the same – “No, where did you get that idea?”

Finally, as the message continued to come through loudly and clearly, from within and from without, I surrendered to it and said “yes.” The moment I said “yes,” the complete clarity came. It felt totally right. And I never questioned it again.

What is it that keeps coming up for you? Perhaps a thought about doing something continues to rise. Perhaps others have noticed something in you that you have not yet acknowledged. Maybe you’ve always thought about serving the homeless or starting a non-profit for some cause that’s important to you.

We have many passing thoughts that aren’t necessarily a calling, but those that continue to arise and just won’t go away, those are likely meaningful to our calling.

In looking at my own example and in talking to others, I have found that sometimes we ignore the messages about our calling because they scare us. We wonder if we are adequate to fulfill them. There’s a saying that God doesn’t call the qualified, but instead qualifies the called. There is much truth in that saying. When we say yes to our calling, we open ourselves to gifts and talents we never even knew we had, and we open ourselves to grace to fill in the gaps where we seem deficient.

The invitation this day is to say “yes” to your calling, that which keeps calling you, and won’t go away.

Enjoy the journey.

Answering Your Soul’s Calling

Three white pebbles against the background of the sea and sky

by Gregory Toole

I often receive the comment, “how brave,” when I share with people the story of leaving my corporate career. My response is always the same: bravery played very little part. June 30 of this year marks 20 years since I left my corporate career. One day, I just walked away and I knew I would never return. I hadn’t much of a clue what lay ahead, but I knew my corporate-ladder-climbing days were over.

To give a little background, I had come into the computer industry out of college when it was the hot field to be in, when jobs were thought to be somewhat scarce in other industries. I quickly advanced and after five years I earned an MBA and moved into the business side of the industry. One of the gifts I received while there was that I worked with people who were really passionate about what they did. They were really passionate about creating the best computer and software products they could. Try as I may, I did not find myself excited or passionate about that.

What I did find is that I wanted to be involved with something I was just as passionate about as my colleagues in the computer industry. Going back to my college days, what excited me was serving more in the social sector to make a difference in people’s lives. While I wanted to leave my corporate career, I had prepared so much for this work I had no idea what else I would do.

Then I entered a Center for Spiritual Living. I found people on a spiritual journey much like my own. Within just over six months of finding spiritual community I found the support and the clarity to leave my corporate career. The people in my spiritual community understood what it meant to follow one’s heart and to answer the call of the soul.

While the only clarity I had was that I wanted to serve humanity in some greater way, it was enough because the call was so strong. Everything in me pointed to moving in this new direction, while the thought of staying in my corporate career felt like severe contraction and the extinguishing of the fire in me. In fact, it didn’t seem like much of a choice at all: one option took me toward fulfillment, soul-alignment, and felt like full expansion of my energy field, while the other option felt like contraction of my energy field and ultimately death. Not much of a choice, which brings me back to why I have always said it really wasn’t about being courageous.

When the choices are that stark, there really is only one choice. I feel thankful that the call within me is so strong, although there were times I wished it weren’t, that I could have just stayed in what was comfortable, even if it weren’t all that fulfilling. But my soul would not allow it. I believe it literally would have killed me, staying in something that was going so against the grain of my soul’s calling.

Having made the choice to follow my soul’s calling, within a year I became Executive Director of a non-profit youth development organization, within four years a licensed spiritual practitioner, and within 10 years a minister in Centers for Spiritual Living. I did not foresee any of this when I took that first step to leave my corporate career, but I did feel a strong calling in the direction of something important. I have never regretted the choice and never looked back.

What is the deeper calling in you that is seeking expression? Are you fully aligned with your soul’s calling, with what expands you and has a deep resonance in your heart? My vision is of a planet where everyone is following the call of their soul. In this vision, I see a more vibrant, peaceful, loving, and creative world, free of fear, greed, and addictions.

Will you join me in that vision? If so, just check in with your heart and see what you are called to in this moment, and the next, and then the next. What a world we are creating together!

Enjoy the journey.

Is It Your Heart or Mind Speaking?

Two cards, isolated on black, clipping path included

by Gregory Toole

Often as I work with my spiritual coaching clients, the question of how to distinguish between the voice of our heart and the voice of our mind comes up. With practice and awareness, we can begin to distinguish between the two, and in doing so learn how to trust each of them for what they have to offer.

I sometimes refer to the mind as the “back and forth” because when we are engaging a question purely with the mind, we often go back and forth, saying things like “well maybe this is the best option because of such and such, or maybe this other option is better for this other reason, and then again maybe this third option is even better. That’s the mind, or what some Buddhists have referred to as the monkey mind, just running wild, and often leading us further into confusion.

The heart is more subtle, and surer, when we tune into it. We connect with it through our feeling nature. As we move closer to what is real in the heart, we feel more expansive and free. As we move away from it, we feel more contracted. I am reminded of that guessing game many of us played as kids where we hid something and we told the one trying to find it that they were getting “warmer” if they were moving closer to the hidden object, or “colder,” if they were moving away from it.

The heart is like that. We feel into it. In making a decision from the heart, we can ask, how does choosing each option feel? In other words, is there a resonance at a feeling level with a particular option or not. Unlike the mind, there’s no back and forth. The heart is more like a compass pointing the way, and we keep following it to see where it leads us.

The rational mind is a wonderful resource, and it can certainly steer us into making decisions that are reasonable, can help us avoid danger, and help us make sure we are being practical and realistic.

However, when it comes to decisions that are more about what aligns us more fully with our soul and our deeper calling, then it is only the heart that can guide us.

When I decided to leave my corporate career 20 years ago, my rational mind had previously convinced me to stay in that corporate career for years until finally I couldn’t ignore where my heart was guiding me. At some point, all the arguments of my rational mind just couldn’t overcome the intensity of pure feeling that was coming from my heart. It was less of a “yes” to something new than it was a huge “NO” to my corporate career. I had spent so much energy and effort silencing my heart in favor of my rational mind, I could hardly even access the “YES” that had been calling me for so long. At that time, I only knew there was a big “NO” to my corporate career, and it was over.

It took some time for me to really hear the voice of my heart again after pushing it down for so long, but gradually, as I began to listen more deeply, I got in touch with this great gift that is the voice of the heart. Then the “YES” came more clearly into my awareness, and I followed every expansion of clarity until it finally led me to the spiritual teaching and coaching services that I offer today.

The voice of the heart is really the voice of divine intuition, of divine wisdom and guidance. That voice is found through our feeling nature rather than our thinking nature. To hear the voice of the heart we must become still, and let the mind rest a little. The practice of meditation is the greatest aid in this process.

We need not discount the value of the mind as it has great value to us. What is important is to bring the heart and mind in balance, and to access the mind for what it is good at, such as planning and analytic tasks, and let the heart guide us in matters of the soul, our purpose, and direction.

How great that we have such powerful inner resources!

Enjoy the journey.

Single Focus: Fulfilling Your Divine Destiny

buitre volando

by Gregory Toole

In his book, The Infinite Way, Joel Goldsmith wrote, “All of the good necessary to our welfare will be supplied to us in greater abundance than we can accept when we give up the effort and desire to get, achieve, or accomplish, and come more into the consciousness of desiring only to fulfill our destiny on earth.”

If we really are surrendered to our soul’s calling, that which we are here to be and do, is there anything else to be concerned with? This singular focus not only simplifies things, it also gives us assurance because our divine destiny is sure to be fulfilled when we surrender to it. And everything else is sure to fall short in some way when it comes to the deepest levels of fulfillment.

One might ask what divine destiny means for free will, of which we have a lot. Our soul’s agreement for being on the planet at this time has elements that we recognize as we resonate with specific activities and directions for our lives. We have choice as to how much we align with our soul’s calling, but ultimately it will keep nudging at us because it is our calling at the most deep level of who we are. And this is how we recognize it, because we see that it is something we must do for deeper fulfillment, and not something we conjured to gain recognition or material expansion.

Aligning with our divine destiny, or purpose, frees up a great deal of energy. It alleviates a lot of worry and anxiety as we begin to see that we are fully supported by life in fulfilling our divine destiny.

It brings us into full surrender, into the consciousness of “not my will, but thine, be done.” We are no longer concerned with personal achievement or accomplishment, but only with living our divine calling. “Thine,” here refers to the will of our higher nature, not a God separate from us.

A particular project or assignment may seem not to work out the way we expected, but then we remember that I am not here for that project to work out a certain way. I am here to fulfill my divine destiny, which I am absolutely doing. We are only here to serve, and if our role is to play the fool in a particular situation, then we play it well and with all of our heart. And if in another situation our role is to be the hero, we also play that role passionately, and with complete acceptance.

Often those things that we struggle with are not in alignment with our divine destiny, so we are going against the grain, like paddling upstream instead of going with the flow of the river. We can certainly choose to do that, but often in doing so we are ignoring what aligns us with our authentic expression in this lifetime.

When we align with our divine destiny, we let go of struggle. We allow ourselves to be used by life to bring about good in our world. We have less of a personal agenda and more of a soul or divine agenda. We are not trying to serve the purposes of the ego, but rather the higher purpose of our divine calling. We are serving the purpose that we are designed for, so it’s natural and harmonious. We are not struggling against life, but flowing with it.

Ironically, as Goldsmith notes in the quote I opened with, even though we are not acting out of a desire for personal gain, because we are aligned with life and our highest nature, we are ultimately prospered greatly when we are singularly focused on fulfilling our divine destiny.

May you align with your divine destiny this day and find great fulfillment.

Enjoy the journey.