The next big leap arrived in the early 90’s. The Universe led me along a surprising path (in the sense that I’m surprised I went down it…) that led to seeing myself in a new light.
I’d moved to my family’s home base, Lexington, KY. Though I never lived there, I’d visited all my life and my family’s roots in this area are deep — on my father’s side it stretches back to the 1790’s. Things have changed a lot since I first moved here, but at that time, fresh from Marin County, CA, I experienced that fish-out-of-water feeling on a daily basis. Since church is a big deal here, I started trying out churches.
It didn’t take long to realize I’m just not really a church service person. As far as some deep spiritual sense I got more from the hour of silent meditation at the local Shambala center than from all the activities of a church service. But I did like the flavor of the (now-defunct) Unity church and the people seemed simpatico, so I attended sporadically. One Sunday within a week of having decided that I needed a part-time job and that I thought, health-wise, I could handle about 10 hours, they announced that the ministers were leaving and they needed someone to work about 10 hours a week in the office to answer phones and type Sunday bulletin, etc. I jumped right to the Board President as soon as the service ended to put myself forward as a candidate and I got the job.
That little clerical job fairly quickly evolved into much more. Without ministers the church needed speakers every week and it fell to me as the only person on staff to find and book speakers. With a small congregation and a limited pool of volunteers, I was soon in charge of booking the space for other activities, filling in for the piano player when she couldn’t make it, and ultimately being the speaker when I couldn’t nail anyone else down. I didn’t take the job with an intention of attending services regularly but as the main source of information flow I soon found myself there every week and often needing to make announcements or answer questions in front of the congregation. I taught classes to help draw people and make some money for the church. Then I landed on the Board since they kept needing me to attend meetings anyway.
It took a couple of years for me to realize with a jolt one day that I wasn’t so shy and introverted any more. That I had segued into a leadership position and that I liked it and had previously untapped talents in that direction. That I was speaking regularly in front of large groups of people and feeling perfectly comfortable. Our efforts to stay afloat eventually failed and the church closed. I never did really become a church person.
But I stepped into myself there. I’ve been teaching classes and speaking before groups and taking part in things as I never did before. I see myself now as quietly outgoing, confident and perfectly comfortable in front of large groups. When I started out just trying to be happier, I didn’t have any of that in mind. But I did have aspirations that I realized in hindsight require taking on those traits. I think the releases from the Fischer Hoffman Process opened the space for the Unity job to appear and for me to quietly become more of the person I started out to be. And I’m so very grateful.
I could write more posts about the practices that have brought me greater calm and serenity, etc. But for the purpose of this assignment, to discuss something you’ve lost, this is a good place to stop. I lost the neurotic, introverted, anxiety-ridden version of myself and became someone new and different. Thank you God for that unexpected journey down a path I’d not have imagined.