Most of us could never imagine the fire and promise we hold. We live in a culture that tells us to be “realistic.” That means dampen our enthusiasms and compromise our vision. We are encouraged to bow to the known world, and shun our unknown powers. But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to listen to our inspired hearts, spread our full peacock feathers, and awaken the invincible love inside us. We’re here to discover, express, and unleash our true capacity.
When you follow inspiration, you follow an invitation to be more than you knew you were. You tap unlimited powers. You can sing, you can heal, you can run a business, and you can meet the people you need to meet. It’s where you take a different track and love replaces fear and ease eclipses struggle. Julia Cameron writes “Our dreams come from a divine source. Moving in the direction of our dreams moves us toward our divinity.” Yet, how many of us, in the name of safety, have spent a life time trying to put a cork on the genie? But that which fascinates you grants you wings. Anything you love holds power. There are miracles waiting for you in the “forbidden country” of your true desires.
But most of us deny our inspired selves. We choose tired lives instead. I know I did. I had always wanted to be a writer, but like many creative individuals, I was told that writing wouldn’t make me money. Surely, it would make me take heroin or date someone other than a lawyer or a dentist. That’s the message I got growing up in Brooklyn, New York with practical and opinionated Orthodox Jewish parents.
With buried dreams, I slogged through Harvard Law School. Later, I worked for a huge corporate law firm. Then one day, I just couldn’t go on. I didn’t want to live one more day as a lawyer, no matter how much money I made. I felt as though I was dying. I thought I was broken, wounded, and incapable of a normal adult life. I didn’t know I was falling apart, because there was another part of myself that was so strong and filled with love and creativity it couldn’t bear one more day of denying its true life and contribution. That was the day I felt this wildness in my bones I didn’t understand and I couldn’t control. That was the day I met my secret self.
Rufus Wainwright wrote about the secret self like this: “Someone I am is waiting for courage. The one I want, the one I will become will catch me.” That’s how this works. We are drawn to where we belong. When we crave something we think is impossible, that’s Brilliant Life handing us a holy invitation. Our desires are our doorways. They lead us into a new world, a new way of being in this world, and with new powers to bring to this world.
But again I didn’t know any of this when I felt like I was falling apart. I discovered it when I quit my legal career to explore writing. I spent 12 years writing my first book This Time I Dance! Creating the Work you Love, without a publisher or an agent. I began to support myself by teaching classes in creative writing, creating the work you love, and the spiritual program A Course in Miracles, along with waiting tables or doing legal research. Despite the persistent shadows and fears, I found this woman who consistently dared to trust her instincts more than facts. I’d never met this woman before. Somehow, she sprung forth, a fierce emotional warrior, from my dedication to writing. Perhaps it’s because writing brought me sweeping joy and joy gave me a new sense of direction, authority, and stamina. And when I landed a major publishing contract with Tarcher/Penguin the publishing house of my dreams, I wept with gratitude.
It was so much more than just getting a book deal, which was my dearest dream. It was that I had this presence inside me who could guide me anywhere, into any territory, in a way that felt natural and unassailable to me. I had never even thought to dream of having this kind of strength. The Divine had finally become real to me. I could finally feel the Love of the Universe because I was doing something that I loved. Sometimes, you just don’t know what’s in your tool kit until you try a different tool. I urge you to put down the hammer of “practicality.” Do something you love for just an hour and see if you don’t feel safer and fuller in your life.
Sometimes you don’t know your secrets yet, because you haven’t found what interests you. But once you encounter what absorbs you, the laws of gravity flutter, your cells twitter into champagne bubbles, and your identity changes. Albert Einstein was actually considered to be mentally slow. But at the age of 14, someone gave him a book about geometry. Einstein devoured it. Linda Kavelin Popov writes, “It was as if his mind was awakened from after a long sleep. He became a voracious reader of books on philosophy. He went on to teach at Princeton University, discover the theory of relativity and unlock the secrets of the universe.” Einstein originally seemed like a misfit. Yet his secret self was a philosophic and scientific genius, only requiring his true interests to unlock his great nature.
This secret self still never ceases to amaze me. If you told me years ago, that I’d not only have the courage to write a book on my own for 12 years, but later I’d travel around the country speaking to thousands, I would have told you it was impossible. I have anxiety issues, for God’s sake. I’m Jewish and rational and trained to think like a lawyer, someone who sees the liabilities lurking in absolutely everything. And yet, here I am jumping on planes, walking alone in new cities, stepping up to the mike, and telling thousands of people that you “can’t plan an inspired life.” Who is this woman I wonder? And yet I know. She is the woman I was born to be. She is the woman who is born in me because I’m inspired, aligned and enflamed by love, clarity, creativity and conviction. I know I will discover more resources as I deepen. I love this adventure of discovering new engines, wings, and veins of gold.
Years ago, I witnessed the perfect metaphor for this secret self. I live in Colorado where it tends to be sunny and dry. One year we got more moisture than usual. Later that week, I had new plants present themselves in my garden. They just sprung up. Of course when I saw these new flowers that I’d never planted, I wondered if I hadn’t been blessed by the handiwork of urban fairies. But a gardener friend had another explanation. She told me that the seeds had always been there. Until now, they hadn’t gotten sufficient moisture. But with the new weather conditions, the seeds had finally gotten what they needed to grow into their potential.
The seeds had always been there.
And so it is with you. You are meant to flourish. And if you give yourself the right conditions, you will unfurl, surprise and delight yourself. Inspiration calls you to surpass your present conditions, and blossom into your whole self, your true unassailable nature. It’s not a life of holding on to what you know, but daring to discover the abundance that you do not know.
I urge you to embody all that you were born to be. You have so many more resources than you know.