Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. – Psalm 51:6
I wish I could tell you that I am always, 100% sure that this new path I’m traveling on – the path that lead me to Sophia Leadership – is the right path and I am meant to be doing this work and everything is going to be alright.
It’s just not the case. There are days when the internal critics are throwing parties in my head. Days when I think I would be better off getting a “real” job. Days when I try to convince myself that I should just focus on promoting the skills I’ve proven in the workplace (communications) and make a living off that. Days when I think this stuff is just a little too “out there” and nobody’s going to get it (or at least not anyone who’s going to pay the bills).
I’m trying to be kind to those critics, give them an opportunity to speak what they feel they must, and then gently but firmly insist that they take up residence in some place other than my brain. Here’s a few of the conversations I’ve been having lately.
Internal critic #1: “You shouldn’t be doing this. People who know you are going to think you’ve gone off the deep end, rejected your Christianity and taken a dive into some woo-woo cult of the feminine divine. You don’t want to embarrass yourself that way, do you? Why not just stick to comfortable old paradigms that don’t make you look too wacko?”
Me: “Dear critic, I know you mean well and you just want to help me save face. Thanks for caring. But the truth is that the old paradigms just never fit very well, and I can’t live authentically if I don’t question them. No, I haven’t rejected Christianity – just take a closer look in the Bible and you’ll find Sophia all over the book of Proverbs (she’s been ignored by the church for way too long). What I HAVE rejected is the version of Christianity that just sees one narrow door to an exclusive, close-minded male God. Please pack your baggage and leave, because no matter how hard you try, I’m not going back to that set of beliefs.”
Internal critic #2: “What you’re doing just isn’t going to make sense to people. Think about the times you’ve tried to explain it to people, and they just kind of looked at you funny and said (with a look that clearly expressed their concern that you’ve gone off your rocker), ‘That’s nice. But HOW are you going to make a living with this?’ If those people don’t get it, NOBODY’S going to get it!”
Me: “Friendly critic, I appreciate what you’re saying and I believe there may be some wisdom in it. Perhaps I need to think about better ways to explain it to people who haven’t immersed themselves in these ideas like I have recently. BUT that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up, because there are LOTS of people who are getting it – LOTS of people who are sending me such lovely notes about how this has touched a deep longing in their hearts. Even if those people end up being in the minority, they make it worth the effort. I’ll keep doing this for them.”
Internal critic #3: “Look at the success you’re having teaching the PR course. That’s the stuff you actually know – writing press releases and stories, and planning PR events, etc., etc. You really should stick to that, because you actually have enough experience in that to call yourself an ‘expert’. (What about that “communicator of the year” award last year? Huh? Have you forgotten about THAT?!) What right do you have to pretend you know anything about feminine wisdom? You probably need a degree or something like that.”
Me: “Oh critic, you’re right – I’m far from an expert. But don’t you understand that when I read, write, learn, talk, and teach about this stuff, my heart comes ALIVE in a way that it never does when I’m writing a press release? Don’t you see that this is a deep calling that won’t let me rest until I follow it further into the wilderness of my heart?”
The truth is, wisdom (God’s wisdom – “Sophia”) comes through many sources. Sometimes the critics – whether they are internal or external – are worth heeding because of how they can help us avoid pitfalls or enhance our newly-birthed ideas.
But far, FAR too many times, we give the critics too much power by allowing them to silence the wisdom that is whispered to us in quieter, less obvious ways.
It’s the wisdom that shows up in our hearts when we are quiet enough to pay attention.
The wisdom that comes when we sit on our meditation cushions and open ourselves up to Sophia/God.
The wisdom that appears when we sit and stare at an oak tree or a blade of grass.
The wisdom that emerges from our bodies when we run, do yoga, dance, walk, stretch, or just sit and pay attention.
The wisdom that we find when we look deep into the eyes of a horse.
It’s that kind of wisdom that I’m trying to listen to these days. It (rather than the self-limiting beliefs of my internal critics) will help me shape whatever Sophia Leadership is meant to be.
I know this – Sophia has shown me so many incredible signs in the last year that this is the path that I’m meant to journey on. One of those signs came yesterday when I met someone who’s been on a remarkably similar journey in the last year and who lives only half an hour from my house. Though we hadn’t met before, we have been living nearly parallel lives (including having worked in the exact same job a few years apart!), and it is so very clear that we were meant to meet now (and not all those other times we could have met when we crossed paths) and meant to further this work together, that neither of us can ignore the signs. (More on that incredible synchronicity in posts to come.)
Each and every day, we have to choose which wisdom we’re going to trust. Trusting the more intuitive, spiritual, “God-breathed” wisdom often feels like “the road less traveled”, but it is that wisdom that will help us change the world. The beautiful thing is, this quiet wisdom actually come from a Source that is much bigger than any of our critics.