Lessons from a Life: Faith

Lesson #2: Connect to Soul

I have been on a life-long quest to find my purpose on this planet, and how I can relate to the Divine who some call God. This search has taken me to countless temples and retreat centers, a few yoga ashrams, and a Native American ceremonial community.

It has also been the foundation of many deep and meaningful conversations with my clients from many religions, and sometimes, no religion. They have been some of the best teachers on this subject of faith.

In fact, my clients are always happier when they have a chance to integrate their spiritual and/or personal values with their careers.  This often leads to a deeper understanding of the personal and professional callings they have. For me, Bright Livelihoods is a direct result of the education I have received outside of academic and professional settings. It is through this education on faith that I have clarified my passion and purpose.

One example of a personal calling is having children.  I have the great honor of being an aunt, not a mother. At 54 years old, I have let go of this dream of creating a family with deep sadness, but I am certain I was put here to find a spiritual community to grow old with. After a long and deliberate search, I have.

In the fall of 2012, I was walking by the building, Bodhi Spiritual Center, in Chicago and decided to visit that upcoming Sunday.  I immediately knew I was home. Since then, I have become an official member of the center and  served on its advisory board for six months. Bodhi and the Senior Minister, Mark Anthony Lord, have provided me with the support I needed to develop my personal belief to accept and love people of all religions, including atheism.

You do not have to be religious to clarify and achieve your dreams but you do need a point of view or belief. When I say belief, I am not necessarily referring to a religion, but instead, a positive point of view. Your belief can be as simple as “I believe my future will be better than my past,” or “I will move toward more meaningful work” or “I will be employed again in the next six weeks.”  Your beliefs can be as complex as all the tenets of a religion laid out in a sacred text and interpreted over your life so far.

Once you have this point of view clarified for yourself, the process of developing this faith and connecting to the soul is reliant on doing practices aligned with the belief. For some of you this will mean taking the action of applying to jobs or going to a park. For others, it will mean going to your place of worship once or twice a week.

For me, my current point of view is “I believe in divine energy.” And, my practice is to go to my spiritual center. In truth my beliefs have evolved over time.  My search for developing faith and connecting to soul has been a mostly exhilarating, sometimes, bumpy ride and the more I search, the more comfortable I am with the mystery of this endeavor.

If you are trying to create a new career path for yourself I recommend leveraging the faith you have and the practices that align with it.   This may be as simple as asking your rabbi about his views on a calling, using a craft project to express a dream, or bringing your search for more enjoyable work to your yoga mat.


Laurel Donnellan

CEO and Founder, Bright Livelihoods

Laurel’s mission is to help people find their home in the world of work. She has 30 years of experience as a leader, educator and coach and has degrees from Cornell and Columbia.  To request a private half-hour coaching session with Laurel, e-mail us at info@brightlivelihoods.com.

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