I’ve had a lot of ups and downs over the past months or so. Some days I feel like I’m at the threshold of a big breakthrough. I see the possibility that lies before me and I’m ready to grab it.
And then, it disappears. Like a puff of smoke, it vanishes.
It’s a new moon tonight. A new month awaits. A new beginning, again.
This is considered a prime time for setting intentions, and tonight I attended an intention-setting ritual – called a Lakshmi Puja – led my friend and mentor Margaret Nichols.
Setting intentions in a public group can be powerful. The energy of community helps to create a space in which those intentions can blossom and manifest.
Of course, it’s not enough to set intentions. You need to “do the do” as my friend Loren Slocum always says.
Well, I have been “doing the do.” Faithfully. I’m up every morning. At the gym. Meditating. Writing. Even publishing more (did you notice?). And yet there remains a block that is standing between me and the release of some of my deepest and most profound work — life-changing work — into this world. I have a new coach helping me bring it to light. And I continue to grind away each day, all while also practicing self-care and self-compassion.
I have some big intentions. Real, hard numbers. Specific outcomes. They are written down. I shared them at the Lakshmi Puja that Margaret led in February. So far, crickets.
Before we opened up to share our intentions, Margaret advised us to focus most specifically on this month, rather than get too big. And she asked us to limit ourselves to one intention, so we can be super focused on it for this ceremony.
So when it came time for me to share my intentions with the group, I was at a loss. I have so many intentions that I didn’t know where to start. I could hardly get the words out before I heard the breaking in my voice and felt the warm tears slowly flood my eyes and spill over, rolling down my cheeks.
And then something different came out. A plea to the Universe, to the Divine.
There is a calling bursting forth from within me, like a child ready to enter this world. I’ve done the heavy lifting and the deep digging and the soul clearing. I’ve done the rituals. I’ve done the courses and the homework. I’ve put myself out there and I’ve gone inside to explore the deepest resources of my soul. I’ve turned down big clients who would have drained my energy, to leave room for the opportunity that I’m creating. I’ve cleared my space and my chakras. I’ve gotten out of my head and out of my comfort zone. I’ve gone into my heart and into my soul. I’ve increased my giving level and my having level. I’ve rested and nourished and filled myself up so that there is more of me to give.
And I am so ready.
I am ready to be seen in my fullest light. I am ready to step into the possibility that I see so clearly in my clearest of moments. I am ready to feel the air under my wings as I soar. I am ready to lift those around me, to help them step into the possibility of who they can become.
Even as my optimism waxed and wanes, my faith remains constant.
The group held space beautifully for my tears and my intentions. I felt seen in my vulnerability and sincerity.
It was late when I got home, but I felt the need to walk. Also, I’m riding a streak of 10,000 step days. I’m not gonna lie – that’s a powerful motivator. At 10:45 pm, I put on my sneakers and my Beats wireless earphones, started my music and headed to Washington Square Park for a walk.
I was 0n my second lap around the park when suddenly puzzle pieces started clicking into place. I recalled that 3 people this week told me that my work is resonating for them. My message speaks to them.
These were not random people. These were people I know, people I admire, people I respect, people I have followed from afar, people who I consider to be my teachers and mentors… these people have found my work helpful to them.
And then I had that moment:
The moment when you suddenly realize that your message has value and purpose beyond the capturing of your own meandering experience. That moment when your message and your experiences become so much bigger than you. That moment when you know, in your deepest of knowing, that you are here to make a meaningful difference. That you are already making that difference.
I stood there, in the shadow of the Washington Square Arch. I looked up, and through, to the Empire State Building in the distance.
Someone built this arch. It feels impossibly large for a structure built so long ago. Almost inconceivable that it could be built. It feels bigger than life. It feels like my own possibility feels at times:
Unimaginably big and imposing, impossible to conceive, yet so real and possible. All at once.
I stood there, and breathed it in, overcome by potential and possibility and the magnitude of all of it.
The wave of emotions was so powerful, it pushed me to the stone bench. I surrendered to it, feeling its smooth surface support me. All the while, I kept looking at the arch, as I sat in this magical clearing that lies at the heart of the crowded and dense Greenwich Village.
What if all the pain and heartbreak and struggle and disappointments have all been for this purpose: to speak aloud what others fear to say, to name the feelings that others bury deep, to open a path for those who dare to tread to the unknown and simply need a guide?
What if I am holding the flashlight to illuminate their journey?
Instead of wondering what is the purpose of my pain, what if I considered that my pain is my purpose?
Washington’s Arch. It seems like it was impossibly big to build in its time. And yet it was built. Not easily, I’m sure. And yet here it stands, over 100 years later, a beacon for all who come downtown.
Plenty of buildings get knocked down every day. Buildings that in their time were considered masterpieces or hallmarks of their era are demolished to make room for something newer and more fitting with the times.
That’s part of the fabric of New York City. Change is a constant. Buildings get knocked down. New buildings replace them.
Nobody thinks about knocking down this Arch to build something else in its place.
This Arch has withstood the test of time and the winds of change. One can say that about most monuments, of course. But Washington’s Arch isn’t merely a monument. It’s a gateway, a portal. To the heart of Greenwich Village. To the grandeur of lower Fifth Avenue.
It is an opening to this place of vibrant living. Even as the nature of this park has changed, the Arch has stood here: a gate through which hippies and drug addicts and college students and moms and kids and businessmen and dogs and performers and people of all colors and origins and mindsets have passed. It has remained constant as the fabric of the city – and even the fabric of the park it anchors – changed around it.
Everyone who approaches it takes a picture of it, and with it. They lean against its strong base to rest their weary feet. They walk beneath it, necks craned and eyes gazing skyward to examine its intricate underside.
Under its canopy of arched and detailed stone, pedestrians find shelter and voices find resonance.
And it occurs to me:
This is what I am building. Not a monument to my own greatness.Not merely a structure that reflects today’s styles and trends.
A portal to possibility. A shelter for those who need it now and those who will need it in the future. A testimony that will withstand the changes in trends and temperaments.
It feels impossibly possible, and incredibly real.
Here in the shadow of the Arch, the message is clear:
It takes time to build that which will stand the test of time.
Before walking through the Arch on my way back home, I read it’s familiar inscription one more time:
Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God. — Washington
Create your standard. Live up to it. And have faith.