Enlightening The World
Founding Partners
Faculty & Associates
Workshops & Institutes
Executive Coaching
Client Comments
Web Links
The Event Horizon: Essays On Our Spiritual Journey
Empowerment Stories
Networking Groups
Paul Houston's Blog: Political pH
Contact Us
Center for Enlightened Leadership

Part Four of My Three-Part Journey: Daring to Dream

  Robert W. Cole

Robert W. Cole
Managing Editor
and Senior Associate

These days my attention seems to be centered on my own spiritual well-being. After my previous column, “Three-Part Journey” (August 2013), my friend and colleague Christa Metzger concluded that I had arrived at my spiritual destination. Not at all, dear Christa—in fact, many days I feel that I’ve just begun the journey. Every day is different and carries its own challenges. My life is still very much a work in progress.

Mostly I focus on this life path and where it will take me. I am, after all, only 68. My mother lived to be 94; her mother, days short of 100.

I have work yet to do—and, I pray, time in which to do it.

Earlier this week I marveled at a plumber friend: Nick Gismondi, a lifelong Long Islander who’s making plans to move to North Carolina when he retires. An avid fisherman, he sold his 24-foot boat and doesn’t plan to buy another until he and his family are residents of the Tarheel State. He and his son are shopping for land that he can hold onto until he’s ready to build a house. Naturally, the property has to be close to fishing. He’s even picked out the county. Intention with a capital I.

Similarly, I marvel at the manner in which my valued colleague Tom Vona planned his life path. (Read his article, “Turning Intention into Reality,” in this issue.) Tom began plotting his lifelong career in education when he was a sophomore in high school. Really, Tom—high school? When I was in high school—or even graduating from college—I had not a clue what I’d be doing in this lifetime.

Okay, full disclosure: I’m still foggy about my path. I have four grown children and three (nearly four) grandchildren. I’ve worked at an array of semi-related kinds of jobs over the decades—most of them having to do with the written or spoken word. And, incredibly, I’m still making it all up as I go along! For me, for most of my life, goals and dreams have not played a large role. Let’s just say that they were not paid much heed in my growing-up years. A lot of what I did (say, the kind of work I pursued) ended up being grounded in what I liked to do and could do: writing, editing, speaking, without much consideration to career paths or monetary compensation. And because the Universe was kind to me, as if I were one of the lilies of the field, I did passably well without setting goals, without dreaming dreams and making bucket lists. For which I am very, very grateful.

But that’s a valid way of working out your life, my partner said sympathetically: being open to the Universe and the messages you receive from Source. Listening to messages from the Universe is vitally important, she added. I must point out, grumpily, that my partner is mission-driven in her life; she is blessed (and cursed) with a calling. Her path has been pretty clear to her for some time. My path, however, feels far murkier to me, though not at all dire or unpleasant. I feel akin to a master mason who has all the right tools and has plied his trade in quite satisfying ways quite often. Is it too much to hope for another cathedral to work on? Surely this is the place to apply Intention, yes?

Yes, absolutely it is. But I’ve discovered, to my sheer delight, that it’s not necessary to begin practicing Intention by envisioning a cathedral. You chuckle at this teeny revelation of mine, but remember that it comes from someone who has preposterously little experience with practicing Intention.

My revelatory experience of Intention in my life started with an article in the Los Angeles Times about a car. I read the article on a Southwest flight from LA to New York, and I said words that I had never before uttered in this lifetime: “I. Want. That. Car.” It’s true: I had never desired a car. I’d always been vaguely happy with whatever vehicle I happened to be driving. (Oh, I’ve always voiced an abstract lust for a Corvette, but not to the point that I was moved to action.) This article from Car and Driver, about a car just barely released—the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST Turbo—made steam come out of my ears. I desired it as I had never before desired any automobile. This guy is bonkers, you may be thinking. Or possibly: Give me a break! Who hasn’t felt that way at one time or another? I hadn’t, that’s who. Ever.

Not one of those astoundingly seductive little cars was yet available on Long Island, I found. Nor in Louisville, Kentucky, my other home. But there was one lone cousin to the object of my desire at a Ford dealership across the river from Louisville, in Clarksville, Indiana: a 2013 Ford Focus ST Turbo that had been traded in early by a buyer who had discovered he couldn’t live without a pickup truck. (I love Hoosiers.) And it was…Loaded. To picture it, think six-speed Batmobile with a Sirius radio. After a chat with my banker, it became mine. To celebrate, I drove the 800 miles from Louisville to Long Island in a delicious day and a half. Pure delight. Intention made flesh—well, metal.

Two weeks after that unforgettable road trip, trying to write abstractly about turning Intention into reality, I encountered day after day of frustration. I know nothing about this topic, I groused. “Send my roots rain,” I pleaded, as did Gerard Manley Hopkins more than a century before me. Sent specifically to answer my plea, two macho guys working on the house next door said to me, “Cool car! New turbo, right?” And I, whose rides had never before been an object of any notice, and had certainly never been a projection of my own desire, thought, “Hmm…I get it, Lord, I do. My Intention created this reality.” I’m exceedingly grateful. Words fail me, really, and for a change that’s lovely.  

Center for Empowered Leadership ®
Email: info@cfel.org
Phone: 1.609.259.7911