Are you ready to live a life of meaning and purpose? Bestselling author and life coach, Tama Kieves offers five ways to brave the spiritual path of reclaiming your true identity and creating the life of your dreams.
When I had my career melt-down and fled the life of being an elite-law-firm-corporate-lawyer, honors graduate of Harvard Law School, I thought I was changing careers. I had no idea I was changing my definition of the divine. I was leaving behind the Big Removed Guy in the sky, more concerned with the next life than the wonder of this one. In doing the work I love, I discovered a fresh astonishing companion, one who hid a thousand diamonds in my veins, and urged me to break free of every limitation, trust the path of love, and realize my power to create.
I had always wanted to be a writer, but I chose a legal career because I was being practical. No career counselor had realized I wasn’t being practical: I was being blasphemous, presumptuous, and small-minded. I was deciding that the Universe could not support my innate longing, and that joy—the trademark of spirit—was flimsy and perilous. People who held fast to limitations congratulated me on my decision to deny my sacred longings. No one suggested that my thoughts created my experience of reality, and that because I believed in a harsh and denying world, I would encounter it.
That’s why none of the typical career advice ever worked in my unfolding journey. Many career experts assume a certain world into which you plug your identifiable talents. But in my career transformation, I discovered if I followed my unrealistic desires, they created a new world. I didn’t need a sharp direction, I needed connection. Connection to the absolute knowing that I was beloved and would be inspired. My focus wasn’t sorting through aptitudes. My real work was letting go of false assumptions and hobbling beliefs.
Today, as a leading career coach, I see people who ache to jump into a radical new self-expression, yet they approach it in a conventional way. The Universe is not an old-school career counselor with a desk job. This infinite presence beckons you to step into an experience beyond career assessments, industry standards, and blunt approaches, especially in these cutting-edge times.
Here are 5 areas for you to focus on that have helped thousands of individuals brave this spiritual path of reclaiming their true identity and creating the life of their dreams based on my book, This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love.
1. It Takes an Intermission to Find a Mission
You may want to flip from one crazy, all-consuming life into your next roiling self-expression. But first you need space to inhabit your spiritual wholeness. I don’t care how much you can multi-task, you’re not going to hear the inspired voice within you with a cell phone in one hand, a Palm Pilot in the other, while driving your kids to soccer and making grocery lists in your head. You have to find time before you can find yourself.
When I left my legal practice, I consciously eviscerated my expenses, spent some of my meager retirement money, and got a “drop-out job” waiting tables to help pay bills. My ego wrestled with this transition, but my Spirit assured me it’s never a step down to step ahead. I needed this deliberate time to stop the speeding, reckless train from roaring in the wrong direction and to listen to what was underneath the wheels. I’ve had clients create this sacred space while still in their jobs. They commit to less hours or diminished responsibilities. They focus on making “spirit time” a priority: time to walk, journal, meditate, or pray. Quiet time is nectar for translucent inner guidance.
2. Honoring Your Crazy Love
Many of my clients squirm when I suggest they “usher in the exiled love” by doing things that feel ridiculously fun and delicious. They want to get serious about finding their contribution or starting their business. But a loving Universe does not ask you to deny your exultation and call it responsibility. You have the responsibility to tap your excitement and utilize this renewable resource.
Remember, you’re not looking for a career answer. You’re looking for aliveness. You’re seeking to fall in love. It doesn’t matter if you can’t see how you’ll make money by collecting abalone shells or learning ancient Taoist wisdom. What you love has energy, and that energy will propel you into new experiences, insights, abilities, and expressions.
I began my inspired career journey by writing poetry. My practical mind whined and indexed tropical climates for homelessness. But writing poetry led me to write an intimate book about career transition which led me to teaching workshops throughout the country, coaching people individually, and starting a worldwide organization. This is a dynamic path. Where you start off is not where you end up. Begin by activating the secret power of your love.
3. Trade in Your Label for a Ticket
It’s hard to be in transition. It feels like standing naked at a cocktail party. When strangers ask, “What do you do?” You may want to say, “Journal, freak out, and read self-help books. You?” The culture may demand definition, but your soul craves expansion. Do not rush your courageous adventure. You are as undefined as you are unlimited.
When I first left my career, I wanted to force clarity. I wanted a business card, a website, an identity, to be done with the mystery of tracking my true self. But the spiritual life is one of answering everything on every level, not the grab-and-go quick-fixes of the ego.
I finally had to see my vulnerability as a commitment to a bigger life. I came to the realization that, while I no longer had a label, I did have a ticket, a ticket to anywhere I wanted to go with my life. I didn’t just have a blank hole on my resume. I had a blank canvas. I could say yes to any desire, dance partner, sunbeam, hope, heartthrob, divine invitation, or adventure that crossed my path. Something would come. And meanwhile, I stood in an open field with all the stars above my head and my brazen arms wide open, unconditional. I knew I stood in exactly the right place where magic could find me.
4. Only the Tender Can Breed the Fierce
The best thing about this journey is that you will have to stop abusing yourself and start nurturing yourself. It’s not possible to see yourself as a worthless speck of lint on the good wool suit of humanity, and as someone with the most amazing contribution to make. You will have to dare to see yourself as sublimely blessed and sufficient.
All my life, I’d thrown spitballs at my weakness. I’d always thought that inflicting massive amounts of pain upon myself was a good thing, a motivating force instead of a paralyzing one. The esteemed psychologist Abraham Maslow said, “All creativity comes from safety.” It’s true. You cannot hear an inspired voice while underestimating yourself. True genius lives inside you, but it only grows in the soil of self-allegiance.
Self-love is your responsibility, if you want to offer your gifts to the world. A loving Universe can only express itself through you when you treat yourself—the vessel—with exquisite care. Everything you give this world will come from everything you give yourself.
5. Start Dancing and the Band Will Find You
There is no right way or wrong way to bring your love into the world. The creative mind has infinite ways to accomplish the good. God is not limited to expert advice of the day or how things have worked in the past. The Universe doesn’t conform to the statistics of a reportable, static reality. You are in a moving, divine, loving place where atoms take their lead from you. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The power that resides in him is new in nature and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.”
You can’t plan an inspired life. You will never know the way, but the way knows the way. Thankfully, an infinite loving intelligence is not confined to the cramped realities of your logic. Love has a way of blowing your mind. Your heart knows a small step to take in this very moment. That’s all you need. Practice your craft or volunteer your services now. Experience gives you power and power attracts opportunities. The world has a great need for your gifts, greater than ever before. Put your love in action and it will go where it needs to go.
Remember, you are not alone. You have been given these desires for a reason. Your love and work is needed here. That’s why you’ve received this assignment. Your dance partner has asked you to dance. I hope you say yes, and realize how loved you are in your lifetime by that outrageously-affirming, infinitely-creative, astonishing companion.
© 2012 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies