Blog by Alan Seale, May 16, 2022 |Transformational Presence
Living in the in-between or transition spaces of life is not always a comfortable place to be. You are aware that something is ending or changing, yet you may not be sure what is coming next. Or perhaps you can sense something new calling out to you, yet you don’t know how reach it. The process of finding your way into your next calling is different for each of us, yet it almost always involves stepping beyond your comfort zone, facing fears or uncertainties, and taking some big steps.
I’m in an in-between space now as I step out of the public life I have lived and loved for the last twenty years and follow the calling of my heart into my next chapter. Since I first sensed the beginning of this transition several years ago, words from the poet David Whyte have been a guiding light:
The only choice we have as we mature
is how we inhabit our vulnerability,
how we become larger and more courageous
and more compassionate
through our intimacy with disappearance.
At this stage of my life, vulnerability comes more easily. I become more and more comfortable every day with the idea of disappearing from the life I have lived. And somehow through my intimacy with disappearance, I feel my presence growing larger as my capacities for courage and compassion expand.
I have just returned from an 18-day retreat in Costa Rica where I divided my time between a sacred ranch and a mountaintop sanctuary, both properties of a dear friend. The retreat was for me, on many levels, a time of finding my way into my next calling. Long before my departure date, I knew intuitively that a profound inner experience was waiting for me. Towards the end of my time there, this poem emerged. My hope is that in addition to sharing something of my own story, it will inspire or awaken something in you as well for wherever you are in your life.
A Great Welcoming
It was a steep climb.
The higher we went, the steeper the road, and the more breathtaking the views.
I had spent the two previous days at a sacred ranch that hangs on the edge of a canyon
and overlooks a towering waterfall.
It’s a place I have visited many times—
a place where I can commune with horses and nature,
a place where I always find deep healing and rest.
Yet every time I visit there,
the ranch also shows me my next growth edge
and makes clear in no uncertain terms that
it’s time to make friends with that edge and embrace my next calling.
Now I was traveling to a mystical mountaintop sanctuary.
It would be my first visit to this enchanted place,
yet I already sensed a dissolving of deeply hidden walls
within the heart of my being,
and a great welcoming to the next chapter of my life.
My breath was filled with anticipation, even as
my unsettled belly knew instinctively that the chapter I have been living
was closing and the first lines of my next chapter
were already being written.
And here I was on the road in between.
There is something about the combination of the canyon and the mountaintop—
the profound sacred energy in both places— that gently yet powerfully encourages my
disappearance from the public life I have known and loved
so that I might fully inhabit the more contemplative life that now calls.
As I dare to follow that calling, I discover a deeper inner well—
a well I have sensed was there, yet haven’t dared to taste.
To sip from this deep well had felt like more than I could allow;
to fill my cup from these deep holy waters and drink
seemed like an indulgence way too far.
At least that’s the story I told myself.
Yet the truth was, it was a greater surrender—
a surrender that I was, in fact, ready for.
The weeks leading up to my time here were filled with both excitement and anxiety.
Excitement because I love the sacred ranch—
arriving there always feels like coming home to the heart of my being.
And anxiety because the heart of my being is the place I long to know even more intimately,
even though it’s a place I shy away from.
Because I know that when I allow myself to fully surrender
to my sacred heart, there will no place to hide.
You see, my sacred heart has been calling me
to drink from these deeper waters,
to inhabit greater truths, to live greater wisdom,
to embrace a more luminous love—
all so that I might embody a more potently still presence—
a presence that I no longer want to shy away from—
a presence I’ve spent a lifetime preparing for.
The sacred canyon ranch and the mountaintop sanctuary together
are holding me in ways I’ve never felt held before.
I spend a few days in the powerful embrace of one, and then
when the time is right, I move to the other. The journey
up and down the mountain serves as a conduit of energy
and synthesis between the two.
Just like the road up the mountain,
my life has also sometimes been a steep climb;
other times, an easier road.
I’ve endured difficult periods, and I’ve been gifted with breathtaking views and experiences.
I’m grateful for the synchronicities of life
that have closed some doors and opened others at precisely the right moments.
Looking back, I see how Life has always carried me,
even in the darkest times.
In the words of the poet David Whyte,
I am growing ever more courageous and compassionately intimate
with my gradual disappearance from the life I have known.
As I begin taking sips from the deep well,
I sense a great welcoming from the heart of my being.
And I’m learning more about surrender.
We’re always on the road between what has been and what will be. My job now is to be
fully present and make the most of exactly where I am in each moment.
Today I am grateful for so many blessings.
The inspiration and assurance of the sacred ranch and mountaintop sanctuary
go with me as I step further into what calls me next.