Recently one evening, I was sitting across from my husband, both of us hunched over a card table searching for the right piece of our current jigsaw puzzle. As I contemplated the scattered image before us, I felt myself settling in. My body and my internal dialogue began shifting into stillness.

Earlier, I had spent several hours trying to figure out how to attract more notice on social media for my intuitive readings. It was a tiring and not very rewarding process to scroll through and compare my own website and newsletters with the materials that others were posting. Some sites were upbeat, with words and messages with which I could resonate; some showed videos of happier times; some were radical cries for attention, larded with selfies.

Many of my colleagues were hosting mediation circles; offering dharma talks and guided meditations; often posting videos of advice for achieving something or other—self-awareness, more abundance, success in the form of selling some type of product or program., etc.

I became discouraged; what was I missing? I had watched a few of those “online gurus” grow, over the years, from a scattering of “likes” and followers to hundreds and even thousands of the faithful. What was wrong with my approach? (And of course, the go-to default question became: “What’s wrong with me?”) I’ve struggled for years to get my message out there and now there are literally hundreds of people that seem to be offering a similar message, but they’re looking and projecting prosperity and success.

Can you imagine having to take a moment
to scan yourself and decide whether you
wanted fame or enlightenment? I had to
snap myself out of it. Really!? Who
wouldn’t choose enlightenment?

As I concentrated on the puzzle in front of me, I found myself silently asking my guides about the puzzle within me. “What am I supposed to do? I just don’t know what to do to make myself more successful.”
And then it came—a clear answer to my burning question: “The promise was that we were going to help you to get enlightened, not to get famous.”

I was so struck by this that I spontaneously said it out loud to my husband, who was intently scanning the puzzle to figure out how the pieces fit. Without looking up from the board, he responded calmly: “If I were you, I’d go for the enlightenment.”

I actually had to think about it. Can you imagine having to take a moment to scan yourself and decide whether you wanted fame or enlightenment? I had to snap myself out of it. Really!? Who wouldn’t choose enlightenment? I’d been pursuing enlightenment for as long as I could remember; when did my desire shift to wanting recognition and monetary gain? Apparently, there was a side of me that really needed some deep introspection, questioning and re-examining.

That night, as I lay in bed rethinking the conversation in my head, I decided to surrender as best I could, release the idea of being something or someone in the future, and just allow myself to surrender to God’s will right now. What’s next? I’m not sure. But I do know that during this Covid-19 shelter-in-place order, I have the opportunity to continue writing my newest book and to thoroughly re- examine myself, and my motives for doing what I do.
I also have time to meditate in the morning and evening, and time to keep my headspace clean. I have time to laugh at myself for my foolishness. And I have time to reexamine what it means to seek enlightenment.

I’ve now realized that it’s a mistake to equate success with the number of people you’ve affected—the most important thing is to be insightful about what ’s happening each moment. If my client base isn’t growing, that’s fine. Perhaps God is giving me the space to write this book I have been encouraged to write and continue exploring the “big picture.”

So how and when did I get so off-track as to think the way to enlightenment was through “likes”, “followers”, and how large your newsletter list is? How screwed up is that? I bit the hook. I signed up for all kinds of “you don’t have enough” courses. My direction was so far off-track that I lost my sense of trust, and the excitement of adventure with Source. I had started to feel as if I had lost my connection; I could no longer hear and see my guides as I could before. I was simultaneously ignoring and trampling on my true sense of self.

So, what’s the path to self-cultivation? For
me now, it’s daily living without
expectation, sheltering-in-place in my own
being, and being aware of my many
blessings.

In my early years as a presenter and speaker, I had so much confidence in what I was doing. I was invited to speak at, and accepted invitations to, national and international conferences. I was eager, I felt like I was on point and was soaring. The material was pouring out of me; between 2009 and 2011, I wrote and self-published three books. I was teaching what I was learning, and I was excited and ready for more.

2012, however, was a very bad year for me personally. Depression set in; suffering with a thyroid condition and other hormonal issues, I became a hermit, staying home, zoning out on movies, and not wanting to go anywhere. I had trouble getting myself together for conferences. I gained weight and, ironically, slowly became just like the people that I had always tried to help. It was the beginning of a very rough and sad five years, in which, because of the disharmony in my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies, I felt incapable of envisioning any kind of meaningful context for my life.

In search of that meaning, I read and re-read books with commentaries on famous Sutras: The Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra, the Platform Sutra known as The Sutra of Hui Neng: sutra spoken on the high seat of The Treasure of The Law, the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra. I pored over numerous self-help books, from Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda to works by Iyanla Vanzant, Wayne Dwyer, Eckhart Tolle, and the channeled entity Abraham. I read about Edgar Cayce, about Harry Edwards’ healing abilities, and about Lew Smith, a truly gifted healing dowser in the 1950s. Each of these teachers offered up nuggets of wisdom to my soul.

While trying to recover my sense of balance, I reached out to a few trusted friends, purchased an in-home elliptical exercise machine and tried to eat well. My husband was a wonderful support. He kept me laughing and was always reminding me how much he loved me through his words and actions. He gave me the breathing space to explore myself and offered helpful suggestions on reading materials (mainly the Heart Sutra and the teachings of the Zen sage Bodhidharma). He would tease me about my dowsing, asking if I got frequent flyer miles out of it. I finally now get the joke in a whole new way. It wasn’t just about the dowsing or the pendulum-spinning; I was also flying around a lot between my everyday pedestrian life and the upper or inner planes of my being.

So, what’s the path to self-cultivation? For me now, it’s daily living without expectation, sheltering-in-place in my own being, and being aware of my many blessings.

Love and Blessings,

Melinda