Last weekend, as I sat down in Starbucks in Pt. Richmond, CA, on came a remake of the Chrissie Hind/Pretenders hit song 2000 Miles…”You’ll be back at Christmas time…Diamonds in the snow sparkle…” Immediately flashed me back to the early 80’s, right around the time of John Lennon’s death…
The Pretenders song woke up old memories…of college, the big expanse of life ahead of me, and really having no clue where I would go or what I would do. Those years were ones of great curiosity, exploration, and lots of experimentation. Just forming my place in the world, trying to find me.
Those were the years, too, I always felt like I was about to burst. I had the pressures of fitting into what people thought I should do. I rebelled. The standard quo was my nemesis. By creating just enough trouble, I found the freedom to be whatever I wanted in the world, not what others thought I should be. At that time, I just didn’t see the path clearly. Not an unusual conundrum for a post-teen waiting for the future to arrive.
Case in point: the last semester in college, we took over the administration building. It was the first non-violent campus-wide protest since the 1960’s. We made national news(!), expressing our outrage because one of our most revered professors had been denied tenure for his political views.
After about a week of sleeping, eating, and communing in the prison’s administration building (and basically bringing the place to a standstill), the Boston riot police rolled on in. I remember standing in my first big circle of several hundred comrades in the quad, singing “we shall overcome” while the cops stood by, rolling their eyes. But I felt part of something important, deeply meaningful. We had stood up for someone – and values — we believed in.
And things have been a bit like that, ever since.
Fast forward: it’s three decades later. Now I sit in circles with prisoners in San Quentin, in a program we launched more than eight years ago to help them reconnect to themselves, their communities and the natural world through the process of organic gardening. I also have a consulting practice, and have been working to build everything I do professionally into our work at the Insight Garden Program. I finally do what I really (truly!) love – facilitating the space, place and conversations for transformation (through nature).
Over the years, transformation has been a thread woven throughout my life. Yes, I’ve been sidetracked a few times (and found myself stretched within the confines of the cubicle world), but here is where I’ve landed. One of my favorite places is in the garden with “the guys.” Living my purpose in the world through my work fulfills me in the deepest way. Transformation is a constant, and the men are living proof of that.
This process of living one’s values has meant morphing together the pieces of my professional and personal life in new ways, resisting the allure to fall back into comfortable safety nets (and cubicles). Only a couple of nights ago, I attended an event featuring Michael Meade (from Mosaic Voices) telling stories from his new book Facing Fate, Finding a Destiny …and found myself smiling from the inside out. In sharing views on fulfilling the soul’s destiny – he suggests people explore the meaning their lives (not just life itself)…and having the courage to live it.
At some point that evening, his words resonated on an almost cellular level. My soul compels me to do my work in this world that I’m “threaded into in a meaningful way.” By manifesting my destiny, and doing it in collaboration with kindred spirits, I am living my life (and fulfilling my soul’s purpose) exactly as it’s supposed to be.
Michael’s words: “The only story we came here to live is our own,” rang louder than they ever have before…“If a person doesn’t risk their destiny, they’ll never know who they are intended to be.”
How are you manifesting your destiny? 😉
A few wonderful resources for soul seekers:
Facing Fate, Finding a Destiny, by Michael Meade
Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity, by David Whyte
The Presence Process, by Michael Brown