Free Chapter, The Way Ahead
Agent of Inspiration

The more I thought about my recent journey through the arts and consciousness, the more I came to know that the journey would be ongoing—that the way ahead would be one with the place I had come from. I had been, and would strive to remain, an agent of inspiration for others.

After the first performance of Emerging, several audience members commented that they were moved and inspired by the presentation of my personal story about going through the initiation process at the college and what I was learning as a result. One 19-year-old audience member said that my story encouraged him to look at all the ways he was stopping himself by being too critical of himself. A woman in her 40s said, “It made me realize that I am not too old to start all over again in another career if I wanted to.” Similarly, many people watching me go through the program reported being inspired by my mere presence and participation in the studies. Several of the students, for instance, would tell me that they would want to be like me when they reach my age—that is, still doing new things and having the courage to learn and change.

Others were inspired by the amount of work that I did as a student, particularly considering the fact that I also continued to run my business and keep my priorities as a singleparent mother devoted to her young daughter. An example of this occurred one day when several students had failed to do their homework for a singing class. During break, one of the students who had not done her homework said, “You know, there is just no excuse for it. If Duanita can finish hers with everything else that she has to do in her life, surely I can finish mine.” Toward the end of the program, one of the teachers said to me, “You know, in all the while I have been teaching you, I can say with certainty that never have you come to class unprepared. You are a great role model for everyone.”

My 11-year-old daughter’s observation that I was my classmate’s “Guardian Angel” also attests to the inspirational role I played, simply by participating in this study. She made this comment to me on the ride home from my performance of Emerging. She had been watching my interactions with my classmates throughout the evening very carefully, without my awareness. She had seen one fellow student come up to me for support because her boyfriend just broke up with her, another fellow student come up to me for encouragement because her family had failed to show up for the performance, and others come up to me for peer support before going on. When I began to question what on earth I was doing in the program, questioning whether I had made a mistake, my daughter began recounting what she had seen that evening and told me that I was there because I was a Guardian Angel for the other students, showing them that it could be done, and convincing them that they could do it. Her words impacted me deeply.

I began to watch my daughter’s reactions to my initiation experience and realized that the mere fact of my going through the program was affecting our relationship in a positive transformational way. For example, she got to see me in a different role from the usual “Mother.” She saw me as a student—and as a student at 45 years of age. I still wonder what impact her memories of this time will have when she reaches this age. I do know how thrilled she was to meet all my fellow classmates. I am an introverted person who has about five really close friends, most of whom live in other countries. My daughter, as a result, rarely sees me with my friends. She commented on this dimension of my experience throughout and, every night before bedtime, she would want to hear stories of how each of my classmates was doing.

These daily bedtime stories are very important to mention because, as a therapist, I was never free to tell her, or anyone else, the actual details of what I did every day. As a student, I was no longer bound by confidentiality to the same extent. I began to share my life with her in a whole new way. She could now get to know my world, the characters in it, and me. As a result, our relationship changed and deepened, especially in my ability to laugh, joke around, and be silly with her.

My daughter connected to my classmates and to several of my teachers. She was excited to get autographs from them after performances. She was inspired to get them Christmas and graduation presents and cards. She also ensured that she had their contact information and continues email and MSN contact with them to this day, independent of me.

I regard these actions as indicators of the excitement and inspiration she felt as a result of my journey. Recently at her school they were asked to look at career choices and she began searching the area of fine arts. Though she is naturally inclined in this way, I found myself wondering what kind of effect her experience with the people in my program, and watching me go through the program, might have on her future career decisions.

During and after my immersion, I used what I had learned to inspire my clients and students. For example, in several courses, I have made the “Co-Create Your Day” an assignment and observed several students experience life transformations. One man learned how to follow synchronistic happenings, and these events buoyed him up through a period when he had given up on a dream of his. He had applied for a scholarship for some study travel and had been placed as an alternative scholar who would go if the winner was in some way unable to. The synchronicities allowed him to remain hopeful and to continue to do his work “as if” he had won the award. Several days before the award winner was to leave, my student was called. The formal winner was unable to make the journey and my student was asked to take his place. My student’s dream came true.

I have seen many other clients educate themselves and begin applying such methods as the Co-Creating Your Day Journaling process. I have watched their perspectives shift, their quality of life improve, their faith and hope restored. A husband who wanted to leave his wife began practicing extending love to her and, as a result, found a renewed interest in staying. I have seen it help people as they moved through a transitional phase in life, through divorce or career change. I have seen it lift people out of depressed places to a place of hope—in particular, clients who asked for, and then received, big “signs” that left them with no doubt that they were having an impact at a subatomic level.

Embracing the Sacred, Partnering with Spirit

In the beginning I set forth on my journey with the assumption that all things are sacred. And I resolved to embrace the Sacred by partnering with Spirit at every step of the way.

To inspire others to a reality based on love, kindness, harmony, and a realization of the sacredness and interconnectedness of all, I had to deeply know that place and live from it. First of all, in order to help facilitate the shift in worldview at this point in history, I needed to learn the language of Spirit. I had never even thought about the language of Spirit as an area of study when I began this book. From my perspective now, I really believe that it is crucial to the shift to a spiritual worldview to know how to communicate with a consciousness that is abstract, beyond human form, and beyond human language. By asking Spirit to communicate with me on a daily basis, I began to know the ways in which this happens. In order for me to recognize when Spirit was honoring my request and communicating with me, I had to learn to pay more attention to such higher faculties as intuition, telepathy, and psychic awareness. Then, even more importantly, I had to learn to trust them. I had to learn to trust my experiences that often were out of step with what I had learned were the laws of the world.

My most powerful lesson was learning how to listen to messages from Spirit when they came through my intuition and/or my body. Though I always seemed to recognize these as messages from Spirit, it often took a powerful lesson to help me trust these messages when they came. In the end, because I learned to embrace the realm of the intuitive, I was able at last to break free from the unhealthy relationship that had kept me down for too long. I tell the story as Creative Inspiration VIII, “Trusting Horse Sense.”

It was easier for me to see and trust messages from Spirit that came through animals. In these cases, however, the meaning of the message was often difficult to decipher. I have recorded one of the most powerful experiences of this kind that occurred just after I had graduated from the fine arts program. You can read about it in its entirety in Creative Inspiration IX, “Signs.”

Because I had worked with my dreams for 20 years, I was also comfortable with this method of communication with Spirit. Just as with so many of Spirit’s messages, however, I often was required to simply live with knowing that Spirit was communicating with me via my dreams and that I was unable to fully understand.

Synchronicities were often the easiest way for me to spot a communication from the Universe. I have learned to pay attention and follow them because when I do, inevitably I am led in a direction of value. So, for example, I was “led” to many of the books and resources I studied during the course of writing this book. Sometimes they would fall off a shelf when I was in a bookstore, or a book would be given to me, and/or several people in succession would recommend that I look at something. Following the lead of these occurrences always gave me the feeling that I was “on track.”

It is this feeling of deep purpose that has been the best part of partnering with Spirit. Whenever I received a message from Spirit, no matter the form, no matter even whether I understood it or not, it was like undeniable confirmation of the larger, responsive, conscious Universe that I lived in. After such a message, there was no question about the reality of oneness or interconnectedness. There were no longer principles of a worldview I believed to be true—but principles of a worldview I knew to be true—unshakably true. And it did not matter whether anyone believed me or not. I knew. Without actually partnering with Spirit and experiencing this knowing, I would have remained at the level of only believing.

Whether through signs, synchronicities, or intuitive answers to my questions, my faith was always enriched after I experienced Spirit in these ways. And inevitably, there was an increase in my energy level. As I received the messages from Spirit, I was “inspired,” filled with Spirit. This energy kept me going when I felt lost or when I had a lot of work to do. It kept me connected to, and interested in, writing this book. This energy buoyed me up when I was discouraged and kept me going when I was tired. It greatly assisted me in deepening my appreciation for the value of studying shifts in consciousness via the arts. With each message from the Universe, or Spirit, I desired all the more to learn how to communicate more effectively and pass on the knowledge to others.

The language of Spirit is important to begin showing to the world via films, television, and stage plays. By seeing examples of this language, people may in their own lives become aware of how Spirit is communicating with them. In Emerging I told the audience how I had followed a dream and synchronicities to lead me to study in the area of acting. During class many months later, one of my classmates quipped that he wished he would have a dream like me that would just show him the way. His interest had obviously been caught and, even months later, he was still expressing this wish. And such expression is one of the first steps in turning a desire into actual experience.

I next needed to cultivate flexibility and the ability to surrender. After receiving a message from Spirit, I needed to follow the lead given—even if I did not understand it. Sometimes this would be a very small thing, like a little voice telling me to turn a corner while driving. I often found myself resisting following these nudges from Spirit, talking myself out of doing as I was asked, giving all kinds of reasons why I did not need to. As time went on, though, I learned to surrender more and more to the intention of Spirit—however imperfect my understanding of it might be. When I do so, things often go in ways I would never have planned.

For example, as I was writing this book one night just before bedtime, I mulled over the question, “How has partnering with Spirit made a difference in what I learned on my journey?” I woke up at 3:00 a.m. filled with energy, so I decided to begin writing. It was a Sunday, a day that I usually reserve for family only, no work. A client that week had reminded me that it was actually one of the Ten Commandments to keep one day during the week for rest. But I felt like I wanted to write and went to work on my Morning Pages. I was just about to write this section of the book when my daughter came to me with a disturbing dream. “I had a bad dream, Mama. It doesn’t seem like a bad dream but it really was. I dreamt that you had to work from 5 in the morning until 11 at night and that we couldn’t go to my singing or dancing today. It was awful.”

Her dream stopped me in my tracks. It seemed a clear message from Spirit, reminding me to keep my family a priority over my career and to ensure that I kept at least one day a week sacred, a day where no work is done. If I had sunk into my writing, I would have been preoccupied for the duration of the day, not really present during my daughter’s singing and dancing. Even if I had attended in person, my mind would have failed to be present. I quickly chose to change my plan to write through the night and went to lie down with my daughter, grateful that Spirit was able to clearly and effectively realign me with one of my original intentions: “family always comes before career.”

My willingness to alter plans, listen, and surrender to Spirit came from being continually faced with choices to follow Spirit’s bidding or not. Though I could easily say that I would follow Spirit’s intentions, it was quite a different thing to actually have to do it—to make the choices and take the actions that sometimes were so opposite to what I was inclined to do. This surrendering and following is rather like my experience as a dancing partner in Argentine tango. In order to follow when I dance, I must feel the lead and then choose to surrender and respond to it. The degree to which I can do it, and we can move as one, depends on how much I trust my partner. This is exactly the same with Spirit. The more we communicate and the more I trust, the easier it is to follow, sometimes even with my eyes closed. And sometimes, just as in dance, we align so completely that I have the experience of being one with Spirit. It is in such moments that a door opens to an experience beyond words—an experience that could never have happened to me if I had failed to partner with Spirit. Partnering with Spirit has allowed me to gain knowledge of realities at very high levels of consciousness.

Partnering with Spirit also acted as a mirror for me personally, showing me areas of myself that needed to be aligned with higher vibrational energies. This was very painful for me, because it required that I take personal responsibility for everything I disliked in my reality, find these very qualities in myself, and make some changes. For example, one personal area that required attention was my tendency to judge others and to get angry quickly. I look back over the class dynamics during the immersion, and I shudder at the way I behaved and the inner monologue that went on inside me. I was in the grips of an internal struggle between judgment, criticism, and negativity on one side and loving, acceptance, praise, and positivity on the other.

It was an opportunity for these qualities in myself to be brought to light and for me to work with thought-stopping in order to move to more positive levels. I certainly have never felt that I mastered all of these personal challenges that Spirit revealed for me; however, I do feel that I did the very best that I could with what I knew at the time. This knowledge of my areas of personal weakness and the tremendous effort and commitment it takes to shift them could only have been gained by partnering with Spirit in a reflective way. Such knowledge makes a difference in my ability to be an effective agent of inspiration, and it gives me empathy with the conflicts other people might go through when they choose to lift some of their lower energies above the level of integrity.

There was an especially marvelous effect of partnering with Spirit. While my journey of transformation required total involvement—with serious time and energy commitments on both personal and professional levels—I felt so free. My journey was an adventure, each moment leading to another. I could not wait to see what would happen next.

Partnering with Spirit has brought meaning and change into my life. I know that what I write of and the transformations that occurred are true. I may never know whether or not I was actually working with consciousness. I may never know whether these same changes might have happened anyway for me as a result of other factors. Yet I have a deep knowing that my story as I relate it is true and transformative for me, and for others. It is this truth that gives it validity for me.

I have been changed. I have seen others change. I wonder about the changes yet to come through the stories I created in class and those I have recounted here. Now, you see, all that has happened came about because I made my journey in partnership with Spirit. As the partnership continues, I wonder what stories I have yet to tell with my newly acquired acting skills and my knowledge of the creative arenas of film, television, and stage. And what transformations are yet to manifest?

I became—and am still becoming—the change that I wish to see in the world. This is where I came from and the way that lies ahead. This is oneness—this is truth. This is embracing the Sacred.

Just Have Faith

Albert Einstein once remarked that he would prefer to think of a concrete universe—a choice that left his work calibrating on the upper edge of reason, never making the leap of faith into the higher realms. I can only look forward to the day when the great ones among us more readily make the leap of faith necessary to attain the levels of spirituality. We do not have to keep taking centuries to validate scientifically what is already apparent through other ways of knowing.

As I complete this book, I am reminded of words my mother often spoke to me. My mother is a woman who spent her life devoted to her family. She has a quiet wisdom that comes from being a woman of strong faith. She never had the opportunity to have much formal education after high school. Though she is tremendously proud of my academic achievements, she often hesitates to ask me about what I am doing and it is rarely part of our conversations.

One day, however, I had just arrived home from attending a conference where some of the consciousness leaders of our time were speaking. My mom had flown out to our home to take care of my daughter for me. As we were sitting on the couch, she asked me, “So what exactly was this conference about?” Her question surprised me and I took a moment to answer in a way she could fully understand. “Well,” I responded, “really what it was about is people giving scientific evidence that prayer works, that angels exist, and that God is real.” I was excited to be able to share and eagerly awaited her response, hoping to be able to tell her all the exciting information I had just learned.

“Well,” she said, “I don’t understand why they don’t just have faith. Why do they need to prove these things?”

Her question stopped me in my tracks. I began to laugh—at myself. I realized that my mother had devoted her life to training me when I was a child in the art of having faith, a lesson that she had taught me well, because I still hold the faith of my childhood in my heart. I was also, however, the type of person who needed to understand with my head.

I’d had questions, and I had searched the world for teachers and read the words in books, looking for the answers. The irony was that, after actually finding the information that could confirm my beliefs, I had come full circle to find myself back at the beginning, at my roots. I realized that throughout my lifelong search for answers, for information—for “proof”—I had actually held the key all along. It was in the form of the gift my mother had given me as a child—the gift to “just have faith.”

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