In a post entitled “Sometimes Things Fall Apart to Fall Together,” my good friend, Dr. Misty Funk, recently wrote: “This week I received an unwelcome surprise. At the beginning of the week I was preparing to travel to Ecuador for the next few months. You may remember I’d been invited to be the Artist in Residence at a meditation center outside Vilcabamba. And then, suddenly, without warning things fell apart.
“But slowly a single thought washed over me—Something even better is on the horizon for me.
“The day after this heartbreaking news, I began to feel my heart relax as I opened to new possibilities. I began to become more and more curious and excited about what I could do in place of what was planned. And as the days have passed, I am observing exciting, new opportunities unfolding before my eyes. It is now clear that this great loss carved space for something even better to come my way.”
I really resonate with Misty’s experience. Back in 1984, I experienced exactly what she later describes as a “radical and sudden change in my plans.” I had been living in the Sunrise Ranch spiritual community for thirteen years and loving it because it so beautifully correlated with my purpose in life: the spiritual regeneration of humanity. And doing this spiritual work in a community of like-minded souls was so awesome! Also, I was married and my wife was serving in the community, as well.
But in May of that year it was strongly suggested by the Sunrise Ranch leadership that I take advantage of a job opening in Cheyenne, Wyoming, as a radio news reporter and also to help establish a spiritual group there. I really wanted to remain at Sunrise, but on the other hand could I bring myself to openly resist the recommendation of leadership? Also my wife said she could not see herself going to a place like Cheyenne, and if I decided to go there, divorce would probably follow.
So, wow, it really felt as if I were being pulled apart and all my carefully crafted plans in life were disintegrating! However, even though I really couldn’t conceive of anything positive coming out of a move to Wyoming, I nevertheless decided to take the plunge into what seemed like an abyss. So I, along with all my earthly goods, were packed into a van and driven to Cheyenne. And, sure enough, my wife and I permanently parted ways.
Learning to be a news reporter, speaking to tens of thousands of people on the air, taxed me to the very limits of my being. Yet after two years I became news director of the station and was working at least fourteen hours a day. Then it became possible for me to move back to Colorado, where I held a succession of other jobs: house painter, newspaper carrier, telemarketer, janitor, school custodian and campaign manager for a man who was running for president.
As you might imagine, in all of this there were monumental challenges, and at times I felt as if I were on the very edge of survival, physically, emotionally and financially. But looking back on it now, I’m thankful for the experience. It revealed to me one supremely important thing: I could function effectively in the world without the protective atmosphere of Sunrise Ranch and could maintain my spiritual centering in any circumstance.
In 2008, I was invited to move back to Sunrise Ranch and I leapt to accept the opportunity. The community had changed a lot during my twenty-four-year absence and so had I. But one thing had remained the same for both Sunrise and me: a passionate commitment to the spiritual regeneration of humanity. Every day I live here is a delightful adventure of service to what I most love, and I am more effective in this service than ever, I think, in large measure because of that “radical and sudden change in my plans” that launched me into a world of possibilities for personal growth and maturity.
Misty rounds out her post by writing: “Now how does this relate to your life? Are you in the midst of a transition? In times like these you have to trust that everything is working for your highest good, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Because it is all working out for you. It just doesn’t look that way. The Universe has your back and is making space for you to experience the highest and best life has to offer. But first you must take the challenge life throws at you and find the gift contained within. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it, my friend.”
Such wisdom coming from this young woman. The truth of what she describes has been proven out many times in my own experience. Perhaps in yours, too.