Tag Archives: divine guidance

Saying Yes to Your Calling

yes photo

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.

But for the Grace of God

diamond lake - nederland, colorado

Where would we be but for the grace of God? There are so many examples in life whereby we couldn’t imagine how we survived, thrived or accomplished, but for something greater than ourselves. The odds of any one of us even being born are astronomical according to scientists and statisticians, with some saying 1 in 400 trillion.

The awareness of grace is cause for much gratitude, for surrender, and for humility. I heard a man last night, before tennis league play, boldly proclaiming that he was 33 years old and had plenty of time to plan a great retirement nest egg. He was confidently speaking of his investment acumen. I couldn’t help but remember one of my grandmother’s phrases: “The Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.” While this man was speaking the truth in a practical worldly sense, there is also the opportunity to recognize the role of grace in our lives. Each moment we have is by divine grace, by our leaning into the awareness of grace.

Twenty-five years ago, shortly after moving to San Francisco, I made a quick decision that could have cost me my life or otherwise not turned out well. I had attended a San Francisco 49ers professional football game and gotten a ride from a friend to the game. Since we were going in opposite directions after the game I told him I would catch a cab home. If there were cabs waiting outside the stadium, they were nowhere to be found in the area where I exited.

Seeing me looking for a cab, a man said that for $10 he could give me a ride home to San Francisco (the stadium was south of the city). Without giving it much thought, being the trusting person I’ve always been, I said “sure,” thankful that I had found a ride home. Being new to San Francisco, I didn’t know much about the route home, so I paid little attention to the roads being taken. However, I became alarmed when the man pulled off the road and onto a dark field. I was in the front passenger seat and there was a second man in the back seat.

I asked what was going on and the look on their faces and the energy suggested that they were not up to anything for my good. Somewhere within I summoned a powerful voice and began to demand that they fulfill the agreement to take me home. “You told me you would take me to San Francisco, now take me to San Francisco,” I said very firmly. Looking like he wasn’t even sure why he was obeying my command, the driver pulled back onto the road and drove me to San Francisco as originally agreed.

It was a rattling experience and one that reminded me where I place my trust. My trust is in divine wisdom and guidance within me. That day I did not pause to check in with my inner guidance before accepting a ride. What I relied on was more like blind faith or trust, as opposed to trust grounded in deeper knowing through divine guidance.

I am grateful that, through the grace of God, even my bumbling moments turn out okay. As much as many of us feel very competent and self-assured, most of us would likely admit that the good we have in our lives is through a combination of our own efforts and the grace of God.

The invitation today is to pay attention to divine grace in our lives, to give thanks for all the help we receive from “on high,” and to take ourselves a little bit less seriously. Life is good and we are supported by life!

Enjoy the journey.

Courting the Divine


“Speak to Him thou for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet. Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet,” writes the 19th century poet, Alfred Tennyson in his poem, The Higher Pantheism. This passage has always resonated with me, although I never knew its source until researching it for inclusion here. The passage reminds me to go within to know God, that even in my darkest moments I am not alone. And even when appearances would suggest no hope, the power and presence of the divine is right there in the midst of it all.

While I have always liked the phrase “courting the divine” as in the title of this article, perhaps the truer phrase is opening to the divine. The divine is always there and our courtship is really about paying attention and cultivating within ourselves the space to listen, feel, and experience it. And it’s important to note that we all relate to the divine in our own unique, personal way, so it is for us to notice how grace reveals itself to us, how wisdom is known, and in what ways we feel connected to our divine source. This is all the divine courtship.

One of the most important things is validating how we uniquely experience our divine nature. Without that, there is a tendency to look outside ourselves toward how someone else experiences the divine, which is good in itself, but can only take us so far.

Ours is to know God, or the divine, right where we are, as we are.

Back in Philadelphia where I grew up, I remember as a young adult having some deep mystical experiences after beginning a meditation practice and studying J. Krishnamurti. Because no one around me was having similar experiences, I made the decision to keep them to myself, and at the same time I had some uneasiness about them. For me, I walked through life that way for 15 years before finding validation in spiritual community, validation that now is no longer needed from external sources.

If we are unable to feel validated in our own experience of the divine, it is a good idea to seek guidance from a trusted spiritual practitioner who can help us sort out and make sense of what we are experiencing, and learn how to hold and be with our experience in the most healthy and useful way for our spiritual growth.

For me, there can be no greater experience than to know God or the divine right where we are. It is to know love, faith, trust, and wisdom right where I am. It is to walk in this world knowing with certainty that there is more than just this world. Everything in life takes on different meaning and context when we know our divine nature and the divine nature of all. It doesn’t mean we don’t experience some of the same pain and challenges that others do on this earthly plane, but it does allow us to transcend the sense of finiteness and limitation that come from only seeing the material.

The invitation this day is to fully honor the way the divine shows up in us, to welcome it, embrace it, open more fully to it, and remember, as we take every step in life, that God is closer than our hands and feet, closer than our breath.

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 Time to Make a Change?

swim finals

by Gregory Toole

Making a major change in life is not something to be taken lightly. It is wisely done with great care, vision and forethought. At some point, the moment arrives when we are called to make a leap, a stretch into the unknown, or the lesser known.

It is this time that requires us to summon our courage, to move out of any inertia that might keep us stuck in what is comfortable. It is easy for us to rationalize staying where we are, sticking it out, or finding a way for minor modifications to make our existing circumstances more palatable or enjoyable. These rational choices may be perfect for us, unless we are ignoring or avoiding a greater calling into newness, perhaps from fear because the change represents a significant departure from where we’ve been.

Sometimes there is something that just won’t let us go. We may have tried to let it go, forget about it, or ignore it, and yet somehow it keeps coming back into our minds and hearts. It is a pull from somewhere deeper within us that wants us to go for more, that urges us to be larger, to not settle. It is the thing that we simply must do if we are to be at peace with ourselves, if we are to feel fulfilled in our authentic purpose.

Years ago when I was completing a master’s degree, the former presidential candidate, Ross Perot, came to speak at our school. This was prior to him running for president. Back then he was mainly known as a successful businessperson. It surprised me, being that he was a billionaire, that he told us to do the thing that we absolutely must do, the thing we can’t not do. That really moved me and I never forgot it.

While there are no easy answers to what is the right timing to make a major change, here are five questions to ask yourself that might help you decide:

  1. Is there a goal or vision that keeps coming up no matter how hard you’ve tried to ignore it?
  2. Have you postponed something for so long that continuing to postpone it is having an adverse effect on your energy and your sense of well-being?
  3. Are you at a point where your energy is not being directed into what feels authentic to you?
  4. Do you feel that you’ve played it safe for an extended period of time?
  5. Do you get excited, feel expanded or energized when you think about making the change?

Your yeses to these questions may indicate that it’s time to make that change. Only you know. Follow your divine wisdom, the wisdom of your heart. When the clear “yes” comes, go for it!

Enjoy the journey!

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Surrender: Where The Real Power Is

by Gregory Toole

In our upbringing, most of us have probably known “surrender” to be a negative action, something we surely only do as a last resort. The common definition equates surrender to giving up.

In spiritual terms, the only thing we give up with surrender is our need to be in control of everything. And since we don’t actually control nearly as much as we sometimes think, ultimately we are not giving up much at all when we surrender.

However, we gain much–greater ease, peace of mind, and expanded possibilities for our life that are beyond anything we could ever imagine when we needed to be fully in control.

A big question is, “What are we surrendering to?” What we surrender to is our divine nature, our higher nature. In short, we surrender to God, or whatever we call our higher power.

Another question is, “How do I do it?” The answer to this question is a bit more involved, but the simplest response is that we begin to let go, little by little, of our attachment to specific outcomes and how and when those outcomes come to pass.

In letting go, we get out of the way of our higher nature, making room for grace to come into our lives. Grace can only occur when we get our human ego-centered selves out of the way.

As brilliant as the human brain is, it really is finite in terms of its ability to coordinate the infinite range of activities that need to take place for our lives to be full and, at the same time, for us to be at peace and at ease with life. Our divine, or higher, self is infinite, capable of coordinating an infinite array of simultaneous synchronistic activities on our behalf, all at once.

“How is this possible?” you may say. It is possible due to the infinite intelligence embedded in our divine nature, combined with the reality of oneness, that all of life is one and connected. Surrender aligns us with the flow of this one life and infinite intelligence. In that flow, synchronicities become commonplace and we find that our effort is only a small part of what takes place to get our needs met.

Five Steps

Here are five initial steps to support you in your desire to practice surrender:

  1. Let go of the notion that you’re fully in control.
  2. Spend some time in meditation daily, even if it’s just one minute a day. Use this time to listen for divine wisdom and inspiration, but don’t be attached to getting a result.
  3. When you feel stressed, pause for a moment and get in touch with your breath. Your breath is your connection to life, and thus the flow of life.
  4. Don’t schedule yourself so tightly. Leave at least a little room for divine opportunities (those that match what you want, but not your human timing).
  5. Develop strategies in advance for how you will capture your divine inspirations and insights (e.g., keep a recording device handy). These insights are a gift to you and often provide clarity and solutions that would have required far more human effort to develop if you had waited until you felt you had time to think about them.

The practice of surrender is possible for you. It starts with willingness, and being open to divine guidance. Little by little, you can loosen your grip, and as you do, the ease and peace you’ve been wanting start to become real, and yet your life is even fuller.

Enjoy the journey!