Tama Kieves was a Harvard-trained corporate lawyer doing what Harvard-trained corporate lawyers are “supposed” to do, when she realized her soul wanted to write books and poetry and help people find what their souls longed to do. Her first book This Time I Dance, is one of my absolute faves, and I love it so much I was almost nervous to read her latest book Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding In Your Life’s Work, which launches today.
Surely, it couldn’t be as brilliantly insightful, wildly vulnerable, and simultaneously poetic and prosaic? I was like the cinema fan who dreads watching the sequel for fear that it will disappoint. I reluctantly cracked open the copy Tama’s publisher sent me of her new book while sitting out on a patio overlooking the ocean in Sea Ranch.
The first chapter begins with “There’s only one note you came to sing” and goes on to read:
“We don’t choose our wildest dreams. They choose us… When we’re not using our deepest gifts, we can feel like trout thrashing about on a dock desperate to find water. It’s that necessary to find our calling. It’s eventually unbearable to deny our love, strength, and essence. We’ve said ‘yes’ to some sacred arrangement in the ethers, and here on earth - until we live our most meaningful dreams - we ache with the pangs of blessings unfulfilled.”
And just like that, my soul bubbled up and started screaming “SQUEEEEE!!!! YEEHAW!!! Tama’s back!!!” My soul was immensely relieved.
Finding your calling can be a loaded topic. If you’ve found it, you might wind up feeling relieved or even a bit superior. “Phew - check that one off my life list.” And if you haven’t, it can be a major source of spiritual and professional angst. The resulting inner ass-kicking can be exhausting.
Tama’s first book is all about helping you find your calling, as is Martha Beck’s Finding Your Own North Star and Gregg Levoy’s Callings. But Inspired & Unstoppable takes a different spin. This book hopscotches you past the nitty gritty of actually discovering your life’s purpose and, assuming you’re a visionary on a mission, it aims to help you navigate the complex landscape of what it means to know what you’re here on this earth to do, when the world often erects countless boundaries that get between you and your calling.
Unlike business books that offer typical business advice, such as how to write a business plan or how to get funding for your vision, Inspired & Unstoppable is more like a road map for your visionary soul - how to have the guts to be extraordinary in a world that longs for you to be like everybody else, how to navigate the dark nights of the soul that often accompany the visionary path, how to deal with the “experts” who threaten to derail you and how you can’t exactly plan an inspired life; you have to just let it unfold.
It also delves into what I often struggle with - the messy, slippery confusion between how much to “do” versus how much to just surrender and receive, and in the temptation to do, how much is just the ego ever-striving for proof that we are valuable, good people and how much is simply the price we pay for the privilege of bringing a vision to fruition. (Sticky stuff!)
This is not a “10 steps to bringing your vision to life” book. There are no promises that Tama - and only Tama - holds the keys to your success. Instead, it’s a deeply spiritual business book, one that teaches the zen of success, the boddhisatva’s path of one who longs to ease the suffering of others, and how to trust whatever shows up, even if it looks like “failure.”
For visionaries on a mission who feel frustrated, thwarted, misguided, a little bit lost, and maybe even downright ready to throw in the towel, Inspired & Unstoppable is a breath of fresh air, reminding us all that true, deep, lasting greatness never pops up as an overnight sensation. Instead, the life cycle of a visionary is a meandering path, full of uncertainty, pitfalls, confusing crossroads, and difficult to interpret signs.
If we’re to really fulfill our destiny and leave the legacy we feel called to leave, it takes growing some spiritual balls (or ovaries, as the case may be.) Finding and following your calling is not for the faint of heart, but it can be the most exciting, adventurous, spiritually-nurturing, personally and financially rewarding, heart-opening, faith-inducing rollercoaster ride of your life.
Too often, we convince ourselves that, if things aren’t going as planned, we have to DO more. Try harder. Strive. Push. Make it happen.
But often, what we need to do is do less - allow, surrender, receive, give without expecting to get, then sit back and watch the Universe pull out its magic wand to conjure up a Rolls Royce, when we were only asking for a Pinto.
Tama’s book reminds us that we often get the whole success thing backwards. We think, on the other end of some proverbial rainbow, lies the pot of gold that will bring us great joy. But as Tama writes, “Joy is a prerequisite of real success and not a result of it… The juiciness comes first and then you get a swimming pool or book deal.”
It’s really about conscious co-creation with the Divine (and she’s got some great interactive exercises to help you make it happen for yourself!) If you’re doing what you’re really here on this earth to do - rather than what your mother or your professor or your ego (who I call Victoria) wants you to do - the Universe will handle it. And trust me, babycakes - the Universe does not need you to be in charge. Really. You can breathe now.
Sometimes when it feels like you’re beating against brick wall after brick wall, it’s actually a sign that you’re not on the right path, that maybe you were meant to go left back when you went right, not because you’re a failure, but because you just need to autocorrect to stay on your life’s course.
When you operate in this feminine, relaxed, receptive way, rather than pushing in a more striving, masculine, assertive way, magical things start to open up. You can be less sperm, more egg. The Universe is just waiting to help you out, if only you let go of the freakin’ reins. (Really, you’ll be safe! I swear!)
So go ahead - drink up. Read Inspired & Unstoppable. Fill your cup. Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing, and let your calling guide you to whatever your soul is here to learn, experience and express. Stop trying so hard and just let yourself receive what it’s your birthright to receive. Along the way, you just might discover that it’s not only easier, but that you’re becoming wildly successful in every sense of the word.
How does this resonate with you? Tell us about your visionary dreams and any frustrations, obstacles, or inspiration for sticking to the path of the inspired. We’d love to hear your stories!
Grateful for unstoppable inspiration,
P.S. While Tama’s book is just the juice you’ll need to fulfill the spiritual hole many visionaries feel in the pit of their essence, sometimes what you need is nuts and bolts. If what you need is the nitty gritty deets on how to build your platform, learn how to network with your heroes and sheroes, score a big phat book deal, and attract more clients, sign up here for a free webinar for visionaries, which I’m co-hosting with Amy Ahlers, about how to avoid the mistakes we made - and what to do instead. Tama’s book and this webinar are like spiritual peas and carrots. I hope you’ll treat yourself to both.
Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness communities LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com,author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary.
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