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"Turning to the Light of God Within," published in the Daily Word, December 2006

Twenty-five years ago I was working as a human resources manager in the corporate world. My brother Bobby called me at my office and asked if we could have lunch. He was in a crisis over breaking up with a girlfriend he loved and was turning to me for emotional support. I explained that I was sorry, but I was just too busy with my work to have lunch with him that day. The next day Bobby was killed in a car accident.

The devastating loss of my brother was a wake-up call to show me I needed spiritual guidance in making changes in my priorities. However, I was raised in a church where there was very little talk about inner guidance. The focus was on God out there, not God within. Within the next fifteen months, two other tragedies struck: my husband and I divorced, and my father died. Crying almost continually over the next six months, I felt so depressed that I was very close to committing suicide.

Then, while walking on the beach near my home in Connecticut, I had an incredible experience. As I was looking at the light shimmering on the water, I felt God call me back to fully live my life. Suddenly I lost all sense of grief and anger and the desire to end my life. This was the moment when I began turning to the light of God within and accepting God’s unconditional love. Over time I learned that the light on the water symbolized the light of God that is within me.

Hungry to learn more about this holy inner light, I began a daily practice of prayer and meditation. Every morning at dawn, I would awake, light a candle, and sit in the silence. In that silence, the awareness of my inner light grew stronger.

My friend Viva began to minister to me, giving me new insight into the Bible. I felt as if the Holy Spirit was speaking through her to me, telling me how much God loved me. Viva sent me Daily Word magazine. I read it every day, learning from the messages and scriptures at the bottom of the pages. Turning to the Silent Unity prayer ministry for support, I was greatly blessed.

Through a transformation that began with God’s message to me at the beach, I was able to reconcile the dilemmas of my life and be reunited with friends and family whom I had alienated. What I really wanted to do was bring peace to myself and to others.

Exploring different avenues of ministry for myself, I discovered that several denominations offered training for spiritual directors, lay people who were dedicated to helping others on their spiritual journeys. I received my training at an ecumenical center, among people from many faiths.

I really listened to inner guidance for what my next steps were to be. I felt guided to take a sabbatical and move to Northern California, near Mount Tamalpais. On my way cross-country, I had another powerful spiritual experience: I awoke one morning and heard these words, "It’s time to know who you are so that you can help others be who they are."

I was on my way to discovering who I was as a child of God and learning about the greatness of divine gifts. These are God-given gifts—my birthright to claim. I learned that conflicts can be faced and peace will prevail when we focus on our gifts and strengths. I began to understand that this is what we are all here on earth to do.

I remained in California for nearly eighteen months. Each day I would sit on a large rock at a scenic overlook of the mountain and continue to listen to my inner guidance. It became very clear to me that God was opening a new door.

When I returned to work, I felt continually guided by Spirit as one job led to another. Five years later the United Nations passed the Persian Gulf Resolution. Disturbed about the war, I knew I had to go to the UN, a place I hadn’t visited since I was a junior in high school. Yet God’s love was pulling me there with the invitation: "Please, come with Me."

I boarded a train to New York, and a woman who worked at the UN sat down next to me. In conversation, we discovered that we had the same birthday. As we continued to talk, we felt as if we were longtime friends. She opened the door to the UN for me.

All I did at the UN in the beginning was listen to the people, wondering where I would fit in. As I listened, I found out what they felt they needed in order to be leaders in peace. I decided to do my master’s thesis project at the UN. Eventually I designed a new leadership model called Reconciliation Leadership™, a way to act from one’s unique calling to reconcile challenges peacefully.

I believe peace begins within each person, and it then radiates out from individual to individual into the world. I help people discover elements of peace within themselves and find their special calling and unique gift.

The Reconciliation Leadership Training Program helps people claim their lives’ missions and learn personal, interpersonal, group, and global skills for being peacemakers. There are people of many faiths working with me. I don’t impose my faith on them. Rather, I offer that our faith unites us even as we each follow our own inner light.

The program for Reconciliation Leadership is now a sixteen-course certificate program, not just for those in the UN, but for anyone who feels a calling to leadership. The best of our humanity is needed now. That best comes forward as we claim it from the light of God within us. It does take some discernment, some listening, some willingness to be in prayer and open to divine revelations. Then we listen to others, not to advocate for our own way, but rather to affirm the sacredness of each person’s divinity.

Sometimes we may look to a mentor or a teacher to help us with that unfolding process. The most important part of what I do now is helping people find and claim their spiritual identity and live from the peace of God that is always there. Once we realize that we’re here for a reason and claim it, we bring hope to others and also to ourselves. Living from this purpose, I have so much hope for a peaceful, reconciled world.

© 2012