A number of years ago, I was taken by the Reverend Michael Beckwith. Rev Michael was featured in the first version of the wildly popular movie, The Secret. At least it was wildly popular with me. He is the founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center, a trans-denominational spiritual community that has become a destination for many seekers.
I knew he was in Cali somewhere so I googled him. Surprisingly, we share the same city and his center maps out to be a mere 3.3 miles from my little studio appt in Culver City. Wednesday night they had a service and I was excited to get my little self there.
I plugged the address into “Janet“, a handy navigational device of whom I have come to know and love. Without Janet, I would be a lost fool in Los Angeles. Janet is my friend and I love her deeply. This was my first time sporting her on my bicycle–at night. I maxed out her lovely voice volume to out pace the traffic sounds with her clear and precise directions. I felt fearless and was ready to roll.
I gave myself an hour to get there, since there were countless traffic lights between here and there. I used to play with edges by running red lights after looking both ways 6 times. That is until someone I met in yoga class got a $500 ticket for running a red light on his bike. No more running red lights for me. I am learning.
(I have discovered the California police love ticketing. Perhaps I will share sometime how we have spent hundreds upon hundreds of dollars learning the system and the methods I have discovered to outsmart it.)
I wear 2 headlamps at night when riding my bike, (a really hot look) with a white light on my forehead and a flashing red light on the back of my head. The intention is to be seen long enough for me to say, “Please don’t hit me. You see me, right?” Riding at night here is not like avoiding salamanders or frogs crossing the gravel road I live on back home. This is a different game altogether, one of Olympic style agility. I welcome the challenge.
Ok, back to Agape and Rev Michael.
But first, parking…parking the bicycle is the best thing…right at the door, every time. This place was so busy, a shuttle service was warranted. Parking in LA is second in intensity only to the traffic. But not on my little comfort bike.
Janet led me to the right address and I pulled right up to the front door and locked my bike, stuffing her and my dual head lamps into my pockets. There was a lot of hub bub, like I was coming upon a very happening place. People streamed into the main meeting room, a church-like sanctuary that held thousands. We were greeted by soft candle light and relaxing piano music. I worked my way towards the front to take in the whole experience.
Arriving in time for the guided meditation, I softened and settled into my seat. I started to feel held by this community, the light, the music, the lovely woman leading the meditation. I felt at home. I knew it was the real deal when even the music stopped and we were left in silence to find our own way before it was broken in some time by soft piano and voice leading us back.
Rev Michael came in shortly after, a very charismatic dude. He is well loved by this community. He was dressed in a very snazzy black suit long, tight braids in his hair and toe shoes on his feet. He is not afraid to be himself. I appreciate that.
His message was strong, clear and very enthusiastic…listen to your soul’s passion and follow that. Don’t find yourself at the end of your life without having expressed your creative, passionate, amazing self to the Universe. People were on their feet, wildly repeating after him, call and response style, how incredible they are and they are on it, this soul passion thing.
I left feeling confused and a bit lost. Since 8th grade science class, I have been doing that, following my passion. To the nth degree. Perhaps it is how I went about it that was amiss. Was it my drive? My compulsion to work? To get it done and get it right?
Hence the sabbatical I find myself on.
I am good with passion, soul, listening to the calling. And there is something else here. If I, we, go after something with all that we have, what is it that we want in attaining that soul passion? Happiness? Peace? Is that what we are really wanting on the other side of living our passion? Do I have to identify and fulfill my soul’s passion like some kind of life’s mission in order to be happy?
How about happiness from here? What if this is it, this moment in all of its rawness and fullness, here, now?
I am not saying give up dreaming. Dreams are amazing visions to behold and work towards. I have spent most of my adult life doing that…And without keen awareness, my eyes only lie on the prize, running towards the dangling carrot that is always just around the corner.
My old friend Ray Reitze told me once, “Being is doing.” I thought sitting in solitude on a mountain was not productive enough at the time. I had too much to do to take that time out. From his perspective, there could be nothing more productive than stillness. From that place comes great action, grounded in beingness.
I am open to your thoughts on this…the balance between inspiration, inspired action and the power of being and the desire for action.
Do you know of your soul’s passion? Is fulfilling it required for happiness?
The Children of Uganda are orphaned due to aids and are part of a non-profit to raise money for the children back home. I felt so fortunate to have seen such an energetic display of sheer joy and vibration. (Check out their Facebook page 🙂