Solid Life Lessons From A Singing Nun

Let's take a trip back to 1993 for some powerful perspective.

You know, there are some moments that define you. Moments that shape the core of your being. Moments that… involve Whoopi Goldberg disguised as a nun to help at-risk youth realize and celebrate their musical gifts. Of course, I’m talking about the seminal masterpiece, the 1993 movie event, Sister Act II: Back in the Habit.

*Wait – is this a movie review, or one of Vortex’s patented inspirational messages?* Why can’t it be both? Because this movie isn’t just about a singing nun. It’s about purpose.

wake up and pay attention

For those of you whose hearts, ears and eyeballs have not been blessed by this incredible piece of film history, here’s the gist: Las Vegas headliner Deloris VanCartier is recruited by a gaggle of nuns that previously hid her in a convent from her murderous mob boss fiancé (See: Sister Act) to help a group of rowdy teenagers pass their music class by forming a choir to win the All State Music Competition and save their underperforming school from closing before the end of the semester. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds!

I’ve loved this movie since I first saw it – it came out when I was 9-ish and I’ve seen it… let’s say a lot over the years. I threw it on the other night and it hit deep on so many levels: the 90’s nostalgia, the ridiculous (awesome) plot, the powerhouse performances and the hymn-infused hip hop. There are also some extremely powerful takeaways.

In a defining moment, Sister Mary Clarence tries to level with the amazingly talented yet parentally-oppressed Rita (played by a young Lauren Hill) who is struggling with the idea that she could ever pursue a life in music because of who she is and where she’s from.

Whoopi quotes the poet Rainer Maria Rilke who once said to a student, “don’t ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning you can think of nothing but writing… then you’re a writer.” So she says to Rita “honey, if when you wake up all you can think about is singing, you’re supposed to be a singer”.

Damnnnnn, Whoopi!

That moment in Sister Act II has remained a solid piece of advice in the back of my mind over the last 30 years (and now I feel old!)

it’s all an act, sister!

When I was an actor in Toronto, I spent a lot of time in castings, call-backs and classes. I was doing all the things you’re supposed to do to extend your skillset – stage combat, improv, singing lessons, voice acting workshops – I was all in. Why? Because acting was my “purpose”, of course!

At one point I was fresh off a starring role as Robin Hood in a musical comedy, into a tour of a children’s show, and booking small TV roles consistently. After a decade my career was finally starting to get some traction. The more experience on stage and on set I got – and as much fun as it was – I realized I had spent a big part of my life constantly auditioning to be “good enough” to play the part of someone else.

Ultimately I realized… I was not waking up every day thinking about acting.

Throughout my life I’ve worked a million jobs: I was a web and graphic designer for 20 years, a yoga and meditation teacher, I was even a personal trainer for a minute or two. Constantly searching for purpose. Ultimately I found that sometimes you can find your purpose and sometimes…

sometimes your purpose finds you

Sometimes life is waiting for you to get out of the way. (Ask Rita! She didn’t know how incredible a singer she was until Sister Mary Clarence thrust her into the spotlight.)

About 4 years ago, in a frustrating time in my life, I stopped searching for purpose and fully surrendered to the Universe. I literally threw my hands up in the air and said  “just show me what I’m supposed to do and I’ll do it!”

Cut to March 2nd, 2022 when Vortex Wellness Studio opened its doors. Now my days are filled creating connections with awesome humans and facilitating major shifts in peoples days and lives on a physical, mental and energetic level. It’s crazy rewarding, wildly challenging, incredibly fulfilling… and I never saw it coming.

The more I opened up to possibility and stopped being so rigid, my purpose found me –  I’m meant to make people feel good and connect them with the best version of themselves. And now my job is a magical amalgamation of pretty much every skill I’ve ever learned in my pursuit of purpose. Pretty cool, eh?

So with all that said – on the quest to find your purpose, here’s a shortcut: your purpose is to be you. Fully. Honestly. Authentically. YOU.

With that, i’ll leave you with another great quote from Sister Act II:

“If you wanna be somebody… if you wanna go somewhere, you better wake up and pay attention.”

My friend, if you maintain and strengthen your connection with yourself the next step will always reveal itself. And I know a great place where you can keep that connection strong ;)

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