Spiritual Growth Through Metaphysical Coaching
What Really Happened — Reading Between the Lines
By Laura Svolos, Swami of The Temple of Kriya Yoga
My quest for spiritual wisdom officially began with Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” and ended with the Bhagavad Gita.
A lot happened in-between…
And a lot happened before…
I have basically been a seeker all my life. In my early 20s, I was seeking adventure and an exciting career. I got both. After graduating from college, I went to Washington D.C. to look for a job because I had become very interested in the relationship between politics and the media after taking a class on the subject during my senior year. After someFree Coaching Consultation networking and a short stint at a public relations firm, I landed a job on Capitol Hill with Senator Tom Daschle in the press department.
There were only two of us in that department – the press secretary and me. And it was an aggressive operation. Each week, we issued 15 press releases along with radio and television feeds. This was a great experience and I grew up fast having so much pressure and responsibility on me at such a young age. I enjoyed working with the media so much that I decided to pursue a career in journalism.
In my mid-20s, I went back to school to get my master’s degree in journalism. Midway through the program, another enterprising student and I learned that Kellogg business students were going to Moscow to learn about the economic changes going on in the country. We thought Medill (our journalism school) should be doing something similar since glasnost was having such an impact on press freedom. So we found a professor who had some scholarship funds that had not been spent yet and we convinced him that sending us to Moscow would be a good use of his money. A few weeks later, we were in Moscow videotaping interviews with well-known Russian and American journalists. (We also met some thieves, a former KGB agent, and a very nice fellow who turned out to be part of the Russian mafia.) There were so many stories that came out of that short trip to Moscow but I won’t go into them here.
Upon graduation, I was hired by the former bureau chief of NBC news in London to join a start-up cable news operation in the Chicago area. After six months of one-man-band reporting in which I shot, edited, and reported my own stories, NBC pulled the plug before we even got on the air. This experience soured me on the news business. However I realized how much I loved editing video. So I thought I would combine that love with my love for movies.
While deciding what my next move would be, I took a part-time job for The Princeton Review, a preparatory course for students taking the SAT, LSAT, and GMAT. I taught students how to improve their math and verbal SAT scores. Later, I started teaching the LSAT. Also during this period, the seeds of my spiritual path were sown – though I really wasn’t conscious of it at the time. I started questioning why money and career were important. I also began wondering what the purpose of life was. Looking back, I realize I was in a mild state of depression. A close friend recommended that I watch the Monty Python film, “The Meaning of Life,” which oddly enough marked the beginning of my quest for spiritual wisdom. But the spiritual path took a back seat as my ego was still very strong and that ego was leading me to Hollywood.
One day on a whim, I wrote a letter to a Hollywood film producer who made a movie that I liked a lot. To my complete surprise, the film producer called me. I thought it was a friend playing a practical joke. It wasn’t. Long story short, I got a job on his next film…which was the good news. The bad news was they couldn’t sign a lead actor. It was a waiting game and I was running out of money. So I took the letter that I wrote to this producer and adapted it into a form letter that didn’t look like a form letter. I sent it to 400 studio executives and producers in Hollywood which yielded about 20 interviews with various producers, including Samuel Goldwyn Jr. (I actually got a letter from him that said how much he liked my letter!).
I ended up getting a job with a major producer at Warner Bros. studios. In-between pouring a lot of coffee, I critiqued screenplays by writing two-page analyses, which is called “coverage” in the business. After a year with this producer, I realized he wasn’t making the types of films that I would pay money to see. So I went to work for a smaller, independent film production and distribution company. About a year later, Los Angeles experienced a major earthquake, which shook me to my core.
Prior to the earthquake, I had started to really question what I was doing with my life. I was seeking something but didn’t know what. I had started buying books on Buddhism and religion in general. And I recall wishing I had more time to read. Well, I got it. After going through the earthquake, I became totally fatigued and anxiety-ridden. I went to all kinds of doctors. Everyone had a theory. No one cured me. I left Los Angeles and returned to Illinois to recuperate. I basically crashed and burned. This was the beginning of my “dark period.” I was 29.
While recuperating from my mysterious fatiguing illness, I started reading the Bible. I thought to myself: “Here I was working in the story business of Hollywood and I didn’t even know the oldest story in the world.” At some point, while reading the New Testament, there was a seminal moment in which my faith was born. I remember that all of my anxiety seemed to wash away in that moment. I realized that we have absolutely nothing to worry about! And I remember thinking how funny this life was! By no means was this my moment of enlightenment. I didn’t have a feeling of “oneness” – but it was a moment of deep knowingness and peace. On some level, this feeling has stuck with me to this day.
This was an end and a beginning for me. I remember telling a friend that I was officially off of the career path. It just didn’t matter anymore. And it marked the beginning of a serious, single-minded search for spiritual wisdom. I was still in the dark about many things, including why we were all here. So for the next ten years, I started reading and taking courses which began with a year-long Bible study course at a Methodist church and culminated with a seminary program at The Temple of Kriya Yoga.
At this point, I was 30 years old and I needed to go back to work. But I was very confused about what to do. I knew I wanted to apply my skills toward something that made a difference in people’s lives. I sought career counseling and took the Myers-Briggs, which was remarkably accurate in reflecting the internal transition that I was undergoing at that time. The test pegged me as being between an ENFP and INFP. ENFP’s are journalists and fundraisers, among other things. INFP’s are priests. I toyed with the idea of medical school but I really didn’t want to go back to school again to find out later that it wasn’t the right career for me. I felt that I needed to take more time to let things settle. So I went into nonprofit fundraising as a transitional career move. I stayed in that career for ten years, while studying metaphysics, physics, religion and spiritual wisdom. By the end of my 30s, after a lot of left and right turns, I found my spiritual home at The Temple of Kriya Yoga and enrolled in the seminary program to become a swami (a priest of Kriya Yoga). At the age of 40, I graduated from the program.
It’s funny what happens to your “career” when your ego finally takes a back seat and spirit takes the lead. When I started my first job in nonprofit, I could not have cared less about moving up the career ladder and yet it happened in spite of myself rather quickly. At the age of 30, I took an entry level job as a grant writer with the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse (which has since changed its name to Prevent Child Abuse America). At the time, they were still searching for someone to be my manager. They were looking for someone with five years of nonprofit managerial experience. After three months on the job, the director of the department took me out for a drink and told me they had found the person who was going to be my boss but this person didn’t have any experience. I replied, “That’s ok. I didn’t have any experience either and you hired me.” She then said, “It’s you. We’re hiring you to manage this area.” I could not have been more surprised. I had no managerial experience, no experience in fundraising, and a total of three months experience in nonprofit.
So for the next two years, I managed the corporate and foundation relations area of the fundraising department. I hired two grant writers. This was an intensely demanding and stressful job. At any one point in time, we were cultivating more than 200 potential donors and prospects. We were constantly under deadline pressure. By year four, I had been promoted several times and was the Acting Director of the Communications and Marketing Department. I was managing a staff of five.
During those four-and-a-half years, I had witnessed incredible staff turn-over at every level including the top position, which changed three times. I thought all of the turn-over contributed to a toxic workplace and I wanted to go somewhere more stable. The Executive Director tried to get me to stay by offering me a new position in which I would be the director of two departments – the Communications and Marketing Department and the Resource Development Department (Fundraising). However no amount of money or prestige would get me to stay because I really just wanted a healthy, balanced life and that meant working in a healthy work atmosphere.
I took a job at Children’s Memorial Hospital Foundation where I managed the communications department of the Foundation, which consisted of five full-time employees and three contractual staff. The Foundation was a prototypical fundraising operation and it was in the midst of a $100 million capital campaign. After 10 months, we were within reach of the goal. So the head of the foundation stretched the goal to $135 million. Though there was indeed more stability at the Foundation, it was even more toxic then my former workplace because the staff was totally burnt out. I started working from my home once a week to escape. I realized how much I loved the peace and quiet of my home and how productive I was in that environment.
So after about a year, I decided to take a leap and start my own consulting business. This is when I started to apply the metaphysical and spiritual lessons (and Spiritual Coaching) that I had been studying. Without this spiritual foundation, I would have been crippled by fear and anxiety. My goal was to create a healthy, balanced lifestyle that would afford me the time to continue my studies. And I am happy to say I achieved it beyond my expectations. After a few years, I grew the business, scaled back my hours, and increased my revenue. By year five, I was working 2-3 hours a day and making six figures. And importantly, I was able to put myself through a rigorous seminary program. I also had time in my schedule to volunteer my services as a spiritual life coach and meditation teacher.
Last year, I turned 40. I graduated from the seminary program. I turned over my business to another consultant. I sold my home in Chicago. And I went to Europe for a three-month sabbatical. Today, I am relocating to Los Angeles where I plan to help people restore balance in their lives and their bodies through spiritual coaching, teaching and sound and color therapy.
After a lot of twists and turns, ups and downs, I am happy to say that I have found the answers to the questions that I was seeking and I have found what it is that I am supposed to do in this life. Now it’s time to enjoy and to help others find their way to more freedom, balance, and happiness.
Spiritual Life Coach — Laura Svolos
Kriya Yoga Life Coach — What Is Kriya Yoga?
Christian Life Coach – On Forgiveness
Other Pages on Spiritual Coaching:
Health and Spiritual Coaching
Spiritual Life Coaching
Spiritual Life Coach — At Feroce
Meditation and Yoga for Depression
Holistic Relationship Coach — Christina Winsey-Rudd
Intuitive Life Coaching
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