By Tanya Tiger
I had always wondered what people experienced when they said that they had a “calling” or had been “called by God” (or any other divine entity for that matter).
I would try and imagine if it was like a phone call from a friend, “Hey, ya, it’s me… you know the Big Guy/Gal in charge…I’m just calling to let you know that your life is never going to be the same. From here on out you’re going to be a nun/priest/priestess/monk, etc., okay…” or something along those lines. I really couldn’t fathom what a “calling” was or how you would even know if you received one. Why did only some people get these mysterious “calls” anyway?
I had so many questions and yet so few if any were ever answered at all—at least answers that made any sense. I never doubted that these people had experienced something. The thing I found interesting was how much difficulty they seemed to have in explaining exactly what had transpired. Some stories seemed beyond belief—a vision of angels and the Mother Mary exclaiming from on high that this person was to be a bringer of peace to a nation, for instance. Again, I didn’t doubt them, exactly. I have experienced things in life that others may judge as “impossible,” “improbable,” or even down-right “crazy.”
My inquiry lay in my deep curiosity for these types of experiences. I just wanted to know what it was all about, and I carried this wondering in the back of my mind for decades.
After the passing of my daughter Kristin a lot changed for me—not just in the ways that one would imagine for someone who loses a child, but on a fundamental level of existing in this world. My whole focus changed. I was seeing, feeling and experiencing things in a very different way, sometimes in ways that didn’t make sense to me.
At times this rollercoaster ride spun me off into feelings of losing my mind, or of falling deep into cavernous depression, because I could not seem to find stable ground to center myself. I would later realize that this was all part of the process of dissolving and reforming, what I’ve come to see as my chrysalis stage. I didn’t know, at the time that I was being torn apart, melted down and rebirthed. I didn’t know that I was about to receive an answer to a long-held question: what does it mean to be “called” for a higher purpose?
What I knew at the time was that nothing in my life made sense, everything seemed unfamiliar, and I really didn’t know what would happen, when or if, I made it through to the other side.
I rediscovered a sense of faith during this time and I also came to know the true meaning of the word grace. Because, when it came down to it, I would not have survived this transition without both of those vital virtues. I had faith that everything was unfolding as it was meant to, and that I was being held and supported by some unseen “force” in my life and the grace to surrender and accept that I was unable to control what happened to my daughter.
I only had control over the path I would choose from that moment on.
When I finally made it through the darkest parts of my journey, I arrived at a place of stillness and light. A calmness had entered me. I had a sense of “knowing” that everything was okay, or at least was going to be okay. I had a longing to reconnect with a higher power, as well as a rekindled romance with what many might describe as “the ethereal realms” or even the “mystical” side of life, which brought me connections to people, places, and things from my past. The “coincidences” and synchronicities began happening at a rapid pace. Opportunities began to arise that were far outside my comfort zone but that felt like total certainty to my soul.
A long-lost friend and I reconnected and she told me of her journey, and then offered me a chance to enter into an Interfaith Ministry. I was uncertain at first. There was no pressure, only an offering of assistance. There was no judgement or questioning. And so I sat with this opportunity for many months. This was so far flung from who I was, but who was I anyway?
All of these doubts and questions bubbled up from deep inside. What would others think of me? What would this even mean? What if it had a negative impact on how people viewed me professionally? Doubts rolled in, but I didn’t run from them, as I would have in the past. I chose to sit with them and feel them. Was there any real weight to these concerns or was this just my ego or past traumas influencing me? What was the worst-case scenario and the chances of it actually happening?
I began to feel an inner-strength. A voice rose up and I knew, on a level I had never known anything before, that this voice would only speak the truth to me. This…this was the voice of my soul—the voice that each of us possess, which is directly connected to our source (whatever that means to the individual).
Once I learned to trust this voice, and to trust that it was me but also something much greater then me speaking, I learned to listen very intently. I learned that I could tap into this voice at any time and at any place. This became my “go to” when I felt overwhelmed or unsure or when I simply needed to feel safe, secure, and supported. I formed a deep and loving bond with this “entity” that seemed to be me, of me, and yet beyond me.
I began to sense the deep connection that is shared through the energy that makes up our world. I understood the physicists and spiritual scholars in a different way. I began to actually feel this energy they spoke of, both in a scientific way as well as in a spiritual way. This was me, experiencing life, on a soul level. This new way of being in the world has opened up many doorways. I have uncovered and rediscovered some long lost “gifts.”
With all of this new information and alchemy of soul and spirit happening within, I began to inquire deep within about my true purpose in this lifetime. The elusive questions and answers I had been carrying around my entire life began to resurface. Through my own form of prayer and meditation I arrived at a deep inner-knowing that I was to enter the ministry my friend had brought to my attention. I was to become an Interfaith Minister and Healer—a “Modern Mystic” of sorts. I was meant to include this new path of Reverend with my current path of Social Worker. My love of helping people, and deep desire to bring healing and love into this world, would be made manifest by joining the two worlds I had kept separate all these years.
I was guided to marry the spiritual with the scientific.
At first, my rationale mind jumped in, with my ego in tow, carrying thoughts of, “Are you crazy? Have you lost your mind? A Mystic? A Healer? Who the hell do you think you are?”
Out of habit fell into a spiral of doubt. I mean, none of this had never been on my radar. I was not one of those kids who dreamed of becoming a nun or priest or of having any involvement in any church, religion or spiritual path. I had actually lived my life with a great distaste for religion and all things deemed as Spiritually “woo woo.” Up until recently the idea of becoming a Minister or Reverend would have made me feel ill.
Something was different though. That quiet but strong voice rose to the surface and drowned out the others. It quieted the fears of my “rational” mind by pointing out that I am, in fact, already a “healer” by profession. My very job as a social worker presents opportunities for me to help people heal from all sorts of emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds. The “mystic” part comes with the introduction of my intuitive gifts and simply refers to the deep connection with something beyond the “normal” realms of human cognition. Any form of spiritual practice can be deemed mystical, even organized religious ceremonies and practices. So, the fact that I am choosing to marry my current profession with the new realm of Interfaith Ministry and Soul-Work, should not seem so far-fetched and is definitely nothing to be feared or shamed.
Had I not had the privilege of birthing my two beautiful daughters into this world, of being their mother and feeling that intense connection to another being, I don’t know if I would have understood this experience in the same way.
Had I not experienced the intense loss when my youngest daughter passed away I don’t know if I would have grasped the immensity of the power of love that we all hold inside. Had I not had the honor of communing with over 30 women in the mountains of Montana, where we were provided the sacred opportunity to reconnect with our souls and to be cracked wide-open, burned down and reborn from the flames of this Divine connection, I do not know if I would have recognized the strength I possess to bring all of this to fruition.
Through all of these experiences, and so many more, I have learned the immense strength and power which can be found in our moments of deep vulnerability. There is nothing that I can think of in this moment that represents my being vulnerable more, than putting these words to paper and sending them out into the world for all to see.
I am doing this from a place of sincere honesty. I am doing this from a place of hope, love and trust. I am opening myself up because it is the only way that I know how to live now. I have been called to a higher purpose and I now understand that once called, you can never hide again. Once you’ve been called, you become a beacon which calls to others.
Love is my mission.
Editor: Dana Gornall