7 years ago, 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 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 literally sat on the couch every day, not even interested in watching a TV. I just sat there, having utterly lost hope in finding and realizing my life’s work. (You heard it here first: lack of clarity and purpose can be completely debilitating!)
No longer 30, I had moved beyond that depression; functionally, anyway. In fact, I had an amazing career doing something that brought me joy, was happily married, and even had a healthy, growing family. Yet, as meaningful as so much of my life was, 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 in a year my life would be consumed with the care of him. Intuitively knowing what lay ahead, I felt an urgency, a desperation. I knew that I could easily blink, absorbed in this lovely and consuming role of being Mother, and then realize that 20 years had gone by without my being any closer to knowing this part of myself, and this aspect of the work I had come here to do. And so I was truly at my wits’ end.
Then one day a friend handed me a flier. She wondered if I would be interested in it. It was for a training in a spiritually-oriented psychology modality called Psychosynthesis.
The name puzzled me, but it appeared to offer something very unusual and unique: a secular framework for exploring my most deeply spiritual Self. It invited me to know myself, to find my purpose, to realize and respond to my inner Call.
I felt an inner Yes! And then, somehow hesitatingly, I asked her, “Do you think I should do it?” She replied (appropriately, and wonderfully), “Oh, ONLY if it appeals to you. Do it only if you want to!”
It did appeal to me. I took that training, and it changed my life. It brought that neglected and dusty part of my soul, out shining into the light. It brought me: Me.
In my first meeting with my Psychosynthesis teacher (which I could also describe as my first Psychosynthesis coaching session), my teacher gave me an incredible gift. I’d been beating myself up about not being able to find and stick to a single passion, and instead of helping me decide between them, or dismiss them all in favor of a 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 a reflection of what I was genuinely called toward. They all reflected the greater me that I now think of as my higher Self.
She saw me, I came to realize, as that higher Self, not as any one of these passions I had at times identified so strongly with. She saw me as more than any of them, and as more, even, than my intense longing to know myself through them.
It's hard to describe the relief I felt in being seen in this way. It felt like I was being truly seen for the first time since experiencing this intense calling to do meaningful work in the world. I realized that I had already been doing my Work, just by responding to each of these passions. I felt relieved and immensely grateful.
That feeling of relief and immense gratitude was one I came to know well, as I took that training. 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 their own Self-discovery.
On Sunday, the current teaching staff of the training I took will be hosting an introductory “Day of Psychosynthesis.” (More about the training & intro events here.) It is a chance, for those compelled by this process of greater self-knowing, to dip their toes in, to see what it’s all about. I will not be there this time, although I am working closely with these trainers, both for my own continued personal and professional development and in co-teaching roles on occasion.
If you find yourself longing to attend, I hope you will follow that inner call. If not, I hope you will go do whatever that meaningful thing is that is calling you, instead!
Bright Blessings to you on your journey, wherever it calls you,