Four years ago, on Easter Sunday, I was sitting with some girlfriends having dinner. One of my friends mentioned a program she was applying for called the Millennial Trains Project. She said it was a crowdfunded, ten-day train journey for diverse groups of change making millennials. Stopping in ten cities across the Northern region of the U.S., this sounded like it would be a great time and an even greater adventure. I was intrigued.
A couple of days later, I decided to read through the site and application. I had no idea what type of project I would lead. As I learned more about past participants, I realized that no one had discussed religion, spirituality, or the role they played in the lives of Millennials. I let conscience be my guide, and I applied.
I titled my project, “Spiritual, Not Religious.” The premise was to drive conversations about how Millennials were moving away from the religious practices of their parents and forging their own spiritual journeys. In each city, I sought to explore different religions and spiritual traditions. From a holy sanctuary in Portland to a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Seattle, an Intuitive, Psychic Medium in Whitefish, Montana, to a Holistic healer steeped in African traditions in Brooklyn; I dared to go far outside of my comfort zone.
While riding on the train, I shared conversations with Muslim Americans, Black Atheist, and White Agnostics. We talked about our families, our connections to religion, and how we were choosing to live our lives in the present. When I would get off the train in cities to go spend time with Scientologist, Buddhist and Psychic Mediums, there would always be a peaked level of interest by my fellow voyagers. Everyone wanted to know what I learned from the experience.
As we journeyed across the plains and through the mountains, I had numerous encounters with the Creator. I looked at the majestic beauty of Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. I experienced organic farms, ecological centers and sustainable ways of living. I was quickly learning, God was in everything and could be found everywhere.
Spirituality is a journey that is both personal and sacred. It is a quest for personal development, but most importantly, it is a pilgrimage on the path to personal well-being. I didn’t know it at the time, but MTP was sending me on an expedition to find spirit and truth for myself.
The spirit of God existed long before there were Christians, Jews, Muslims or Hindu. Spirituality begets no pretense and has no specific religious doctrine. Spirituality is a belief that all living beings have some level of consciousness and divinity within them. It is clear to me now that God remains God whether he, she or it has worshippers or not. God remains God whether there is a building to gather or if there are songs to sing. God abides in us all. God is and forever will be; God.
When I learned about MTP on that Easter Sunday, I had no idea that it would open the door for new relationships with people around the globe or afford me the opportunity to raise my voice as a spiritual thought leader at the White House.
Your journey BEYOND begins the moment you seek to become connected to the broader world around you. When you let go of preconceived notions about who you are and who you think others are, you open yourself up to becoming more delightfully human.
Breaking away from the norm takes an act of bravery. It is a daunting task, but it is vital for you to create a life of destiny. Marianne Williamson says, “It takes courage to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness.” Your comfort zone will never be the key to your success. Your greatness is just waiting for you to step out of the boat and walk on the water of your own life.