It’s about an American woman who undertook a spiritual odyssey in Australia. She was invited to join an Aboriginal walkabout deep into the outback.
Although there was controversy as to the truth of the story, it had a deep impact on me. What struck me at the time was that each member of the tribe practicing this ancient rite received a name according to his or her gift – “Water Finder”, “Spirit Woman”, “Healer”, Sewing Master.
I reflected on this during my morning devotions and shyly asked, “Do I have a name?”
Instantly, the words, “traveling woman” came into my mind. I wasn’t particularly delighted by that, although it was prophetic in that my husband and I were soon traveling throughout the world more and more to present The Virtues Project, invited by governments, schools and faith communities from Yap in the North Pacific to the Cook Islands, Inuvik in the Arctic Circle to Europe, New Zealand and Australia.
I later asked in meditation if I had any other name and heard the word, “Adapter”.
“What does that even mean?” I wondered, quite mystified. After my prayer time, I walked into the kitchen and saw a small, plain cardboard box on the counter. I turned it over and it said, “Adapter” and something like, “connecting a device with a power source that could not otherwise connect directly.”
I was astonished, of course, by this external confirmation of an inner prompting, and began reflecting. In my work as the author of the virtues books and materials, my intent was to connect people with the timeless truths in their own spiritual traditions and beliefs, to make the sacred accessible in everyday life. Dan, my brother John, and I and a growing number of Virtues Project facilitators were helping ourselves and others to focus on the practice of justice, discernment, kindness, service, trustworthiness, and the other virtues.
The prime minister of the Solomon Islands told us, “You have brought to light the virtues buried in the Bible,” and attributed his willingness to serve in office to a virtues pick he had done with us a few years before.
He opened his desk drawer and brought out the card of “Service”.
“That is when I knew I had to serve my people.” Every Holy Book speaks of the virtues as the very meaning and purpose of life: “The fruits of the spirit” (Galatians 5:22-26) “We are here to acquire the virtues of the Kingdom.” (Baha’i Writings) “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.” (Doctrine & Covenants121:45 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).
“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind.” Gautama Buddha. Assisting people of many cultures to make that “virtues connection”, bringing their inner gifts to life has been a deeply fulfilling mission.
In order to know yourself in the light of your gifts and virtues, you may have to clear up some unfinished business - find forgiveness and make amends for a past hurt either done by you or to you, or heal an addiction, which can cloud the mind and block the spirit.
Try a little experiment. Bearing in mind your personal strengths and abilities, what name comes to mind? One of my friends has learned by understanding her dreams, that she is a “light-bringer”. Another I call “the pure-hearted”.
Each of us was given a part to play in the Divine plan. Discerning it with as much clarity as possible allows us to live the good life, and find genuine happiness.