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Spiritual growth comes from embracing the paradox that we are all the same and we are all unique.
Both aspects are essential, yet in some spiritual circles, there’s more emphasis on “oneness”—dissolving the ego and uniting with the divine. That is, in essence, the path of yoga and many spiritual traditions.
When all we seek is unity, we don’t encounter the other side of the coin—what depth psychologist, Bill Plotkin calls, “the descent toward Soul.” It’s by doing challenging soul-work, going to the depths of our Self and psyche, that we uncover our purpose and unique gifts.
While spiritual ascent is no tea party, it takes greater courage to descend into the underworld of the soul, to unearth the gifts (and demons) that live there. It’s in this direction we face our shadows and come to terms with our addictions, limitations, shame, and self-doubt.
Finding our gifts is a messy, windy process. A principle to keep in mind along the way is that:
Our gifts develop as the byproduct of a courageous and purposeful life.
The question then becomes: are we actively working to grow ourselves and rid the demons of shame and self-doubt so that we may share our gifts?
I believe we all have gifts—a unique genius to bring forth. I speak of genius in its original definition: “attendant spirit present from one’s birth, innate ability, or inclination.” We all possess an innate ability our spirit is yearning to express.
How do we know what our gifts are?
As I said, it’s an unfolding, not so much a finding. The courage to uncover our gifts is what lets the genius through. In thinking of how I stumbled upon my gifts, I want to share some qualities to look for to help you stumble upon yours. We’ll use the acronym G.I.F.T to guide us: Gratitude, Inspiration, Freedom, Transformation.
You know something is a gift when you feel grateful for the opportunity to give it. Writing this post, I feel so grateful for the opportunity to engage with you. I feel the same thing every time I sit in front of a microphone or lead a meditation. It is a privilege to do this work, and the reverence I have for it is fulfilling in itself.
Our gifts are inspired, which means in-spirit. It is “ours,” yet we feel at times that we are stewards of another realm, chosen to birth something into existence. It is a gift to us as much as we make it one to others. Some people call this inspiration, “the muse.” However you relate to it, it comes to us, to work through us in a way that connects us to others, and supports them in their journey. When we let inspiration work through, we get a sense that we are playing our role in the cosmos.
Our gifts free us from a mundane level of existence. They offer freedom of expression and freedom of living. When something is our gift, the universe will support it. Maybe not at first, but if you keep working at it you will find your way, and that way will reap rewards, spiritually and financially. Yet, you won’t do it just for the money. Free also means that your gift is something which you’d happily give away for the joy that it brings you. I created meditations on Insight Timer for years, with no thought of getting money in return because I got something so much greater than money—meaning.
Our gift transforms us because it forces us to grow in our self-belief and skills. We have to conquer our demons of insecurity and go through the struggle of learning a craft. We make investments in ourselves and work to embody self-worth. Through that process, we become someone new, capable of things we wouldn’t think possible only a short time ago. By transforming ourselves and sharing our gifts, we transform the world.
As Marianne Williamson famously said, “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.”
If you’re struggling to find your purpose, good—that means you’re on the right path. In the Bhagavad Gita, it says “It’s better to follow your own path imperfectly than to follow someone else’s perfectly.” Keep making mistakes. Keep learning, keep trying new things, keep putting yourself out there. The energy you give will come back tenfold.
It took four years of “figuring it out” until I could make a living sharing my gifts. It’s worth every moment.
I’ll end by sharing an excerpt from my poem, “Belief Is A Dream”
“We need your gifts, we need your aliveness.
The time is now, don’t pass by this.
If you try this, you’ll see your life creates ripples.
Your beingness transforms the world, it’s really that simple.”
Wishing you continued support on your journey.