Life is about not knowing, having to change,
taking the moment and making the best of it,
without knowing what’s going to happen next.
You haven’t heard much from me lately – but I haven’t forgotten about you.
As each Tuesday passes I’m aware that I’ve fallen out of my practice of writing something related to freedom to share each week. I miss connecting with you.
Recently I’ve been in the midst of a major phase shift in my life and all my energy has gone into that, which is why I’ve had to disappear for a while.
Several months ago, after much discernment, I came to understand that I’ve reached the end of a cycle with something that has been very dear to me: my role as director of the Upaya Buddhist Chaplaincy Training Program. This has been a huge part of my life for the past six years and, as of the end of this month, it’s coming to an end.
Every year since 2008 when Roshi Joan Halifax and I co-created this program, I’ve watched students come into this two-year program with a sincere intention to serve from a place of practice. And I’ve watched each one of them go through a profound transformation. The photo at the top of this post is of the most recent group of graduates, Cohort 5 – a truly beautiful group of people doing courageous work in the world. You’ll be hearing more about some of them soon right here on the LLP.
Making the decision to leave this position was not easy. It’s scary to let go of something that is precious to me as well as familiar. But I know that it is the right decision. As much as I deeply feel that supporting others in a transformative process is my life’s work, I also could see that it had to take a different form. It’s time to open up new possibilities.
Over the past weeks, many people have been asking, “What’s next for you?”
That is such a hard question to answer.
The first answer that comes to me is: I need a bit of a rest. The wisdom of taking a sabbatical every seventh year is very clear to me. So some of what is to come will be fallow time so I can re-connect with myself. (Because of that need for fallow time, I’m going to wait until this October to run the Fall in Love with Your Work e-course again rather than try to do it now when I feel kinda depleted.)
The other reason the “What’s next?” question is so hard to answer is that I’m coming to realize that I no longer “plan” my life. I used to… I’d create five-year plans, goals, objectives, on and on. But you know what? These past few years I’ve discovered that I don’t actually control my life. (Some of you will be saying ‘duh!’)
What is more true is that life lives me.
It’s not that goals aren’t useful. It’s just that they are not the most important thing. The most important thing is to be of service, to soften suffering and cultivate joy in this world that needs it so much. So my modus operandi these days is to say “yes” to whatever assignment the universe may have for me.
As of this moment, I am still waiting for the assignment to come.
But I do know a few things. One of the reasons I am making this shift is to open up more space for writing, teaching, and facilitating.
So I think it may be helpful to share how I feel I can best be of service, and then throw this out to the universe (which is made up of all of you!) and see what comes back.
I’ve spent a lot of this past year considering my “sweet spot” – that place at which my strengths and the world’s needs intersect. Here’s what I believe it is: Bringing together spirituality and pragmatism. You might call it Applied Wisdom. Here is what makes my heart sing:
- Bringing mindful awareness into organizational processes… helping individuals to access their natural wisdom and equanimity; supporting them to create healthy and effective workplaces informed by those qualities
- Creating and supporting communities of transformative learning and practice (Upaya’s Chaplaincy Program is a great example of that)
- Helping people to tell their stories, and sharing them with others in a way that is healing and generative
- Connecting people and resources… I am a born connector, and I love seeing good people find each other
If you’d like to work more closely with me in something that involves any one of those four areas, either individually or as part of an organization, I’d be very happy to hear from you and explore the possibilities. (And I’m open to possibilities not on the list!)
You can learn about some of the options for working together here.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you have navigated major changes in your life and work. What have you found helpful in these liminal places?
I’d love to stay in touch with you! When you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll receive my monthly newsletter with reflections on life and liberation, as well as my e-book, “9 Keys to a Liberated Life.”