Ask Google the meaning of life and, along with various references to love, family, friendship, work, self-knowledge, and purpose, you’ll see a selection of sketches from the 1983 Monty Python movie by the same name.
One of these sketches is set in a corporate boardroom where the meeting turns to “item six on the agenda”—the meaning of life—and one of the executives starts explaining the two fundamental concepts his team has discovered:
“One: people aren’t wearing enough hats. Two: matter is energy. In the universe, there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person’s soul. However, this soul does not exist ab initio as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man’s unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.”
At this point, one of his colleagues leans across the table and asks, “What was that about hats again?”
According to world-renowned psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, the search for meaning is the primary, intrinsic motivation of human beings, and only the search for meaning holds the potential to bring the kind of authentic enrichment and fulfilment that most people desire in their personal and work lives.
But how? Are we too easily distracted by “hats”?
New York Times best-selling author Glennon Doyle suggests “perhaps when we want to know the original plan for our lives, families, world, we should consult not what is in front of us but what’s inside us.”
How Soul-Based or Spiritual Coaching Can Help
Once again, Google has plenty of suggestions for searching inside oneself, including prayer, meditation, breathing, walks in nature, and/or finding a spiritual coach, or even a soul-based coach, to help you take that deep dive within.
Liz Tilley is a coach based in Canberra, Australia, who draws on soul-based coaching techniques as part of her holistic approach to her corporate and private clients. She is a trained executive coach credentialed by the International Coaching Federation with over 500 hours of coaching experience. She also runs retreats for women, is trained in reiki, and has practiced yoga and meditation for more than 30 years.
Tilley says people who come to her for help are often tired, overwhelmed, disillusioned, and thinking there’s got to be something else, something more to life.
And while she acknowledges the term ‘spiritual coaching’ covers a wide range of practices, she thinks anyone searching Google for answers is probably hoping to find a coach who will help them find meaning and peace within the framework of their own personal belief system, whether that’s God or a god, the Divine, the Universe, a universal source energy, nature, or the Divine within.
“It’s such an interesting time in society,” she says, “our structures and systems are crumbling, our fragile world is suffering the disastrous impacts of climate change, and a lot of people are struggling to keep up with the pace and demands of workplaces. Others are looking for ways to step up and be more courageous.
“Soul-based coaching is for those who want to delve a little deeper and work on a more spiritual level. I’m passionate about bringing about a greater balance of masculine and feminine energy in our world,” says Tilley.
“I particularly love working with women and helping them grow and develop their strength and connect with their own inner wisdom. Now, more than ever, we need to honour the sacred feminine in all her divine beauty and power. I love helping people recognise the sacred feminine that dwells within all of us—male and female.”
Tilley uses relaxation techniques like guided visualisation coaching techniques and an array of other coaching tools to help clients explore their inner voices, often a powerful and sometimes emotional experience.
“We all have that negative voice inside, which may come from our upbringing, our culture, or the messaging we grew up with, but we also have a positive voice, an inner mentor, which is the encouraging voice we often use to tell others how great they’re doing—and yet we so rarely do that for ourselves.”
Once she’s helped clients find their “sacred place” and connect with their inner mentor, it totally transforms how they approach things.
“When you’re doing this sort of work, it’s often not what happens in the coaching sessions but what happens in between that’s important. I’ll ask the questions which get clients connecting to that part of themselves, and while I see significant shifts in sessions—sometimes I don’t—but they’ll come back 2 or 3 weeks later and it’s like a completely different person walks in.
“Clients build the muscle to be able to coach themselves and see the full possibility and potential they can step into, and then let go of old assumptions and negative ways of thinking. They discover an inner belief and trust that they can find a way forward. It’s in there in all of us, it just usually gets drowned out by everything else.”
Awakening the Divine Feminine
Tilley believes that along with the current turmoil of systems and structures crumbling, there’s a powerful and undeniable resurgence of feminine energy in the world.
Together with friend and Feminine Leadership Coach Robyn Katz, Tilley is creating a new ‘sacred space’ for women through the ancient practice of sitting in a circle, which, despite how it sounds, “can be done online and from anywhere in the world!”
Building on ancient practices, Tilley and Katz have created the Gathering Well community for resourceful, visionary women who want to change the world, she says, giving women a deeper connection to themselves, to each other, and to the divine feminine.
“We’re looking to develop that deeper, spiritual work with a community of women wanting to tether and be grounded in the divine feminine. When we work like this, checking in with ourselves and checking in with the divine in ourselves, it’s quiet, calm, reassuring, centering, anchoring, it’s the voice of ‘you’ve got this’ and it’s a big sigh of relief.”
There are many definitions of the divine feminine, from the female face of God to Mother Nature, the Earth, the Moon, oceans, and stars. There’s also a view that Mary Magdalene represents a divine feminine energy as “one of the most maligned and misunderstood women in history.”
Writing for sustainability, slow living, and self-care platform The Good Trade, Emily Torres defines divine feminine as “the spiritual concept that there exists a feminine counterpart to the patriarchal and masculine worship structures that have long dominated organised religions. The divine feminine extends well beyond one belief system, and instead can be used as a spiritual lens to balance our perspective.”
According to Tilley, harnessing that feminine energy is a powerful life-changing force when women come together:
“It’s how we used to be; we used to listen to the cosmos. Australia’s Aboriginal people are deeply attuned to nature and deep listening to the earth and our inner wisdom,” says Tilley, adding, “We used to know what that was, and we need to wake up!”
Moving Forward Together
Whatever form of spirituality you most resonate with, learning to trust the guiding power within can be a powerful tool for self-growth and personal exploration—and finding a spiritual coach who will walk by your side as you traverse the wavering path can give you confidence in the journey.
As Tilley concludes, “We’ve got to find that deeper place within ourselves and hold hands with each other if we’re going to move forward.”
Editor’s Note: If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out Glen’s other article for LCM: Managing ADHD: Three Life Coaches Share What’s Worked for Them
Glen Oliveiro is the founder of CoachVantage, an all-in-one coaching platform that helps coaches to deliver exceptional results for their businesses and clients. It facilitates the coaching partnership between coach and coachee. Taking notes, sharing files, sending forms and e-contracts, invoicing, and scheduling are all supported on the platform. It fully automates the client onboarding process and gives coaches the ability to deliver impactful coaching and transform their clients’ lives.