The bestselling author and functional life coach shares how a series of events that rattled him to the core proved to be the best thing that could happen to him.
- Posted on Sep 20, 2017
Why does God send a storm when a rain shower will do? That’s a question we asked Mastin Kipp, Functional Life Coach and author of the bestselling book The Daily Love: Growing Into Grace and the recently released Claim Your Power. In 2004, Mastin was 22, a Kansas native living the dream in Hollywood. Until it became a nightmare. A “divine storm” uprooted Mastin’s life and sent him down a remarkable path of self-discovery. We recently Skyped him to get some answers on why everything had to go wrong for things to go right....
What exactly is a divine storm? A divine storm is basically when everything in your life seems to go crazy. It’s a crisis you didn’t see coming. It could last a day, a week, a year, even longer. And it can be hugely painful. Maybe money is running away from you. You can’t seem to get a job. A close friend passes away. And you sort of feel like, Is God against me? Is someone following me around and purposely sabotaging my life?
I call it a divine storm because, from a spiritual perspective, it really is God trying to get your attention. If you’re in a divine storm, you’ll know. You’ll definitely know. The set of circumstances is too bizarre for it not to be from God.
Why is he trying so hard to get our attention? You can think of it like driving on the highway. When you start going off the road, there are these divots. Some of us have to go over the cliff before we say, “Hey, I should’ve paid attention to those divots back there.”
The purpose of a divine storm is to help you find your calling or get back on track. The crisis reveals patterns that need to be healed or addressed so you can live out your purpose, whatever that might be. It’s sort of a wakeup call to how you’re spending your life. A lot of times, you realize, I actually have some past trauma that I haven’t worked through. It’s not just a bunch of random stuff happening to you because you’re a bad person. I like to say that the universe has shaken you to awaken you.
Is that what happened to you? Absolutely. The first giant storm came when I was 22 years old. I’d just gotten fired from my dream job as a vice president for a record label. I honestly felt like Hollywood had chewed me up and spit me out. I’d moved to Los Angeles when I was 19 to pursue my dreams in the music business, and my life very quickly became an episode of E! True Hollywood Story. I was partying a lot, doing drugs, spending money like crazy. In addition to losing my job, I was going through a huge breakup and was deeply depressed. The relationship had been based on drugs.
One Sunday, around four o’clock in the morning, I was driving home to Santa Monica after a massive fight with my ex. I was high as a kite. I made a turn onto Ventura Boulevard and cut off a police officer, the only other driver on the road. I was screwed. In that moment, I decided to pray. Where that thought came from, I have no idea. I just said, “Dear God, if you help me get through this, I’ll quit.”
The cop pulled me over, and I explained my situation. I didn’t lie. I said I was tired and had been fighting with my ex. He let me go. I knew that moment was a handout from God. As if he was telling me, “Hey, kid, wake up.” On the drive home, I felt this presence in the car with me. I didn’t know what it was at the time, but it convinced me that I had to change. That the next time I wouldn’t be so lucky.
Did you change? That’s the thing about addiction—all logic, all promises go out the door. Days later, I was in my apartment at 3 a.m. and felt the urge to use again. I’d spent the whole night drinking. I went to cut up a line of cocaine, but I physically couldn’t do it. Something wouldn’t let me consume any more drugs. It was as if a force had taken up residence inside my body and was preventing me from doing it. Like I wasn’t in control of myself. It was the same presence I felt in the car on Ventura Boulevard. Along with a deep knowing that if I did use again, I would die.
I couldn’t prove it, but I didn’t want to find out. I flushed the drugs down the toilet. I’m not a person who has these visceral, very visual spiritual experiences. But in this instance, it was obvious to me that there was a higher presence there in that room. To me, it was very clearly Christ.
How did you go from there to becoming an inspirational guru? I wanted to figure out how to feel as good off the drugs as I felt on them. I’ve come to find that addicts are really people looking for God in all the wrong places. I threw myself into spiritual study and asked God to show me my purpose. Eventually I started an inspirational T-shirt company to share all the spiritual truths I’d uncovered.
It did really well at first. Then, within a week, everything went bust. My business partner left. The new girl I was dating left. The business crumbled. My roommate moved out. I got gout in my left toe. My lower back went out. All of that happened over maybe six days! I kept thinking to myself, I’m not dumb or smart enough to do all this to myself. There has to be something else going on here. That’s when I heard the voice of author Caroline Myss, whose work I’d been studying during my recovery, saying that this is happening for you, not to you.
My first reaction was, “Easy for you to say—you’re not the one with all these problems!” But then I thought about what I’d really want to do with my life if that was in fact true. I created @TheDailyLove on Twitter. I began tweeting messages of love to encourage others. It ended up being an answer to my prayers. Sometimes things going wrong can actually be them going right.
Is it only during a divine storm that we’re really able to sense God’s presence the way you did? If you’re distracted, addicted or in some unhealthy behavior pattern, you’re definitely not paying attention to the divine. You’re checking Facebook likes or doing drugs or in an endless cycle of worry. But when someone is in the middle of a storm, they’re vulnerable, and there’s an opportunity to make a choice. Either you’re going to keep going or you’re not. When you’re brought to your knees like that, it’s an encounter with the divine.
Can’t God just send a light gust of wind, though? For some people, sure. But I’m the guy who hit rock bottom and asked for a sledgehammer and a drill! My storm was in direct proportion to how stubborn I was. It doesn’t always have to be that dramatic. For the stubborn ones, though, it sometimes does. Sometimes you won’t make a move until you’re in too much pain not to make a move. Storms really stress the importance of intuition. If you don’t pay attention to what your heart is telling you, then you get a divine rain shower or a divine lightning bolt and eventually a divine storm.
God is trying to bring us to a surrender point, when we say, “The way I’m doing things is not working. Show me a better way.” Whether or not you’re stubborn, there’s a part of everyone’s story where all seems lost. You can call it a divine storm or a “dark night of the soul” or just an ordeal. At the end of the day, it’s archetypal in nature and everyone will go through it at some point in their life.
What determines whether or not you survive the storm? Part of it is understanding that these storms are normal. Whatever the crisis is—whether it’s the death of someone you love, a business that’s not working out, a relationship that’s failed—it’s just part of what happens in life. Millions have gone through it; millions will go through it again. So instead of focusing on the why of what’s happening, focus on finding the message, the miracle in it all.
Does a miracle always come out of a divine storm? I think the mere fact that something is going wrong is the miracle. Because it’s getting your attention. Everything that happens to you can be used to help you find your purpose, which ultimately brings you closer to God. We have to start viewing not just the good stuff as the miracle, but also the bad stuff that gets you to the miracle. The whole thing is a gift.
Do you still have storms? I have a divine storm every five seconds! There’s always something going on. I’ve come to believe that the whole purpose of life is to weather the storm. It’s not about preventing it. It’s about understanding why it’s there. And then having the strength to face it and use the opportunity to grow.
For more inspiring stories, subscribe to Mysterious Ways magazine.