01 January 2015

7 life lessons to guide 2015

Today I’m taking in the New Year at the world’s best coffee house—seriously. I’ve tasted a lot of coffee all over the world and Archetype in Omaha is doing it perfectly. LOVE this place and the guys who run it, Isaiah and Daniel. There’s such a good vibe here–peace, openness, acceptance, excellence and hospitality. And I always run into such good people here. Just now, no kidding, a young female patron who I generally only see here, stopped by to exchange some love-filled words and offered to clear my cappuccino cup and saucer and pastry dish and bring me a glass of water. What? Seriously? People are this selfless and kind? Yes. Being at Archetype always reminds me of the essential goodness of people.

It’s important to pay attention to the people who and the spaces that resound your own goodness. In 2015, more of what brings out my best self; less of what diminishes her.

I can’t think of a better way to start the new year than here at Archetype with you–a sort of virtual coffee date :).

1. Goodness certainly attracts goodness.

Life has never been better for Chris and me. The past seven years were some of the hardest. Yep. Seven tough years.

Little did I know then, that through all that soul excavation and circumstantial and relational challenge that space was being carved out within me and in my life and relationships for more fullness of what life has to offer. When life gets super tough. Hang on. Have faith.

And the results of that inner work will be better than you could ever imagine.

2. A work you didn’t ask for but need is being done in you.
Two years ago Chris and I made it through a MAJOR life transition, leaving the international community, mission and work that we co-led for nearly 20 years, of which we love so much and gave the best years of our young adult life to, and started Gravity. It’s been amazing. It required A LOT of faith. We took huge risks and so it was by far not easy, and yet, we’ve never felt more led by Spirit, causing us to deepen our faith and trust.
3. Risk + Faith = Fulfillment

Now, Chris and I often look at each other and say, “I love our new life.”

Our days are marked with so much freedom, joy, peace and gratitude. It’s truly remarkable. I mean we’ve always had a great life, but somehow we are experiencing the goodness of life so much more than ever.

#mylifeissohappy That’s how I feel every day. Sure there are challenges and hard times, but underneath the varied circumstances of life is a deepening rootedness in God’s all-surpassing Goodness and Love and divine purpose in everything.

My heart is bursting with gratitude at the simplest of things–good coffee, warm sunshine, carefree birds, radiant friends.

4. Happiness is not circumstantial but a soul root that connects to the Ground of Being. 
In December I completed my MA in Christian Spirituality at Creighton University and certification in the Ignatian contemplative-evocative method of spiritual direction. The hooding ceremony was quite meaningful and going back to school at this age has been very rewarding. My studies have naturally aligned with the birth of Gravity and there’s no way I could have orchestrated or mapped out all of the turn of events of the past three years. The Omniscient One knows best how to navigate our path. When I started the MA program, I figured it would just enhance the work I was currently doing with the international non-profit I was a part of. I could have never conceptualized how it would lay the groundwork for a new thing and deepen my vocation.
5. Be receptive to the intuitive vibrations calling you to new things; you never know the doors that are opening for you if you will but take the first step.
Spiritual direction has become a surprisingly fulfilling part of my work, as has teaching yoga  After I published Pilgrimage of a Soul, in 2010 I used the very very small advance on the book to go away for a 16-day yoga training. My intention was to just deepen my practice and rest after the writing of Pilgrimage. When I did my final teach-out, my teacher’s feedback was, “Are you planning to teach? Because you really should.” I had no idea at the time how I would incorporate teaching yoga into my–at the time–very full life. Now, much of my work involves introducing Christians to the gift of yoga and guiding their practice at contemplative retreats that I give. I love it more than anything. Who knew?
6. Pay attention to the practices and actions that give you life, oftentimes those hold the secret to your most relevant gifts to the world.
And so, that undergrad degree in Education that I achieved so long ago is coming in handy more and more…finally…much of my work now is teaching. Teaching yoga, yes, but offering that within the framework of  teaching about the Christian contemplative tradition (which basically is about spiritual formation, the ongoing process of transformation or sanctification). I do this through writing, public speaking at universities, churches, communities, etc. and giving contemplative retreats. Sometimes I’m just shocked at how my life has unfolded, speaking at places like Q, Catalyst, Asbury University and Seminary, Taylor University, Biola University, etc. This fall I was invited to speak to a group at Willow Creek…truly humbling and a total delight.
7. It takes time to grow into your purpose and calling. Be patient with yourself.

In Chris and my work with Gravity we’re getting requests to teach for churches, missional communities and non-profits all over the world. We just finalized some work in Cape Town and Johannesburg this summer, Cambodia (for a second time) and getting requests for New Zealand, Australia, etc. So, 2015 looks to be a pretty amazing year. We’re hoping our work will continue to take us back to India–the land where it all sort of began for us, and a place and people who are so very dear to us.

Beyond our work–which occupies the majority of our time–we have an incredible community of friends here in Omaha and literally across the globe–friends, and family, and friends who are like family, of whom I am so very very grateful.

Years ago at university when I was contemplating God’s call on my life, as I anticipated the proverbial cross and the personal costs, a mentor gave me the verse, a promise really, that

“Whoever leaves mother, father, sisters, brothers, for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and inherit eternal life” (Mark 10:29).

That promise is the gift that keeps on giving. I feel like the richest woman in the world. (ahh…big breath)

I just can’t give thanks enough for the life I’ve been given.

And so if you’ve made it this far in the blog post, thanks for letting me reflect with you. I didn’t plan this for today, but as it turns out it was the perfect way to start the New Year.



*photo credit :: Archetype Coffee

4 Responses

  1. Pingback : » 7 life lessons to guide 2015

  2. jessica

    I read your post right before an evening of new year goal mapping and so encouraged by these ‘life lessons’! I could probably spend most of 2015 contemplating “happiness is not circumstantial but a soul root that connects to the Ground of Being.” It’s encouraging to remember that happiness is an intentional action that can be (should be!) cultivated in all aspects of our lives; body, wellness, relationships, spirituality….