Wayfinders, Synchronicity, and Fitting Out
Do you ever read or hear something that punches you directly in the heart? It feels like a big ol’ spotlight was just cast on everything you ever knew (but didn’t know you did).
“Of course that’s Truth,” you think to yourself.
For me, that experience lately has come through words spoken or read that are met with this immediate sense that I already knew that information. That it was already true, it was already part of my being, I was just being reminded.
I experienced this most recently when I came across a passage from Lissa Rankin’s The Anatomy of a Calling. I felt something gut punch me right in the soul hole.
Soul hole, Doni? Really?
I was introduced to Dr. Rankin’s work through IIN, though I swear I must have come across her work before. It’s too familiar. Too obvious. Too resonate-y.
In her lecture titled, “Mind Over Medicine,” she shares a strong sense of the concepts she explains both here and here in the TED collection. I highly recommend spending the 18-30 minutes to listen to these; I have found it to be a key cornerstone for the way I frame the philosophies I’m developing.
Dr. Rankin, in her book The Anatomy of a Calling, references life coach, sociologist, and author Martha Beck who identifies a group of people she calls wayfinders, people in this world who are on their own “hero’s journey” (whether or not they realize it).
She listed a number of qualities that she finds present in these wayfinders, and when I heard it I could’ve sworn she had been spying on my inner workings.
From The Anatomy of a Calling:
Most of us feel a sense of mission involving a major transformation in human experience; a strong sense that whatever that mission is, it’s getting closer in time; a compulsion to master certain skills in preparation for this half-understood personal mission; high levels of empathy; an urgent desire to lessen the suffering of humans, animals, and plants; and a loneliness stemming from a sense of difference, despite being generally social.
According to Martha Beck, other common characteristics include high levels of creativity; an intense love of animals; a difficult, often abusive or traumatic early life; an intense connection to the natural world; resistance to religion accompanied by a strong sense of the spiritual; high levels of emotional sensitivity accompanied by a predilection for anxiety; a sense of connection with particular cultures, languages, or geographic regions; a gregarious personality contrasting with the need for periods of solitude; a persistent or recurring physical illness; and a tendency to dream about healing others.”
There is clear synchronicity in the fact that I am reading (listening to) this particular book right now. Actually, there is so much synchronicity in my life these days that of course I’m reading the exact right things.
I’ve long felt called to something, though I couldn’t figure out what. It’s the thing that led me to yoga teacher training in 2009, to leaving the corporate/advertising world that same year, to getting out of my comfort zone and moving across the country, to playing with the idea of working for myself and working remotely so as to live with a sense of lightness in relation to place.
It’s the thing draws me to the people who do these same things, who are guides and coaches and are wanderlusty and who know they don’t belong in the box like everyone else.
Most (not quite all) of that description fit me and fit where I am right now, but the one piece that resonated the most deeply, was this one:
…a loneliness stemming from a sense of difference, despite being generally social.
Dr. Rosenthal, in one of his opening lectures, addresses the isolation and loneliness that any one person can feel when they set out on an unconventional path. For instance, he shares how he believes that health coaches have the power to shift a transition in the current state of our health system. These aren’t new ideas (like, at all), but they’re not exactly mainstream either.
To shift the focus away from food and fitness and onto the improvement of the rest of our lives (Are you happy in your romantic relationships? Do you love your living space? Do you hate your job?) isn’t exactly what our primary care physicians have been addressing. They may, but it’s been my experience that we discuss our ailments and systems and then we get drugs to make them feel better/go away.
That’s great and all, but what about addressing the underlying issues, like the root of the anxiety or the triggers that set it off?
What is it we’re actually doing when we’re binge-drinking (are we avoiding a problem or are we amplifying successes and celebrations)?
Instead of tricking ourselves out of “bad” food with all of our creative “healthy” substitutes, what instead could our cravings tell us about our deficiencies?
This feels simultaneously so revolutionary and yet, so obvious.
I started thinking about the things that I tend to downplay when I don’t feel the confidence to fit out and am instead afraid of fitting in. Some of these things include the fact that I:
…practice TM (Transcendental Meditation).
…clear my chakras from time to time (don’t you?) and have started to play with light meditations.
…read my horoscope every week, and I adjust my expectations of communication and travel when Mercury is in retrograde.
…believe that wine and beer affect our vibrational energy differently than other alcoholic beverages.
…have a practice of positive affirmations that I go through weekly because I believe in the Law of Attraction and our ability (power, really) to manifest things.
REAL TALK: I wrote, re-wrote, deleted, and re-wrote again each of these statements in different ways. Sometimes I tried to tone it down. Other times, I went full woo-woo. I finally just threw it out there and left it, because the entire point of writing this piece is to own and take pride in the things that we believe in and that make us who we are.
Even if we’re weird. Especially if we’re weird.
The self-judgment is real, though. The fear of what other people think is real. But you know what? When I think of myself, being afraid of what “everyone” will think, I realize that my “everyone” is really only a few people, and then suddenly I’m a whole lot less concerned with it.
Dr. Rosenthal addresses exactly this (thank goodness) and instead encourages us to be bold and blatant and proud of where and how we “fit out.” Be the weird you wish to see in the world!
Setting the Stage, Scratching the Surface
So. You’ve read this far either because you’re relating and we’re cut from the same cloth and this is all resonating with you (hi, I see you!), or because you’re my mother (hi/thanks, mom!).
Either way, my goal here is to continue to share these processes and ideas and to develop strategies and plans for better knowing our inner workings, so that as I uncover my own truths, I can help other people discover and live theirs, too.