10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Making Spirituality My Career - Onespirit Ministers in Connection

10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Making Spirituality My Career

Let us introduce guest blogger – Rev’d April Kling Meyer, who has kindly allowed us to repost her blog to our site. Please visit do take a look at April’s own website HERE.

I have 5 solid years of experience being a professional spiritual practitioner. In the grand scheme of things, that isn’t very far along a career of any kind, and as far as a career in spirituality, linear time is a poor measure of how experienced someone is. That all depends on marked occasions of initiation– lessons-learned, along with the rituals that maintain the lesson and ceremonies that document them– and a willingness to receive wisdom as fully as we give it. As far as that measurement goes for me, I have gone through a whole lot of initiation and ceremony, with a high likelihood (universe willing) that I have many, many more ahead. This is a great point along my timeline to share what I’ve learned so far as an advanced-beginner, in hopes that if you, reading this, are deciding or have decided to pursue a career in spirituality, you can

  • receive some assurances from my own experience,
  • know that you’re not alone,
  • avoid some of my pitfalls, and 
  • receive some encouragement, too.
  1. THE CALLING HAPPENS BOTH SUDDENLY AND GRADUALLY. You’ll find yourself gravitating towards matters of spirituality more and more as the calling beckons you forth, and when the calling arrives as a dawning, foundation-rocking realization, that you belong in spirituality as a practitioner, you look back on a lifetime of feeling pulled towards it. You will also see along that same timeline all the ways in which you were forbidden, prevented, and discouraged to pursue your own unique spiritual path were also what encouraged you to take the necessary steps that forged that same path, and so…
  2. PARADOX IS THE GREATEST HOLDER OF DEEP, POWERFUL TRUTHS. Wherever you find that contradictory facts are somehow both true, or that you can hold opposite opinions about the same notion, or that there are many facets to a problem and all of them are valid, you will find yourself a very prolific source of wisdom. One very potent example of this in the spirituality business is that we have an enormous pressure on us to both a) transcend wealth and materialism and b) prove our abilities as practitioners by obtaining wealth and material possessions. You will be hailed and railed for either or both, no matter how much of either you possess. For example, if you live in a simple mountain cottage such as myself, people both see me as wealthy beyond measure and yet also as not rich and powerful enough to take me seriously. They’re all correct, yet they’re all wrong. Wherever you are along the measure of poverty-to-wealth, you have wisdom to offer. Remember that.
  3. EMBRACE ALCHEMY. One of the ways paradox will present itself is in setbacks, slights, failures, and obstacles that cause you enormous pain while they simultaneously act as jet fuel for your capital ‘P’ Purpose. One example of this is creating a really excellent, beautiful program or “offering,” and marketing this to the letter– consistently, clearly, and continuously– and, despite your perfect calculations and spirit-led guidance on how to price this brilliant course or fabulous retreat, not selling it to a soul. This will happen. It will hurt. It sucks… that is, until you realize you have just completed a brilliant marketing campaign that people will remember the next time you make another offering, or the next, or the next. Keep– and I cannot stress this enough– going. “How could I possibly keep going in the face of so much rejection?” you might ask. Alchemize it, which literally means, turn the shit situation you’re in, into gold. Alchemists are ruthlessly persistent and they are always willing to try something new, something wild, something risky, just something. There’s always some massive lesson in anything you do, especially in the ways we’re thrown a curve and miss the mark. That’s why there’s sin. That’s why there’s shadow. Make it into gold, or jet fuel, for the next stage of your spiritual process and practice, and then, give that wisdom to your clients. 
  4. BUILD AND MAINTAIN CAREFUL BOUNDARIES. In hip-hop culture this is referred to as “f*ck the haters,” but I wish to expand and expound on this concept to include many who seem to have your best interests in mind, who seem to know what’s up, who seem to know more than you, who seem to have it all figured out and maybe even seem very much to want to help you. Ignore those who speak in absolutes. You will be given much advice and feedback as a spiritual practitioner at any level, and for whatever reason, most of it will be unsolicited, and even more of it will be unhelpful. It may come from a variety of sources inside and outside of the spirituality industry– from your family, from your old friends, from the priest at the church you used to go to. So yes, this especially includes the uninvited help from other spiritual practitioners, and even more especially includes some of the spiritual practitioners you seek to aid you, and that you pay them for the privilege of teaching you.  Carry yourself with self-respect and do not accept derision. A lot of people out there think spirituality is a joke and will not support you, and may even try to cut you down. This may even come in the form of bad advice and outright discouragement. I have lost count of how many people have told me that “spirituality is silly/stupid/cringe” or who’ve told me I lack specific skills/wisdom/experience they happen to possess, or even that I suck at marketing myself. There are a myriad of approaches to the spirituality business, including that it shouldn’t be a business at all (see # 2) but essentially there are two I want to mention here, that are weirdly kind of the same thing…
  5. AVOID TOXIC POSITIVITY. You will absolutely encounter people who will take great pleasure in telling you aren’t thinking positively enough, that you aren’t “clear” enough (while being incredibly unclear about what “clear” means), that you aren’t trusting enough in the universe, and my personal favorite, that you aren’t feeling enough gratitude to receive abundance or success. They’re not wrong, but they’re not entirely correct. “To everything, there is a season,” says the Old Testament, which echoes an even more ancient wisdom– life ebbs and flows in the same way nature does. It’s okay to feel what you feel about ebbs, just promise yourself that you notice the flows when they arrive, and feel that joy, too. Sometimes you will find yourself in the situation of simultaneously having enough to keep you technically alive but not enough to keep you thriving. It will feel scary and it’s okay to be scared. Toxic positives will have you believing that feeling scared or anything but GrAtiTuDe is going to harm your chances at success. It might if you get stuck there, but if they’re telling you that if you feel scared at all it means you’re going to fail, there’s nothing positive at all about that. These “positive vibes only” people are not beholding their own paradoxical beliefs, oblivious to the wisdom of the contradictions that fear vs. bravery offer, for example. They do themselves a disservice, and they’ll try to pass that disservice onto you in the form of “helping.” Set boundaries with people like this as soon as you catch a whiff of the words “you’re not being ____ enough.” Being told you’re not enough of anything is your signal to cut and run.
  6. WATCH OUT FOR THE GREED YOU FIND, WITHIN AND WITHOUT. There are people out there posing as spiritual types who are vastly uninitiated, untrained, unsupported, and unsupervised and they can be extremely dangerous and quite typically motivated purely by greed. Don’t be like this and don’t closely associate with anyone who is. They are hungry for money, attention, validation, and clientele for the sake of having money, attention, validation, and clientele, and not for any other reason like, say, helping people heal from trauma or expand their horizons. Spirituality can be a very lucrative business for people to pose as if they have all the answers. In fact, if someone positions themselves as having all the answers, run. They don’t want to help you, they want you to admire them, believe them, follow them, and above all else, enhance their wealth. If you get swept up in their fold, they’ll have you believing you are somehow never clear/gracious/open/positive enough to be a success, and hold you in a really difficult codependency cycle in which you feel the need to constantly prove to them how clear/gracious/open/positive you are, but they are motivated to keep you never enough of any of those things so that you keep paying them to make you clear/gracious/open/positive enoughsomeday. Admittedly, there’s a part of this behavior that resides in all spiritual practitioners, including me, and including you. Watch out for this wherever it appears. It loves to pop up while you’re marketing yourself, inside your head, and in your comment threads, and among the practitioners you work alongside. You will know it when it feels unsafe and causes your body to feel a sense of unease. Let this unease come and go as it may. By all means, also have goals, even financial ones for your business– it’s a business, after all– but do everything you can to withhold judgment about whether you make or fail at achieving these goals, and furthermore, avoid the constant temptation to assign some sort of meaning of your success or failure to the health of your relationship with God/Spirit/Source/Universe. These aforementioned folks who espouse toxic positivity beliefs would have you believe that wealth is a measure of God’s favor, or your attunement with the universe, or your connection to spirit, etc. There could be some relation, but move into that inquiry with tremendous self-compassion and do everything you can to release judgment fully or you may find yourself in really dark emotional misfortune.PLEASE NOTE WITH REGARD TO #’S 4-6: Give the types of people who trigger your unease as little attention as possible. If you are already in deep with a person or organization like this, make an exit plan and set a deadline for your full completion of whatever contracting, program, or container you are in with them. Use the word “completion” and ask them to define that for you clearly. They probably won’t like this. It will suck for them to hear you want completion and they might even feel motivated to convince you completion doesn’t exist, or they might even start to make your arrangement with them really suck for you. If that happens, get out any way you can, with or without completion.
  7. IDEALLY, AS SPIRITUAL PRACTITIONERS, WE ARE MAKING OURSELVES OBSOLETE. Another great paradox to embrace is that we are teaching our clientele to do what we do for them, for themselves, so that they no longer need us. This intention helps us avoid becoming what I described in #6, but it does create a conundrum in needing to constantly market ourselves and our work.
  8. CONSTANTLY, CONSISTENTLY, CONTINUALLY, AND CLEARLY MARKET YOURSELF AND YOUR WORK. Be very honest about the experience and results you want them to receive from their work with you. Explain everything you do like you’re telling it to a five year old. Never use jargon or buzzwords except for in your hashtags. Don’t know what a hashtag is? Learn! Or don’t learn any of that, and meet people in real life and have authentic, personal conversations with them in-person and avoid social media altogether. No matter what you decide, your ideal style of marketing is going to feel pleasurable and safe to do. Despite what many greedmongers will tell (more like sell) you, there are no quick fixes or cookie cutter solutions for marketing your spiritual services. Remaining nimble and trying new things all the time is great, but it can cut into your consistency, so proceed with pivots with a little bit of caution. There are only three things I have seen that really matter, and that is effective storytelling, audacious authenticity (alchemizing humiliation), and… patience, patience, patience. 
  9. SEEK SUPPORT. At some point you will want to ask for help from someone who knows what they are doing with lots of different things, like marketing, but also with the dilemmas you encounter in your work with your clients, and even the boring stuff like accounting.  You will know they’re legit by one simple factor alone– Are they listening to you, and are they demonstrating in their work that they are listening to you? They can be preaching and teaching you a lot of different things to the degree by which you consent, but if they aren’t also listening? They’re likely to do more harm than good. 
  10. YOU NEED SUPERVISION. Oh no. One of the aspects that attracted you the most to spiritual work is being a one-soul show? That you are your own boss, answering to no one but yourself and the god of your understanding? I promise you that this is a recipe for disaster. You need accountability, and your clients need recourse. I cannot tell you how much it would have benefitted me to have someone to report to when I was being abused by a spiritual practitioner, in the spirit of getting my teacher the help she needed, not to get her in trouble, and help others avoid the tornado of pain she surely caused future clients in addition to myself and those I went through that experience with. Lesson learned! Thanks to supervision, I will no longer accept help from someone who isn’t supervised and who doesn’t have a complaints procedure in place, and my clients will never have to worry about that from me, either, because my supervisor is there to support them in case of my failure to offer my best. 

There’s so much more I can say, and these bits of wisdom really only scratch the surface. I should also mention that your mileage may vary, and you very well could be a runaway success with a viral TikTok that gives you an immediate platform while you rapidly build your base of support and treasure chest of wisdom in record time and fill your bank account to the brim. In fact, I wish that for you, because it means that it’s possible for all of us. However wherever you think you’re seeing this type of fast success, it’s probably a fleeting anomaly, and where it isn’t, it’s likely to be an illusion that will very soon come crashing down. Either way, whether your spiritual career becomes a legit overnight sensation or a carefully-paced feast of delight that spans a lifetime, lean into your support, embrace failure, and take the lessons offered to you from literally everything you encounter along your journey. AND… MAY GOOD FORTUNE FOLLOW YOU, BLESSING YOUR EVERY STEP! 

With love and great support,

Rev April

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