Are you allowing blessings to come to you? Opportunities to be discovered? New paths to be paved? Directions to be changed? For life to unfold dramatically different than you expected?
These days I’ve been thinking about allowing. A soft, open, way of being that relies on something Greater than ourselves as we create, do, and live in this plain of existence.
Earlier this year I found myself feeling frustrated and stuck. As you can imagine, that is a confusing place to find yourself in if you have a strong spiritual path and have gotten unstuck many times before. You’re like the master unstucker. But this time, the stuckness felt deep. While I was facing challenges and questioning my path, what I didn’t recognize was how closed off I had become. It was subtle. It was tricky. I found myself clinging to a polaroid picture of how I thought things should be, my mind mired in what I didn’t have, and despite every attempt to shift my mindset with the large arsenal of tools I have in my toolbox I remained...stuck.
I had become attached to how things were in 2015 and I wasn’t liking how things are in 2016. I grasped for the way I ran my business, the way I managed my time, the way I taught my classes, the way I dated, everything. But the truth was that everything had fundamentally changed. I had changed. Instead of adapting to that change and dancing the new dance I was invited to for 2016 I kept trying to replay my dance card of 2015.
I was feeling frustrated, resentful, confused, perplexed to say the least. I felt abandoned. By the very Force that propelled me to great miracles in 2015.
The truth was that I abandoned the Universe simply with my mindset. I became reliant on myself because things had gotten so great. And while I woke up every day to meditate like I always had, the conscious part inside of me of connection was not connecting like it had before. The Universe had moved from the foreground to the background of my mind. Almost taken for granted. And rather than recognizing that disconnect, I pummeled through a confusing sea of crashing waves of my mind, fighting to get to the other side...alone and wondering why it was such a fight as the Universe sat by waiting for me to reach out a hand.
I have no doubt that there is a Great Intelligence masterfully orchestrating life. And this Energy always has had better ideas for what is next in my life than the ones I could imagine in my mind. Do you know someone that can somehow bake or cook amazing food from otherwise unrelated ingredients? That’s the Universe. It has this amazing ability to shock your tastebuds with unlikely combination if you are open enough to try it.
Take my career path for example. I once was sure I’d become a federal agent or counterterrorism analyst working in law enforcement or intelligence. I know. Undoubtedly when people hear this, I get the universal reaction “I can’t see you doing that at all!.” Regardless, I was passionate about this path and wanted to give my life for others metaphorically, perhaps even literally if necessary. I found myself elated when I was recruited in my sophomore year of college. I chose classes in consultation with my recruiter, feeling I was being groomed. I obsessively watched Jennifer Garner in the show Alias. I ran regularly and trained in martial arts. I read autobiographies of law enforcement and intelligence officers for fun. I dreamed of a life of service and danger. In 2006, after returning to the States while going through long security clearance processes for many years I received devastating news. A no fuss letter showed up in my mailbox from the very place that recruited me at the young age of 20 to tell me they could not offer me a position at this time. “Reapply in a year” it said. I remember feeling completely baffled and confused. No phone call. No further explanation. Just a sterile three line letter where the only personal touch was my name typed on the top. It felt like one of the worst days of my life. So many years of preparation. So many moments of imagination and daydreaming. So much hard work. I felt paralyzed as I held the letter in my hand, unsure what to do next. I was exhausted from years of waiting, probably almost a hundred job applications, and no other prospects in sight. That day I was forced to let go.
I continued applying for jobs and I waited. A few weeks later out of the blue, two of my favorite college professors e-mailed me to recommend me for a job. Both unknowingly recommended me for the very same position. With two notes of accolades back to the woman who reached out to them, I found myself with a link to an application. Then a series of interviews. And finally an offer. This offer led me to an unexpected nine-year career in international development where I focused on programs that address the root causes of why people pick up arms to become violent. This career led me to an unexpected encounter with spirituality during a guest speaker event. This unexpected encounter firestarted my devotion for a spiritual path. And this devotion led me to the practices that changed my life…yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and energy medicine.
Today, my life is dramatically different than what my 20 year old self had planned. I don’t spend my days anticipating criminal behavior. I’m a full time intuitive life coach, energy healer, and yoga/meditation/mindfulness teacher where each day is different. Through a series of synchronicities and allowing, my Life led me here. And it’s been the most delightful surprise compared to where I thought my path would lead me. But to get here I had to allow myself to be led. To receive clues. To take turns that looked unlikely. To walk into uncharted territory, and to know that The Universe “has my back” as Gabby Bernstein says.
Leaning on and allowing, is the essence of faith. Faith is the fuel that helps you discover your path.
We don’t have all the answers. We don’t know all the steps. The story may end up differently. And the possibilities are endless.
In allowing we open ourselves to be Led to be the person we are asked to be.
We are all consistently asked to fill important roles in life. Every time I’ve been asked to fill a role, take an unlikely step, shift directions, I’ve experienced more joy than I could have imagined. Several years ago I was asked to play the role of a life coach, healer, and a teacher. I was asked to learn energy medicine. I was asked to live in Cairo and backpack the region. I was asked to take public policy classes rather than journalism. More than three years ago my intention was to buy a one-way ticket to Indonesia and backpack South East Asia for a year. Before that, it was to move overseas somewhere to train to become a scholar of Islam. Before that, an FBI agent. Law enforcement, religious theologian, wandering global nomad, all were ideas my mind had pulled me to, but roads to which were blocked no matter how much I tried. Because I was asked instead to walk through doors not even on my radar screen.
Being stuck is an invitation to open. Blocks in your life are a reminder to let go.
For this week’s Joy Tip Wednesday, I want to invite us into the energy of allowing.
To open up to possibilities and being led. To letting go of control and the need to think our ways out of situations. Here’s how:
Notice an area you feel stuck. You’ve tried many different paths and all paths seem to be blocked. Know that this is your fertile ground for allowing.
Acknowledge that you are connected to the energy of grasping. In order to shift a mindset, we first have to take responsibility for what we currently are choosing. When I’m not allowing, I’m grasping dearly to how I think things should be. This inevitably leads to pain and suffering.
Let go. Ask yourself, if I decided to let go, what would I stop doing? Make a stop doing list and then stop doing the things on your list. Save your friend from the 100th phone call complaining about how stuck you are and start sharing that you’re open to new ideas. Stop worrying late at night about how you’re going to make this one path work and spend some moments in silence to listen to what you hear.
Announce and allow. Tell the Universe you are ready to allow. To be led. To listen. To receive. I usually speak words out loud after my morning meditation. A recent announce and allow for me was “Universe, lead me to success. If the path I’m pursuing is the best for me, may it bear great fruit. If not, may I be led to the path that will.” One of my favorite’s is one my mom learned from Deepak Chopra. Say “I need a better idea” when you’re stuck.
Be on the lookout and listen. You have got to be on the lookout for clues. Did your friend mention a new company they heard about that’s hiring in a field you have never considered? Did you always plan on teaching kids and an opportunity to teach seniors has arrived? To coach 13 year olds, and an opportunity just to work with teenage girls came up? Sometimes our next step on our path looks dramatically different and sometimes it's just a few degrees away from our original idea. Both are worthy. Both might be the step that skyrockets you past stuckville.
Notice how you feel. Always and forever, your feelings are your greatest GPS. Feeling constriction? Something’s off. Feeling excited, follow that car!
I’m often asked, how do I know whether I’m on the right path. Only you know, but if you are feeling the sticky energy of stuckville and have tried a similar solution in different ways, check in to notice whether you are actually in a state of relying, leaning on, and allowing. My guess is that you aren’t. You’ve moved into that pick yourself up by your bootstraps alone mode with so much laser focus that you’re hankering for coffee and watching for Starbucks signs on the highway in Canada where Tim Horton’s rules rest stop caffeine refills. And in that laser focus, you’re missing the point. You’re missing that cup of coffee. Because the message is different than what you were expecting.