We are a busy people. Busy. Busy. It's true. We are actually busy. No matter what we are busy with and if you're reading this piece, it means that we are connected, in some way, with the life of being a spiritual leader. As such, we do not punch in or punch out, even though we try in order to maintain a healthful balance in life. After all, we cannot serve and we cannot lead and we cannot bear witness when we are running on empty. And yet, I'm not writing about self care.
A spiritual leader tends to groups of beings that need sustenance that might otherwise be unavailable to them, who need organization that wouldn't come unless someone blessed with vision for a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts leads a practical process; who need encouragement and empowerment to exceed the hurtful limitations that have been handed down to them. We need to eat and organize to have impact so that we can free ourselves and others from all matters of bondage.
Last week, just when I was getting to the point of overload because of the too many plates spinning (very wobbily) in the air, I got a text from a soul acquaintance who hails from my place of spiritual pilgrimage -- the borderlands of El Paso, Texas. Chef Roman Wilcox asked for "a floor to crash on" for himself and his two new socially enterprising partners who were on a road trip and in town to research instances of community building through food. The first legs of their trip had already exceeded their expectations. The people they met greeted them in warm and instant friendship with bonds of beautiful and healthy food ideas that feed people who are most in need of such abundance and who are essential ingredients of community life. The simple part of Chef Roman's goal? Make healthy food cheaper than fast food.
In the days that followed, Roman and I would consecrate our friendship as siblings in spirit. As such, we wandered through my 'hood together --- talking, talking, talking; telling our stories (and gathering insights about ourselves) and then being overwhelmed and quiet (we extroverts DO need downtime ya know....). I took him to the places in my life where people gather around food and friendship. We extended his road trip and headed up to Portland Maine and matched pace with our mutual peep, Jenn McAdoo. We were grasshoppers watching Jenn HER spiritual work of building friendships around sharing material goods as well as empowering permaculture cross cultural cooperatives.
Sometimes collaboration is an intentional process -- a scheduled act that a team of professionals undergoes to imagine the Best New Thing in a context of ultimate, shared vision. Tech innovation companies do this as a matter of course. Some religious traditions do this as a spiritual practice. Teens do this if they are lucky enough to be in some sort of youth group that engages in team building activities. But sometimes collaboration is a message from spirit and a surprise text on your least energetic day. Collaboration is defined as "enhancing the capacity of another." You can't know ahead of time what will happen. By definition, collaboration hates hierarchy. It wrecks the spiritual act. Collaboration is an act of surrender through trust, faith, and deeper/higher purpose.
Chef Roman and I bonded over our shared trust in divign (divine + align) way we came together. We didn't need to know. We are both sitting in separate states but in the same spirit. We enriched each other. We enhanced our capacity of each other by walking towards Call, together as siblings in faith.
Did I have time to drop everything for a stretch of liminal days? Hell no! But drop everything, I did. I am exhausted and grateful and have a fuller vision because of Roman passing through my life. It's not mine to know if he feels the same. I have to believe.