What was it that first called you to train as a OneSpirit interfaith minister? Religion was always in the background of my childhood. My parents came from a Muslim household, although my mother converted to Christianity. I drifted away from Christianity in my 20’s, as I struggled to reconcile being gay with what I was hearing in church. At the end of a significant relationship in 2002, I felt lost and was desperately in search of meaning. I came across someone who had trained as an Interfaith Minister. It sparked my curiosity, I went along to an open evening, and that was it – I signed up!
In which year were you ordained? 2004
What is your minister’s vow, and your relationship to it?
“My vow, Allah the beloved, is to consciously love life. My vow, Allah the compassionate, is to consciously honour life. My vow, Allah the merciful, is to gracefully embrace life.” It's not something I think about on a regular basis, but as I look at it now, I’m delighted to see that even when I veer off course, I return to the essence of that vow.
What was the most important thing that changed in your life as a result of the training?
Everything changed! The identity I had crafted over the years suddenly felt so restrictive and meaningless. I had spent years racing up the corporate ladder, hoping that I’d eventually get to that place where I would feel good enough and worthy. I quit my job a year after ordination and went freelancing. I returned to the corporate world a year later as everything felt so ambiguous and scary. I left again 7 years ago, this time understanding that I needed to lean into uncertainty and welcome all the emotions that arose from that.
How does your ministry or your life’s purpose manifest in the world now?
I consider how I show up in my life my core ministry. Every moment, every interaction. Doing my best to stay awake in the moment – and forgiving myself when I fall asleep. In manifesting that in my work, my core intention is to be a catalyst for healing and awakening.
What main sources of inspiration or guidance do you draw on for your continuing spiritual journey?
Life is my ongoing source of inspiration. I find that in those moments I allow myself to stay open and engaged, inspiration comes from everywhere. I often say to myself that ‘every moment, every interaction is an invitation to awaken’. In those times when I say ‘no’ to the invitation, I eventually go within to inquire. And in those moments I say ‘yes’, I remember to be grateful.
Where is your ‘edge’ currently — what most challenges you on your path?
Expressing my authentic needs has been an edge for a long time. I grew up in a home where I learnt how to suppress and deny my needs. I often feel the echo of shame when I lean into expressing those needs. My inner critic tells me that I am not worthy, I am undeserving, and who do I think I am. Some days the critic wins, and other days I lean into the fear and challenge myself.
How do you envision your ministry developing in future?
I wish I knew, for I still love certainty! My hope and prayer is that regardless of how the future unfolds, that I show up wholeheartedly, saying ‘Yes’ to whatever invitation it sends me.