“There are 2 very significant events in your life. One is when you are born; the other is when you discover why.” –unknown
Last weekend, I took an excellent workshop called Discover Your Sacred Gifts. It was recommended by a couple of people I knew, including the remarkable Denise Hagan. (she’s a great example of someone living their spiritual gifts)
The facilitator and founder, Monique MacDonald, said that we all have gifts but may not have recognized them. 90% of people never do. Sacred Gifts are not the same as skills or talents. They have a supernatural or unexplainable aspect to them. When we express our Sacred Gifts for others, we accomplish things beyond what a skilled process could. We’ve all experienced people who’s ‘genius’ exceeded comprehension when they were ‘in the zone.’ We may have even seen this in ourselves but were uncertain as to the cause or source. But we all have such gifts. We just need to recognize them and prepare the “vessel” (mind/emotions) to support them. The sacred gifts can sometimes be quite distinct from the personality and skills you may recognize.
This came in an email while I was taking the course.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” –Albert Einstein
I thought I knew myself pretty well, but there was some surprises. A few things I thought were obvious turned out not to be correct. Instead, they were the effects of other gifts that created similar qualities but have a distinct form and role. Understanding the actual gifts allows you to act from understanding and correct context rather than stumbling along. Monique gives a personal example in the second video below; two roles in the same organization. One was fulfilling, the other was burning her out. For me there was also a lot of re-framing I found quite valuable. Further, it’s a relief to be clear on what gifts we don’t have so we can let those expectations go. It was an excellent perspective and gave clarity and insight into purpose, roles, and gifts. There were revelatory insights for everyone I spoke with.
Our purpose in the world is to express our Sacred Gifts for others. Notably, Monique said we don’t have “a purpose.” We have sacred gifts. When we find a need in the world and express our gifts to address it, then we are living “on purpose“. We experience joy, we produce miracles, and the world is further healed. Over time, the need may change so the role may shift but the gifts remain.
She paraphrases Aristotle: “Where your gifts and a need in the world cross, therein lies your purpose.”
Participants ranged from a 15-year-old to a senior and included prior participants, now ready to engage them. The ample support staff was populated by people who have taken certification to teach the program themselves.
The program has an unusual history. The founder discovered a program in the Catholic church on supernatural gifts. Intrigued by the unusual combination, she took the course and found it personally profound. She trained as a teacher of it, then decided to bring it out into the larger world, secularized it and made it more meaningful.
I did some research prior to the course and found the Biblical references to the Charisma’s or supernatural abilities. But the language and context did not make it very relevant or clear. What are we to make of Obedience or Penance? The Sacred Gifts program is quite an improvement. Without the religious baggage, it supports a much larger community.
Monique also observed that Ascended Masters would have all the gifts. This suggests more gifts would arise later in the spiritual journey. This makes sense. For one, the Yoga Sutras outline the supernormal abilities that arise with the maturing of liberation. The Kundalini Vidya folk correlate this with the opening of the petals of the crown chakra and the corresponding petals and energy channels in the lower chakras. Similarly, the Kala system of India uses abilities to indicate the degree of an avatar.
The Sacred Gifts program is available both at in person workshops (in the Pacific Northwest) and via audio (prerecorded) versions for download. The price is quite reasonable. While in person is ideal and a few people had come a long ways for it, the download version of the course gives you the option of relistening to the talks to help process the information. I suspect it would also be less intense than a concentrated weekend. Workshop participants can also purchase the recordings for review as an option. Coaching is available if you need support, though I found the people I spoke with had become pretty clear by the end. The program is well designed.
Here’s a bit of an introduction to hear Monique in action.
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odkqaAFJLJs