Rose is one of my Pathfinding clients. I’m sharing this conversation with her permission, under an alias and paraphrased, with the hope that you need to hear this, too.
Rose: “I feel lost. I feel adrift. I pray and I pray and I listen and I listen, and I follow my heart, and then everything turns to shit. I must be doing something wrong. I must not be listening well enough. What am I doing wrong?”
Pace: “It sounds like you’re feeling really frustrated and afraid. That’s really hard.”
Rose: “Yes. It’s really hard. I’m frustrated that I haven’t figured this out yet, and I’m afraid I’m going to feel like this forever.”
Pace: “I hear you. That’s really scary. So do you feel that you ought to have figured this out by now?”
Rose: “Yes! I’ve been on this spiritual path for fifteen years, I’ve been practicing listening to my heart and following my heart for the past five years, and I’m absolute rubbish at it! Absolute rubbish. I can’t follow my heart out of a paper bag. What do I have to show for all this time and effort on my path? I feel like I need Spirituality 101 for Total Newbies Who Can’t Follow Their Heart Out of a Paper Bag. Like I need to be sent back a grade, because I obviously haven’t learned anything.”
Pace: “Can you say more about where you feel like you’re supposed to be on your spiritual path?”
Rose: “Yeah, I started out doing all these practices. Grounding and centering, lighting candles, Remembrance, prayer, that sort of thing. I practiced that for a long time, and then I learned that what’s really important is my heart. So now I hold Spirit in my heart in all things, so I don’t need all the same trappings I used to. I just see the world through Spirit-tinted glasses.”
Pace: “So it’s like you graduated from needing all those things, and now you’re more advanced on your spiritual path?”
Rose: “Yeah, pretty much. But I must have missed something because now I’m feeling disconnected, lost, and angry at Spirit.”
Pace: “Right. Let’s explore and see if we can find what you missed. But first, may I ask you about your friend Jenn? I swear it’s related.”
Rose: “What? Sure, I guess.”
Pace: “How long have you and Jenn been friends?”
Rose: “Over ten years… twelve, I think.”
Pace: “When you were getting to know each other, when you were starting to become friends, what sorts of things did you do?”
Rose: “We talked on the phone a lot. We met up and did things together sometimes, too.”
Pace: “How long did it take for your friendship to feel solid and secure?”
Rose: “I guess about three years. After that, I knew she’d be there for me whenever I needed her.”
Pace: “And after three years, did you stop talking to her? Did you stop spending time together?”
Rose: “No! Of course not!”
Pace: “So you didn’t ‘graduate’ to a new level of friendship, where you could just hold Jenn in your heart and leave all the ‘trappings’ of friendship behind?”
Rose: “Oh. I see. I’ve left Spirit behind. I thought I didn’t need those practices anymore. I thought I was so awesome that I didn’t need all that stuff anymore. But I guess I still do, huh?”
Pace: “What do you think?”
Rose: “Yeah. I really do. It’s not like graduating, it’s like building a house. You build the ground floor, then you build the second floor, but you don’t demolish the ground floor or it’ll all fall down. And I think that’s what happened to me.”
Pace: “I think you may be right, Rose. But the good news is all those things you learned haven’t been demolished, they’re just rusty. They’ll come back easily and naturally if you return to the basics.”
Rose: “Return to the basics. Yeah, I guess that’s what I need to do. It sure is humbling.”
Yes, Rose, it sure is. I remember when I thought I had ‘graduated’ to a new level of business, that I had mastered the basics. Then one of my launches flopped, and I had to return to the basics. To return to asking my audience what they’re struggling with instead of assuming that I already know because I’m so awesome at business.
It sure is humbling.
I remember when Michele Lisenbury Christensen, who had been practicing yoga for over a decade, went to visit her family during Thanksgiving. She took a week-long break from her daily yoga practice, and she started snapping at her family members with anger. She felt antsy and on edge, and the sense of inner peace that she had come to take for granted was taken away from her.
It sure is humbling.
These lessons aren’t the kind you can graduate from. These lessons aren’t a line, they’re a spiral.
You never get to graduate from daily practice. You never get to graduate from showing up wholeheartedly. You never get to graduate from humility.
But you do get to make progress.
Rose returned to the basics, and now has a fierce, courageous connection to Spirit that’s stronger than ever.
I returned to the basics, and now have a truer, more authentic connection to my business and my people.
Michele returned to the basics, and dove back into her yoga practice like a fish into water, with none of the resistance she felt when she first began.
Is it time for you to return to the basics?