Today I want to illuminate the impact you could have from saying yes to your greater calling.
This week Christine Dave graduated from our Love Liberate Launch program. In celebration of her journey of following her calling to make a positive difference for a special group of girls in Odisha India, she wrote the story I'm sharing with you today.
I am moved by Christine's courage to leave her comfortable salaried job to follow her heart's calling into a deeper sense of purpose. It is amazing to see how much came from this leap of faith--and it is striking to see all that would not have unfolded for Christine and the girls in Odisha if she had resisted the call and stayed safe in her comfort zone. May Christine's story wake us all up again to the fact that so many born-to-be-leaders are holding themselves back and and suppressing their potential. This untapped potential is shortchanging the impact that they could have in our world. This self-limiting way of being is stopping their gifts from being received by those that they are meant to benefit. May Christine's story inspire each of us to liberate our gifts, follow our calling, and make the impact that we are designed to make and our world is needing most right now.
“My mother, Rautee, was illiterate. She was not allowed to go to school as a child growing up in Trinidad. While I was also born in Trinidad, my family emigrated to the US when I was four years of age, where I earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Appalachian State University, and became a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Expressive Arts Therapist.
In 2015 I was working with first-generation college students at App State, when I took a trip to India to see my father, where I met and spent time with a group of rural village girls and learned of their struggle to pursue an education. I was with them for only one week yet we bonded through meditating together, chanting together and talking about their educational aspirations. I was so inspired by their love of learning, and their determination to be the first educated girls in their families.
I remember when I was leaving from this first visit, some of the girls asked if I could come every year to be with them. I said this was not possible because of the type of work I had back home in the U.S.
One year later, I began to notice that I was increasingly becoming frustrated with my current work-life so I sought play therapy to find out what was happening with me. The answer I received, was that my calling was to serve these girls in Odisha. I was pleasantly astonished at this development; something inside of me clearly wanted to be expressed. I was full of fear, yet still I turned in my resignation letter after 8 years at App State, founding my non-profit organization, Rautee’s Education of Devis, in August of 2017.
This non-profit, inspired by the memory of my beloved mother, is on a mission to create a safe and sustainable environment where these girls from Odisha, India can be educated, equipped, and empowered to lead their own productive lives.
It was at this point, in Fall 2017, that I met Jessica and joined the Shine Expansive. Through the Shine Expansive experience, I learned to tap into and clearly be connected to my own inner guide, and Shakti/feminine strength. I dealt with my fears of “not knowing what I am doing” as an entrepreneur, as a non-profit founder, and as the boss of my own work-life. I had fears of the unknown, of negative self-judgment, and of not having a strong voice to share my passion and purpose about these girls with whom I had so deeply connected. I learned in my new life role to trust my own inner voice, to listen intently to her guidance, to not be afraid of living my own truths and to live in ways that resonate for me. These new inner-guided ways of being helped me shape meetings with my new board members, and create a strong foundation to follow my dream of educating these rural village girls.
Jessica guided me tremendously to learn to completely trust my own inner guidance for all my decisions and trust the ways that I wanted to be a leader of my non-profit.
Through continuing with the Shine Expansive I became a strong leader of my non-profit. I received great support to help me create my board focus as well as be clear about my vision for our non-profit.
I decided to continue with Jessica through the Love, Liberate, Launch program, originally because I wanted to create my own income to support my non-profit work. This focus quickly changed to supporting my non-profit work, and helping me learn how to grow in promoting my non-profit business. I was definitely challenged to learn many new skills. The group of women entrepreneurs were amazing to connect with and see their soul work emerging.
During the Love, Liberate, Launch program I returned to Odisha in Winter 2019 to spend two months with the girls, and to gather information to create a book of their stories with the vision of sharing how we could all be a part of this legacy of education for these girls. Above is a photo of Sukhada, one of the students I first met in 2015 and then again during this most recent trip, alongside a thank you note she wrote.
I recall one day sharing how, during my first visit, a few girls had asked me to come here every year and how I thought this was not possible. The older girls shared that they were the ones who had asked this of me. I told them that somehow they had planted a seed in my heart and this is how it germinated to bring me back to them, to be with them, each year.
Throughout this realization of my heart’s deepest calling, Jessica continued to coach me to be the inner guided leader of my life, to dive deep into my vision for my work, and to be aligned with my purpose.
Our non-profit board voted to change our name to EDGE; EDucation for Girls Empowerment, and this summer our first book, Be on the Cutting EDGE, was self-published on Amazon with all proceeds going toward the girls’ new educational campus. In it I reflect on many of the challenges these girls face to get a daily education, such as transportation, weather, financial, societal, and their gender as well. In spite of these circumstances, these girls are determined to make their dreams come true. I applaud them and their constant efforts to succeed. I am truly inspired by their determination to earn their education at this rural village school.
On my visits I was pleasantly surprised by the tremendous community support to educate their daughters: I learned that the parents are absolutely supportive of educating their daughters, wanting their children to have opportunities that they did not have themselves. Most of the girls’ families farm for a living, and years of droughts in this area have lead to high-poverty conditions, yet the families are resilient, strong, and very kind-hearted. These parents spare no efforts in trying to educate their precious daughters.
Following my inspired vision, and feeling the unfolding purpose of my soul, I will spare no effort in helping them.
Love, Liberate, Launch and Jessica have guided me to live my own dream. I am empowered, I am strong, I am a believer in my divine purpose. This personal fulfillment is the same wish I hold for each of our Odisha girls.
In celebration of Christine's graduation and the girls she loves so much, I purchased a copy of her book and donated to Edge Non-Profit. If inspired, I encourage you to follow that inspiration to do the same.
And if you are also ready to make the difference you were born to make, step into your greater calling, grow into the leader that actualizes your full potential, and receive my coaching support along the way, I invite you to sign up for a complimentary Visioning Session.
May you tap into your freedom to be brave today--stepping beyond fear to say yes to your greater calling and the impact you are uniquely designed to make.