There was a time, several years ago, when I was desperate. Everything in my life looked normal and perfect on the surface level, but underneath the surface, I was in a spiritual crisis.
I was in crisis because since the age of 19 I’d had a strong, driving need to do my most meaningful work in the world, and I was living with the constant frustration of having no idea what that work was. I’d read countless self-help books. I’d explored numerous professional identities, both in school and in the workforce. I’d flung myself headlong and heartfelt into meaningful spiritual practices (Zen and Yoga). Yet no one thing was it for me. By the time I hit 30, I was so discouraged by my utter lack of clarity and purpose (despite all of my great efforts!), that I nearly lost my mind with the stress of it. It culminated in a 9 month stretch of intense depression, where I sat listlessly on the couch every day, not even interested in turning on a TV. (You heard it here first: lack of clarity and purpose can be completely debilitating!)
I had slowly climbed out of that depression, and, no longer 30, had managed to build a beautiful life out of the emotional ashes: I had a career that brought me joy, was still happily married, and even had a healthy, growing family. Yet, as meaningful as so much of my life had become, that deep longing for my unique calling was still there, and I still felt, at times, utterly hollow: like I was going through the motions of my life, with some integral part of my Soul set aside, collecting dust on a shelf. I was about to conceive my second child, and I was haunted with the thought that I could easily blink, absorbed in this lovely role of being Mother, and find that another 20 years had gone by without my being any closer to knowing this particular part of myself, this deeply important aspect of the work I had come here to do. I felt a growing urgency, once again. I was truly at my wits’ end.
Then I remembered something a friend had shared with me. She had handed me a flier, and wondered if I would be interested in a training program she had taken. It was for spiritually-oriented psychology modality called Psychosynthesis.
The name Psychosynthesis puzzled me, but it appeared to offer something very unusual and unique: a secular framework for exploring my most deeply spiritual Self. The flier invited me to know myself, to find my purpose, to realize and respond to my inner Call. My heart leapt with an inner "Yes!" at the time, but the training was only offered every other year, and it didn't occur to me to seek out Psychosynthesis coaching in the meantime! so I found myself in limbo. Now, with this feeling of growing desperation to respond to this unknown part of myself which was aching to be seen, I was beyond ready. I began counting down the days!
I took that training, and it was everything I needed it to be. It changed my life. It did so by offering me a space for a particular kind of reflection ("What do you REALLY want?..."), and a safe space to be witnessed and affirmed as I sought my own answers. It brought that neglected and dusty part of my soul, out into the light, that it could be seen and validated. It brought me something sacred: Me.
In my first meeting with my teacher (which I could also describe as my first Psychosynthesis coaching session), she gave me some powerful insight from the Psychosynthesis vantage point. I’d been beating myself up about not being able to find and stick to a single passion, and instead of helping me to decide between them, or to dismiss them all in favor of this new one, as I expected her to, she showed me that each of my passions was real and true in its own right and that they were not so unrelated as they seemed to me to be. She pointed out that each of these interests had precisely one thing in common: Me. They were all representative of qualities that I genuinely valued and felt drawn toward, and they all served me in allowing me a sense of connection to those qualities within myself. Together they reflected aspects of the greater me that I now think of as my higher Self. I realized, with relief, that I had already been doing my Work, just by responding to each of these passions—and that this was no small thing. I felt relieved and immensely grateful.
That feeling of relief and immense gratitude was one I came to know well, as I continued the work. It brought me increasingly more clarity and perspective, greater ease in my life, and a physical experience of feeling more relaxed and at ease in my body.
It also—blessedly!—gave me my long-sought sense of Purpose! For, Psychosynthesis is precisely that thing which feels big enough, and meaningful enough to me, to call my Work: I am now a practicing Psychosynthesis-trained counselor, coach, and teacher. Through this framework, I have the great privilege of helping people to navigate their own unique path toward Self realization and actualization.
The training program, the one I took, the one that changed everything for me, still exists and is still changing lives. Like my friend who handed me that flier, I'd like to pass it along, to those of you who may be interested. The live, BCC accredited coach training program in New England is at the Synthesis Northeast institute, and other offerings and resources, including remote trainings, are still being offered through the Synthesis Center. While I have been focussing my own training efforts within the Psychosynthesis graduate community this year, I expect to have offerings for the untrained public going forward. If you’d like to hear of them, you can add your name to my email list, here.
I sometimes wonder how that challenging time in my life would have gone, had someone shown me early on the value and importance of taking the time, not just for inner reflection (which I did plenty of), but for the sort of held reflection that such a training or coaching relationship offers. These parts of ourselves that we are still discovering in our adulthood are precisely the parts of ourselves that our parents and our culture have difficulty witnessing and supporting for us. Where can we go to experience support, permission and celebration of our spiritual growth? Where can we go to nurture the tender bud of our longing, as it seeks to bloom us into the person that only we can know ourselves to be?
That answer is unique to each of us of course, but my office, and a good Psychosynthesis training program are two powerful places to start. 🌹
Bright Blessings to you on your own journey, wherever it calls you,