Last Monday, at the invitation of a dear friend, I attended the screening of a local film. She had been invited by another friend, and although neither of us had any idea of what we were being invited to, we attended because of the person extending the invitation.
After the screening of the documentary, as we mingled and chatted with the producer, actors and guests, my friend had several encounters with people whose paths had crossed hers at different stages of her career. She was surprised and humbled that each of them expressed virtually the same gratitude to her for how she had helped them.
My response was, “that’s because that’s who you are.” But I think she was mostly stunned, because her past encounters with each of them was not concentrated in a particular setting or time span, but each was scattered across time and space.
You see, when we find that sweet spot that aligns what we do with who we be, we may never fully know the ripple effects, but we will receive some affirmation along the way. Those affirmations may not come in rapid succession like they did for my friend this past Monday, but if we pay attention, they do come to encourage us to fully embody who we be.
One of my most tangible experiences of affirmation happened as I prepared to go to, served in, and returned from Guatemala. As I prepared to go, people whose paths I had crossed from various places and from as recently as months before I left for Guatemala to as long ago as several decades before, offered their affirmation through their financial support, words of encouragement, and prayers.
While I served with and among the people of Guatemala, not from a point of privilege or power, but of solidarity and equality, the relationships and the experience itself affirmed the alignment of my doing and being. Undoubtedly, the work I did could have been done by someone else, but the way in which I did it from my sense of being, which is grounded in spirituality, creativity, and justice, is what made the difference.
My sense of being, however, is also grounded in a call to itinerate as the Spirit leads and directs. So, there came a point when it was time to leave Guatemala, and the photo above captures my last day at the project. In the picture, I am surrounded by all my Guatemalan nieces and nephews from the project’s preschool–my constant sources of affirmation. On that day as well as every other day that I was there, they affirmed that the alignment of my doing work at the project and my being present to them mattered.
Along the path to blissful authenticity, aligning the doing and being in a capitalistic, scarcity-driven, dog-eat-dog world is usually not easy, but it is incumbent upon all of us to try. This does not mean, however, that you have to change what you are doing to fully embody who you be, but it is essential to find out how to fully be in whatever you do.
In the same way that the tires on a car must be checked for alignment to ensure safe and efficient travel, we must also check to ensure that we are aligned so that we may safely and efficiently travel along the path to sacred purpose. One way to do this is to start a regular practice. For instance, you may want to set aside time in a quiet place to ask yourself a series of questions, sit with the answers, discern what feelings or emotions are emerging, and listen for clarity.
Some questions to consider are: How do I feel about what I do? Does it align with who I be? Who and what have affirmed the alignment of my doing and being? Does what I’m doing help me fulfill my sacred purpose? Is the environment supportive of or hostile towards me? Where is the disconnect…is it with the work, the hours, the commute, the culture, the stress, the leadership, the pay, etc.?
Finally, take a few moments to remember when someone or something affirmed that your doing and being were aligned. Also, remember that it may not have been what you were doing but instead how you did it that made the difference. Either way, your awareness of this alignment comes with the sacred responsibility to live intentionally and consciously in that alignment.