I’m in a dark office in the educational wing of Agape International Spiritual Center. It’s 2002 and I’m interning for my Spiritual Prayer Practitioner licensing program, under the wing of the Dean, Dr. Sage Bennett.
We’re visioning for the University – Agape University – its programs, its future, what would be. On a bi-weekly basis, we tune-in, listen, and catch information.
In these Visioning sessions, I consistently see over and over a building – removed from the city – with architecture influenced by sacred geometry and the elements. I see people from all over the world, from all manner of life and culture descending here to this place, ascending here – to themselves.
I feel the deepening, the liberation, the truthing happening in these lives. A feeling so visceral I can taste the lucidity. It’s a place for a type of learning which held no agenda, other than evolutionary Realization. It’s fueled by inquiry, invitation, and celebration of All. I feel it in my bones, electrifying my nervous system as I share my uploads in these bi-weekly sessions. My blood pulses with the promise of what-could-be for folks in their quest for Truth, in their thirst for something to be replenished. My heart swoons with the possibilities…
Cut to 2009. I’m graduating from what I affectionately call Reverend School (my ministerial program) plus completing my Master’s degrees – 10 long years I’ve been in courses, research, and immersions, with solely one summer off to go study with Shamans in Central America. Throughout these years, I’ve continued to Vision while experiencing the varying shifts and evolutionary journey of the educational arm at Agape.
Then, just days before graduation, the Sacred 7 (as my colleagues and I were termed) met with Rev. Michael, our esteemed mentor under who’s tutelage we shone forth. We meet to discuss “What’s Next”.
Unexpectedly, I find myself shaking to the core. I feel utterly unstable.
Who will I be now, outside of the structure of educational expectations?
Years and months and days of constant schooling provided me the stability to go out and create all of the programs and workshops and retreats I had been birthing throughout the decade… Now, in this moment, my systems begin to let down, preparing for the imminent shock.
Michael turns to me – I shake my head in wide-eyed questioning. I say to him – “what will I do now, now that I won’t be in school any longer? Who will I be? I don’t know who I am without my studies, without my ministerial comrades, without my coming to Agape 5 times a week…” Basically I was having an existential crisis right there surrounded by my learned compatriots, which is so unlike me. Through the haze of my fragmentation, the room seemed to start spinning.
He smiled and said simply, “You’ll continue doing what you’ve been doing, in the world, with your work.”
And so it goes.
Within months I filed for 501c3 status and began to crystallize a Vision that whispered to me eight years prior in those fertile interned rooms. Yes, I had no experience in running an organization. No I am not a good manager. Yes I suck at administrative stuff. No I had no idea what I was doing or what I truly had said Yes to.
For the first 3 years in particular, I find myself pacing the floor of my 3rd story bedroom in Venice Beach – why me, why now, why this? What is the validity and how does it really serve an emerging paradigm of Right Relationship? Am I flinging myself out there on a whim? Why don’t I simply go back to Agape, create curriculum to be used there, insert myself under Rev. Michael’s loving leadership, write articles, and go on the Centers for Spiritual Living speaking circuit?
Who. Do. I. Think. I. Am???? And why won’t this Vision called the Institute of Modern Wisdom fade into the background of my ‘tried this, done that..”?
OMG(!!!!!) has this Vision had its way with me. From uuuggghhhhh to ecstatic bliss, from feeling as though the world is against me to fiercely knowing I MUST DO THIS, from Who the f*k do I think I am! to Life is a mystery and por que no?
So – why? Why must I do this? Why must the Ones of us who are now gathering around this Vision-shared establish this? Aren’t there “others” who have rockin’ Mystery School opportunities for folks already in place???
The answer to that would be yes. But not this Vision. And not this School.
Next I do what all obedient, inquisitive spiritual truth seekers do: I quiet down, and I ask. I ask, and I ask some more. Then I listen.
And finally – through tears flowing, a tiny flame lights up on the outer edge of my awareness. And next, a rumbling begins to upwell and thunder in my core.. I am shone precisely why the Institute of Modern Wisdom exists and what its simple purpose is here to serve: the evolutionary growth and emotional maturation of humanity (beginning with ourselves, of course).
Can you imagine?
If the world had emotionally astute individuals architecting everyday moments what life would be like? If we provided experiences for our youth to understand and strengthen listening, communication, and relationship skills – what kind of a world our Future would unveil? Can you imagine if folks understood the primary forces and mechanics of the Universes, of Time and Space, of the power of their consciousness? Why, they could actually create a new Reality for themselves, they could be the facilitators of their life journeys, rather than be facilitated by life’s circumstances… And! How that would ripple throughout the world; might we be able to see – to experience – a world that works for everyone?
What if: communities operated from the unstoppable flow of Love rather than the constricted limits of fear? What if we learned our lessons from Nature and Gaia and the Cosmos – – humans grown not to dominate and manipulate – – but rather to become vitalizing creative influencers? How would life be then? How could it be?
It was in that instant I received my orders. I was to do my darndest to create this portal, this replenishing station, if you will – for folks to awaken, to remember what is already encoded, to touch the untouchable within their very souls. I was to serve this creative potential and birthright and not look back.
And here we are – formally 5 years in and we’ve graduated generations of conscious women through our Modern Day Priestess® program, we’ve ignited a potent game-changing Alchemist Training for men, we’ve created programs for youth, and established a nourishing arm to support the Body Temple, which includes an annual Spring Cleanse and a Yoga Teacher Training curriculum, specializing in Kundalini. I’ve designed 4 Annual Tele-courses that are bite-size for folks, which they can do from the comfort of their own homes. We sponsor world-wide Sacred Wisdom Journeys and Retreats. I travel throughout Canada and the US, representing our IMW Community, facilitating Shamanic Energy Circles as powerful portals of transformation. We do Service Projects in every country we visit. And – most recent – we now have a physical structure that we call home. It’s in Ojai, CA on two acres of mystic beauty, and we call it the Ojai Love Center. All this since sitting in those darkened, fertile rooms, listening to a Vision – and then saying Yes.
Welcome to the Institute of Modern Wisdom. There is great love here, and we have much to do.
Rev. Kate Rodger