I sat at my office desk for the 247th straight day, doing the exact same thing…tapping my fingers and staring out the window, wondering. Wondering what it was that was missing. From an external point of view, my life probably looked perfect. Good job, great company to work for in the Corporate world, and some of the best co-workers. Even the pay was good. Fantastic family of 3 kiddos, a supportive and compassionate husband. A great house…all the things, all the material things…
Oftentimes I like to explain it as being in a birdcage. It’s a very posh birdcage, but a birdcage, nonetheless. I was living a very comfortable and content life. I was even continuing to grow and evolve, and show up for things that mattered. But, Spirit was calling me to do more.
One day the door of the birdcage was opened, and I was able to see outside of my normal tunnel vision. Realizing that there was a whole world outside that birdcage shocked me as I made my way to the door and peered out. Viewing the world through a different lens showed me there was so much more out there beyond the birdcage!
Teetering on my toes near the edge of the cage for a long time helped me realize so much about myself that had long been hidden. Knowledge that my Soul, that Spirit was guiding me to a space more aligned with my passions, with my calling, with my footprint on this world. It wasn't that I didn't like what I was doing, for I truly did. In fact, I enjoyed my work setting quite a bit. But, God was guiding me to put down what was Good so that I could find and pick up that which is Best.
So on day 248, I courageously moved one toe over the edge, then another, until….. there was nothing left to do but Jump! And trust in my Faith! I love thinking back to this part of my journey, though this isn't where my journey really started, and it isn't even where it ends.
Spirit speaks to me every day and in many different ways. It rejoices when I am able to tune in and listen to the messages my ears are hearing. And, I actually see the messages in front of my very eyes.
Reflecting back, I recall a turning point in my life. About 10 years ago, I was feeling so completely broken, stuck and defeated. I was trying to find my answer at the bottom of a bottle, a pill bottle, liquor bottle, or even a cookie bag. I had created this vicious cycle of self-sabotaging behavior. Trying to numb out the niggle, the nudge from Spirit, that I felt within.
I suspect many of you are able to relate to that which I am sharing. Maybe you can even empathize with those sneaky, subconscious, self-sabotaging behaviors and thoughts. I was at a point on my own journey that these behaviors and thoughts became show-stoppers to my Spiritual growth. Heck, I can't even say that I was truly 'living.' It seemed I had become just a shell of myself. In reality, the only expansion occurring was the size of my pants due to all the self-sabotaging, destructive behavior.
My mind was running full-steam ahead All. The. Time. And it was not giving the rest of me a chance to show up or catch up. Not letting the Soul connection come to me, through me, and from me. You see, my brain and mind are definitely great tools for ME, but they are meant to be utilized in conjunction with body-mind-spirit. Holy Spirit.
My life has changed so much since this intention of looking inward. Since connecting with my Soul. It's more about the feeling of being complete, of being enough, of being the Light. Not just seeing the Light, but actually Being the Light. And, I have come to realize that I have the Light of Christ, and the power of Spirit:
Coming to Me.
Sweeping through Me.
Flowing from Me.
Permeating within Me.
To experience the indwelling of Spirit, I have realized, is certainly not all rainbows and unicorns. All hunky dorey, and it isn't meant to be. Life has hard times. Life has painful times. Everyone here on Earth is in this Human Club together, and I wonder if you can relate my struggles to your own?
As I embraced my Soul, and came to know this beautiful part of myself, I knew. I just knew that I had found that niggle, that nudge. That beautiful, serene, peaceful and grounded place where Spirit resides within me.
As I started embracing, and living more through, this part of myself, and the fulfillment it brought me, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! I wanted to share it with everyone, especially other strong women working in Corporate America. You see, I was surrounded by many women just like me. Sure, these women had their own paths and experiences. But they also had so many similarities of trying to succeed in their careers, oftentimes while raising a family and having a partner. So often, for me and for women in this stage, we are so wrapped up in all the things that SHOULD get done, that we forget:
Who we are
Why we are here
What we are meant to do
How to balance home and career
There was longing in me to change that! I wanted all of us to remember who we were. To see our potential, our gifts, our Light…and to Shine the light…bright! Spirit within me was beckoning me to reach beyond myself. Was reminded of the wisdom spoken in the Gospels of Matthew and John that says, 'We are the Light of the World…Let Your Light Shine before Others...I am the light of the world…”' (Matthew 5: 14-16, John 8:12-13)
In seeking to share Christ’s Light, I had to REPEATEDLY tell my ego (and my fear) to get in the back seat, sit down, and shut up. More like 27…thousand…times. For sure I didn't have all of my 'ducks in a row' in my life. I had this fear, this pee in my pants fear, that someone was going to call my bluff. Would point to me and say I wasn't perfect. They were going to see that it wasn't ducks in a row that I had…but instead, squirrels. And these squirrels were having a rave!
Over the next several years, I did a lot of peeling back the layers of my being in order to discover more about who I really was. Or maybe, said differently, who I really wasn't. I began to register the stories and limiting beliefs that I had created inside my head (most of the time sub-consciously, without ever being aware).
I sometimes found myself wanting the pathways to be in the direction of always moving 'forward.’ Yet, as I peeled back the layers of self-discovery, the path was certainly anything but that. I quickly learned that this journey often felt like it was going backward. Time was spent working through points of my pain, of my fears. Just when I would thought I had mastered them and moved on, fear and pain would resurface when I least expected them. I came to realize these beautiful, broken pieces are indeed still part of this miraculous journey. That there is no forward or backward, only the experience of truly living.
In this time of self-reflection, I recognized my passion for teaching and mentoring, as well. I began taking note of all the times I put my hand up to help mentor and coach in the workplace, formally or informally. I thrived on these experiences. Opening myself up to amazing possibilities that Spirit had waiting for me was fulfilling in a way it had not been before.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
Getting to this point has not been a straight path. To be clear, it has not always even been moving forward. It does, however, feel like freedom from the Birdcage of my life that I had thought was so good.
So, what are all the cages you have put yourself in? In what ways are you holding yourself back? Making yourself small, so as to not be noticed by others? How might you be refraining from Shining your brightest Light? Not living to your truest potential? It is Christ who describes us best as, ‘Lights of the World.’ How will you Shine Your Light so that others may see it?
I pray, Lord, that You will help me see the Light that is held within me and others. Help me feel the infinite glory and connection with You, Christ, and the Spirit within me. Help me recognize my innermost potential, that I may fly free from any cages preventing me from Shining Your Light to its fullest. Help me to always know that I never walk this path alone because YOU are always near to me. Let the Spirit Light my way. Amen.
ABOUT AMY PERRY
I am currently on faculty at Coe College where I am a Professor in our Business department. I am honored to also teach Life Purpose and Vocation seminars. I serve as a Changemaker and Chain-Breaker to the Coe Community, at large.
Prior to my work at Coe, I worked in Corporate America for 14 years, after getting my Bachelor's and Master's Degrees of Accountancy at the University of Iowa. I am continuously striving to balance the fine line of a successful career woman, wife, mom, and good human.
In the midst of this exciting journey, I decided to share my insights, experiences, and self-proclaimed humorous stories. Seeking to empower others to Rise up on their own journeys, I created Shine Your Light. This company's mission is to guide us to Rise up to our Highest potential and Shine our Brilliance into the World. Within this company, I moonlight as an Empowerment Consultant and Coach speaking at workshops, retreats, and businesses. Check out my website: www.shineyourlight.me