There are so many self-help companies out there, books, life coaches, spiritual centers, yoga studios, etc. If you are looking for someone to radically touch your soul, I encourage you to be incredibly selective. There is a discernment that, I feel, needs to take place as beautifully there are more and more of these venues popping up. I will use my own company as an example not because I know-it-all but, yeah man, I have been through a lot as of late.
I do teach meditation as my business. I am one of these spiritual people. As I have stated in past articles, I was recently slapped on my bum due to a rare, rare infection complete with two brain surgeries. And to illustrate how intense this was (if brain surgeries don’t do it for you), I was first diagnosed with a 99% assuredness of stage 4 lung cancer. As I have also written, I needed this to happen. Parts were incredibly painful, there were times I felt uggy yucky, it was emotional and trying for everyone including husband/family/friends ~ yet it was amazing, and I am still in it. Part of my eyesight still has blind spots, I go off my heavy antibiotics now in just two months (a year from my last surgery) and am still on anti-seizure medication. All of this from a person who before led a medically unchallenged life.
Right after I left the hospital (a five week stint), I went home ridiculously weakened, complete with an IV, a walker and a weird head of hair. During this same crazy time, my meditation studio was moved from a location five minutes away to a 30-minute expressway drive. Not that I was going to work right away, no-sir-ree-Bob, but normally the commute would be a no big deal... now it was. And where I live, in moving that far I learned ~ it is like starting a new business. I no longer had the drive (literally and figuratively) nor did I have the heart or energy to start building new clientele again. So, through much inner turmoil, I decided to give up my studio and bring everything back home to my basement... where things started a long time ago.
It was a huge change for me as I saw much of my importance and deservedness in having a “real” studio. Now, I can still value myself and my work... everything is still “real,” but my idea of success has altered. For me, being less (or what I thought was less) was like having more. I also realized that I really needed to focus much of my effort on giving back. Without having an outside studio, I no longer had to concern myself with the cost of paying rent, utilities, cleaning or having others work with me where I had to be an office manager/marketer as well as a meditation teacher. I wanted to be unencumbered, even though I loved the peeps I worked with. My teacher said it was time to really walk my talk. I have been spouting off spiritual living for years but a part of me, uggg admittedly, wasn’t doing it completely. I had an incorrect belief for myself about what was important, was working too hard, wasn’t listening to all of my body. And, again, it is hard to admit all this, but at the same time, it is not.
This is a business ~ but it isn't. It is my life, my love, my being. I will no longer be a sales woman for what I do; I will just do the spiritual work in a buttoned-up manner. I will tell folks of workshops and if they want to join or not, up to them. I love my company, but I have also moved past it. It used to be one of my main priorities, it still is, but in a more detached way. I care deeply for my students, but they are no longer my responsibility. I am to be present but not heavily in the mix. I have and continue to gain strong and healthy boundaries, which I can now truly share. I have so much to share, in fact, but I no longer care who listens. Even as I write this article, I am more concerned with just writing it versus who reads it. Weird but neat... freeing, actually.
So with all that, if you are searching for a place/person (or feel that you have found one), here’s what I think is so important:
1. Do the head members of your organization all act in ways that portray the message they are sending? Is everything truthful and outwardly congruent?
2. Are others, if this is a studio or organization, truly kind, non-judgmental, brave, fierce, loving, vulnerable? And not that fake or woohoo vulnerability ~ but the kind that hurts like a mother and sometimes is obnoxiously scary. And yes, I list a lot of adjectives, but each of these attributes is darned important.
3. Does the person or group say that they have all the answers? If they do, I would not only walk but hightail it! In addition, the person who is the head should have a teacher or someone separate that they also work with to keep them in balance.
4. If you did something that society deemed as incorrect, improper or wrong, how might you be accepted by your group/teacher? Would you be ostracized, would there be calm discussion... what action might there be?
5. Do you want to be like this person or group? Think about this one hard as there is can be an outward face that sometimes discovering what is real takes time. Also, don’t knock yourself if you were ingrained in a group that didn’t hold up to your heart, and you had to change your mind. Sometimes this can hurt but, bonus, it can also be a super learning experience.
6. Are they flexible? Do they have strong boundaries but are willing to listen and potentially change their course?
7. Do they teach you to love yourself, which translates into loving others while being compassionate, empathic, strong, authentic and peaceful to all humans? Again, I use many adjectives but believe in them all.
8. Is the leader or individual humble. Not self-defacing... but can laugh at themselves and know they are still learning and growing?
9. And this goes to you, are YOU ready to be open, to listen, to find yourself if someone doesn’t give you all the answers but simply gives you direction? Are YOU ready for everything listed above? Everything IS a two-way street. For change to happen, for your soul to be touched... you must also be willing. Even if some of you feel desperate, take a breath. I can’t tell you how monumental this decision could be.
In summation, be picky as hell about whom you let into the depth of your exquisite life. It is yours. It needs to be guided not inexplicably directed. YOU make the decisions about you. We all desire on some level a person or group who sees us completely with all our imperfections and works with us. And the imperfections aren’t looked past but embraced and used for excellent growth, powerfulness and change. OoOOooo, best of luck!