Tag Archives: support from universe

Gratitude for Validation

Almost five years ago, Blue Heron showed up in my life as my totem (hence the name of this blog). Over the past several years, I have rarely seen him. The sense I have made of this is that I’ve reached a point in my journey of trusting myself and Spirit, where I don’t need constant validation that I am on the right path. It’s true that for the most part, I have an inner knowingness that I truly trust.

However, there’s still something to be said for receiving signs that I am on the right path, especially with the big changes I have recently made in my life. Adjusting has not happened over night, and although I trust my choices, I am grateful for the validation I have received recently.

Since my move, I have been using my Tarot for guidance again more frequently. I used to do this on a daily basis, but over the past few years have not felt the need – again being able to trust my intuition and internal guidance without asking for external guidance.

Last week I had a specific question where I was looking for some guidance, and the answer that came back to me through the cards was that I was moving forward, was at peace with my thoughts (no longer resisting or forcing), and finding strength through Spirit. Since then I have been much more at peace in general and more trusting that I am on the right path. I am grateful for that validation.

When energy is moving, or shifting, in my body, I yawn. I love this physical sign that something has shifted. I am grateful for that validation.

I also receive guidance through dreams, and I have had several significant ones this week. I love that as I work through the meaning of the dream (I like to talk about it out loud), a yawn will come to signify that yes, I got it!

My new apartment faces a marsh. I had hoped that there would be blue herons, but after living here for a month, I have not seen any. In fact, there have been no wading birds at all. I have been able to see large white birds in the marsh a mile away from me, but none in the area that is my back yard.

Then yesterday, I saw one big white bird in the marsh. It was too far away to really see it well, but as I continued to watch, it flew up into a tree right outside my window! I could easily see that it was a large wading bird, and after searching online determined it was a Great Egret – also known as a Great White Heron! My totem had returned to me for validation. Gratitude!

This morning I went out to run some errands, and on my way home was processing a dream from last night by talking out loud about it. As I reached home, I summarized the message I had received, and yawned (my sign that yes, I got it.) When I opened the door to my apartment, in the marsh, right outside was the Great Egret! Talk about double validation – yawning and the egret!

Within a moment, he had flown away. I was meant to see him, then his job was done.

As I am finishing writing this, he flew by one last time.

I am grateful for all the validation I continue to receive.

Taking a Leap of Faith – and the Accompanying Terror

I awoke early this morning and was filled with terror. My mind began running rampant, cataloging all the things I had to be fearful about. At the top of the list, as always, was not having enough money.

I recently took a leap of faith and moved across the country from Seattle to Salisbury, Massachusetts. I didn’t know what I would do for work, but had been fortunate enough for two part-time opportunities (one with my Seattle employer) to present themselves. In the 10 days since I’ve been in my new home I have been overwhelmed with trying to make sure that I am working enough to make as much money as I was making full-time. Yesterday, both jobs had less work for me to do, and I became fearful about the future prospects with each of them.

When I awoke this morning, I panicked. My mind was whirling with figuring out what I could do to get some more work / money, either with these two opportunities, or in some other way.

I cried for about 5 minutes, and cried out to God to help me. I had a few big yawns (a sign for me that energy is moving) and fell into a deep dream-filled sleep for an hour.

When I next awoke, I was conscious of a change in perspective. I have taken leaps of faith in the past: starting my private counseling practice during a recession, choosing to stop doing work that didn’t resonate with me, choosing not to work for several years to focus on my internal growth, and too many more to mention here. And, it has always worked out for me.

Not always in the way I would have said I wanted in the beginning, or in a way I could have predicted. But it has always worked out for my benefit.

So, with that foundation, I thought about how holding on to the past with my current jobs may be preventing me from moving into my future.

It is terrifying to consider letting go of the only source(s) of income that I currently have. And, the truth is, I’ve known for some time that neither of these jobs is in my future. I need to let go of the idea that this is how I will make my living in the future in order to open the door for other possibilities to show up. And I’m scared.

A few days ago I was shuffling Tarot cards to do a 3-card spread for myself. The Fool literally leapt out of the deck and fell into my lap. A coincidence? I think not. The Fool is about new beginnings and letting go of the past. He also represents bringing a child-like innocence to the unlimited possibilities of the Universe.

I keep coming back to the letting go of the past part. I am still hanging on to certain aspects of the past, not just with my jobs. I see that it is my work now to cut those cords so that I can be free to move forward.

This is not an easy task, but I know it is the right path.

Wish me luck, and I will keep you posted!

Follow Your Heart – It Knows the Way

I have been in New England for about a week, exploring and deciding where I want to move. I knew that part of the draw was that many of my ancestors came from England and Scotland and settled in this area in the 17 and 18th centuries. I also realized before beginning the trip, that beyond discovering what felt like home to me, there was work to be done in healing myself and ancestors, and releasing shared grief. I didn’t know exactly the cause of this grief, or the form the healing would take, but was open to what showed up.

Two days ago, I started out in a lovely frame of mind. I had spent the night near Portsmouth, NH and was exploring that area. I had discovered the day before that I really want to be near the ocean, so I decided I would explore down the coast between Portsmouth and Boston. I wasn’t feeling great physically because I had a bit of a headache, but I was in a great mood. Until…

After lunch in Gloucester, MA, I decided to see what Salem was like. Whoa!

As I got closer to Salem I began to feel nauseous, to the point where I felt I might throw up. I am very sensitive to the energy of those around me, and the energy of this place was making me physically ill. Given the history, this is not surprising. And, it is sad that nearly 400 years later that energy of grief and guilt and shame has not yet dissipated.

Needless to say, I didn’t stop, but chose to drive on to Boston.

I reached Boston, where I would be staying at the apartment of a friend who is out of town. I struggled a bit finding a place to park, but ultimately it all worked out, although I was left feeling pretty grumpy.

I had begun to feel a bit confused about where I wanted to settle. I had brought along my pendulum to help me sort out how I really felt. Using a pendulum is a way of doing muscle testing. Our bodies have wisdom that it is sometimes difficult to access through our minds and thinking.

So, later that evening I got out my pendulum with the intent of asking about some of the places I had visited, and were they the right place for me. I immediately felt overwhelmed with grief and loneliness. I cried for a while – a hard cry that led to rapid breathing and yawning and an urge to vomit. Yawning for me is a physical sign of energy being released. Intellectually I realized that this grief was not mine, but that of my ancestors, and this process still was difficult to go through.

At one point, when the crying had slowed down, I thought again to use the pendulum, which had been in my hand the entire time. I had been walking around the apartment as I was releasing all this grief, and I was in the bedroom. I stopped walking and took out the pendulum and attempted to calibrate it by using standard statements like “My name is Laura” (true) and “My name is Sam” (untrue), but the pendulum did not move at all. So I tried the straight-forward use of the words yes (true) and no (untrue). But still the pendulum did not move at all.

I was upset and frustrated, and even a little pissed off. At that moment I looked up and noticed a wooden block with a saying imprinted on it: “Follow Your Heart ~ It Knows the Way.” Ah… I didn’t need the pendulum, all I needed was to feel what my heart told me.

The day before I had been at Cape Elizabeth, Maine, right on the Atlantic Ocean and my heart held a warmth that I had not experienced anywhere else on my journey. I noticed it at the time, and paid attention to it. I didn’t need the pendulum.

I don’t know for sure that this means I will settle in Cape Elizabeth – although I have had a couple of people, one of whom I didn’t even know until a couple of days ago, offer to talk with me about that area.

What it does mean, for sure, though, is that I can trust my heart. I got this message loud and clear, with actual written words!

So, I will follow my heart.

I Know Why

I now know why I was called back to this blog, albeit in a very roundabout way.

One of the people who began following my blog last week blogs about A Course of Love. I had never heard of A Course of Love, and I believe I was meant to find it at this time in my life.

A Course of Love (ACOL) is a channeled book that is (supposedly) a follow-on to A Course in Miracles (ACIM). I don’t really care if it really was channeled, if Jesus is or isn’t the author, if it is intended as a supplement to ACIM or not.

These are all the controversies surrounding it, that have no meaning to me. All I care about is does it resonate for me. I have already gotten my money’s worth from the $7.99 Kindle version in reading just a few pages.

At the end of 2011 I was introduced to ACIM, and joined a study group for a few months. But like most things during this transition period I’ve been in over the past several years, it served me briefly, and then I was ready to move on. Frankly, ACIM never really felt right for me. I’m not saying it doesn’t have value; I know for many people it is literally a God-send.

But I’ve learned over time that not everything is a fit for me. Additionally, I may not be ready for something I’m introduced to, or I may already have surpassed that lesson. So I’ve gotten really good at being able to say, yes, this thing has value, and it’s not for me right now. Along with that, I’ve gotten really good at recognizing when something is for me, and diving in.

So, back to why I was supposed to find ACOL right now.

As I blogged about last week, I am in a period of huge change right now. Many of us are, as is the earth itself. And, it can feel quite uncomfortable. I have been in a bit of a tizzy for the past couple of weeks, feeling ungrounded and unfocused. Along with that has come this intermittent feeling of fear and anxiety. And, I haven’t seemed able to make a decision to save my life, when for most of my life I have been quite decisive.

Yesterday I realized, that it would help me to have some validation around the choices I am currently making – the source of all that anxiety. I truly believe I’m on my right path, but, as I said it is pretty scary. It would be nice to have someone else say, “Yes, Laura, keep going.”

I decided to do a session with a psychic and medium I have known for several years. I told her where I was at. She immediately told me that yes, I was headed in the right direction, and that part of the process was to develop that trust that meant I didn’t have to see beyond the next step (something I believe in and blogged about last week, but still is scary!).

I have planned a trip to New England in July, because I believe I’m being called to move there. I have had so much trouble deciding how long I should stay in each location, which has meant I haven’t booked anywhere to stay beyond the first night. I feel very uncomfortable about this. My practitioner told me this was part of my process, to trust that I will know where to go and will find the exact perfect place to stay without planning in advance.

Whoa! I’m someone who likes to know what to expect, at least when it comes to the bottom level of Maslow’s hierarchy: safety, food, shelter. Still, on some level I already knew this truth. That’s why I haven’t been able to nail anything down.

So, what does all this have to do with ACOL? Earlier in the day I received an email with a post from the blogger who writes about ACOL. When I had time to read it, the quote from ACOL was: “This resting place is indeed hallowed ground and an earned respite, a demarcation even between the old way and the new way of living. But it is not the end that is sought. No matter how peaceful this place of rest may at first seem, it will soon become stagnant and unsatisfying. Left in such a place without further instruction, you would soon return to your old ideas of heaven and see peace as a state of being for those too weary to fully live. Done with the adventures of living, you would deem yourself no longer interested in the hunt for buried treasure and see it not.”

In the past month I have become dissatisfied and bored with work, and with my life in general. I feel like I just don’t know what to do with myself. Nothing appeals to me. This quote was right-on in telling me, “Okay, your rest is over, time to get moving again.” That is exactly what this move I am planning will do, get me further down the path.

After reading that passage last night, I decided to buy the Kindle version of ACOL, and downloaded it. This morning I had a few spare minutes while in a class I was taking and began to read the Foreword, which told the story of how Mari Perron received the information. In it she talked about how there was this dichotomy between the Oneness she felt when she was engaged with Jesus receiving the material, and when she wasn’t. She would try to recreate that feeling, but couldn’t. She finally realized she was trying to recreate it with her mind, which is not where Oneness resides (my words).

Further on in the Foreword Mari says, “You are about to receive this Course. As you open your heart to it, don’t rely on your mind to recognize what you receive. When you close the book and go about your day, don’t do as I did and bring it to your mind. Hold it in your heart. Stay in love’s presence. Don’t step back into separation…Don’t think too much. Let your heart lead the way.”

In my life I have been guilty of thinking too much. Way too much.

This really resonated with my current experience. My mind has been trying to sort everything out and make order of the chaos, but it can’t. Because this isn’t about my mind and choosing something thoughtfully and rationally. It is about following my heart, and my mind doesn’t know how to do that – that isn’t my mind’s job.

So I will trust my heart. I will trust Spirit. I will trust that everything that happens is for my benefit.

Even when I’m feeling scared.

To Write or not to Write (or What to Write)?

It’s not been a week since I started this blog up again, and I find myself avoiding writing. On the one hand, I feel like I have so much to say it’s hard to choose a topic. On the other hand, I am constantly weighing what I can write that will be of benefit to others, and how to present that.

This morning it occurred to me that I’ve already moved away from my purpose in re-starting this blog, which is not to instruct or guide others, but rather to say what is going on for me.

Reading a young woman’s blog the other day reminded me that why I started this blog was to allow myself to be vulnerable, and fully seen. I can still remember how terrified I was 4 years ago when I first started blogging. Terrified of being judged. Terrified of being seen.

Now, I’ve been putting on my teacher’s hat, which is a much safer place for me. But I didn’t come here to be safe, I came here to be seen. So…

I begin again.

I have to acknowledge that I’ve been wanting to start up my counseling and coaching practice again, but with a spiritual exploration focus. In the back of my mind is the thought that people reading my blog could see how wise I’ve become, how many lessons I’ve learned, and be drawn to counseling with me. But…that’s not the purpose of this blog. I already have a website for my (former) business, with lots of blog posts geared in that way. This blog was originally started for me to be me, unabashedly, and I want to maintain that focus here.

And, I have some discomfort with the commercializing of my feelings and experiences. Which is why I wasn’t being completely honest with myself about my motivations for blogging again. I judge myself, and I don’t want to. However, I choose to use this blog is okay, there’s nothing wrong with using a blog as a jumping off point for offering my services. But, I don’t think that was why I was guided to begin this blog again.

Deciding to begin again here, rather than on my counseling website, is rather an interesting journey. I actually did begin with the idea of revamping my dormant website to attempt to attract clients that were interested in spiritual development. However, in that process, everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

I have a WordPress-based site, and I hadn’t made any updates to it in almost two years. So the first thing I wanted to do was apply all the updates and get up to date. But first I wanted to make a backup, just in case.

Well, the backup program erred out. I hadn’t used that in almost two years, either. So I contacted the person that hosts my site, and realized I hadn’t paid for hosting for the previous year, or the upcoming year. So, once I did that she “fixed” the backup problem.

Only, she didn’t. I didn’t get the same error, but it still didn’t work. After some back and forth we decided that since it worked for her, she would run it and then send me the file.

Once I got the file, I ran all the updates. There were a lot, both for WordPress itself, as well as all the plugins my site uses. Everything seemed to go fine. The site rendered properly and it seemed all was well.

Until…I went in to begin editing the pages and there was nothing there to edit! The text fields had a squiggly red line in them.This was the point where I finally got the message from Spirit: this isn’t the path I’m supposed to be going down.

So I had my host restore from backup, back to where I started, while I started thinking about other choices. There were some problems with the restore process, too, which further validated that this is not what I was supposed to be doing.

And, I still didn’t get the real message.

I have several other domain names, and one of them had been used for presenting opt-in offers. Since I hadn’t been active in my business in several years, I was no longer using it for this purpose. So, my next thought was that I would use that site and start from scratch to be this “spiritual guidance” site I was imagining.

But, more problems encountered here. I was finally able to get it working, but what was the message? I have learned that when something requires too  much effort, is too hard, then I’ve veered off course.

Finally, I thought of this personal blog that had been unused for two years. Is that where I was supposed to be go?

Well, as I said above, within a week of beginning again here, I have stopped enjoying it. I don’t feel like doing it, it feels like a chore.

So, once again, I have to look at why is this so hard? Obviously I’m not on the right path or I would be inspired to write. And for the most part, I haven’t been.

You may not see any more posts from me for a while – or at all. If that’s the case, it means I’m not feeling inspired.

Or, I may find once again the personal value in sharing my thoughts, feelings and experiences.

I have to believe that I was led back here for a reason. But, as in much of my life, it’s only in hindsight that I can understand what that reason is. For now, all I can do is follow my heart. And we’ll see if it leads me to write here.

When I Don’t Trust Others, I Really Don’t Trust Spirit

Last year I realized that I have been over-protective of my son in a way that is not healthy for either of us. I have taken on his difficult emotions so that he did not have to feel them. In doing this, I’ve kept him from learning and growing in certain ways.

In learning to have a more separate existence from him, I’ve realized that I don’t trust him to keep himself safe. That I have a very deep fear – terror really – that if I don’t protect him he will not survive. Intellectually I know that we each need to be responsible for ourselves, and that he has his own path and lessons to learn in this lifetime.

But as a mother, it can be really difficult to find that fine line between protecting a vulnerable child who doesn’t yet have the skills or wherewithal to take care of himself, and over-protecting to the point where the child doesn’t have the opportunity to learn those skills.

My son is almost an adult now. The line is much clearer than it was when he was younger. And yet…

Some things have happened in the past several months that have really brought to light how much over the line I have been in my son’s life, and the need to find a better balance. I totally get this. Again, intellectually. And yet the terror remains.

If I truly believe that we each come here with a purpose, and our own life lessons to learn (which I do), then I need to be able to trust that whatever happens is for my benefit, and for my son’s benefit. When I don’t trust him to take care of himself, I really don’t trust Spirit. I don’t trust that all things happen for the benefit of all.

I do have faith. I do believe that the Universe is benevolent.

I realize that being able to fully trust and surrender to the benevolence of Spirit is a remnant of my control issues. Throughout my life until somewhat recently I have felt that I’m the only one I can rely on. That it is my responsibility to keep myself and those I love safe.

We’re all works in progress, and I would guess that letting go of control (or rather the illusion of control) is one of my life lessons. How freeing it must be to be able to rely on others, and on Spirit. To not have to be in charge of everything.

And at the same time it feels pretty darn scary.

So, one step at a time, one situation at a time.

The circumstances with my son are there not only for his benefit, but for mine. To give me the opportunity to choose to trust him, and to trust Spirit.

Stuck in the Fog? Use Your Foghorn!

A few days ago I awoke feeling like I was in a fog. Not that my head was fuzzy. Sometimes that can be a nice feeling. This was a feeling of not knowing my direction. Not being able to see where I was going.

I tend to be someone who gets an idea and then runs with it. Now I was in a place where I felt torn in many directions, but not really focused on any of them. I didn’t know which way to turn. It was extremely uncomfortable, and I’ll admit that I had a “meltdown.”

I felt so lost and alone; truly like being lost in the fog. In the past when I didn’t know what to do, I learned that surrendering to Spirit (or higher self) to guide me was all that I could do. I cried. I cried hard. I talked out loud about how lost and lonely and without direction I felt. About how miserable I felt.

When I felt cried out, I stopped and went about my morning business. I went for my morning walk, as usual. It was quite foggy, as it had been in Seattle for the past several mornings. As I walked, I could hear a foghorn out in Puget Sound.

It occurred to me that I should use my own foghorn to let people know I’m here, that I’m stuck in the fog.  Use my foghorn to ask them to help me navigate. Asking for help has never been my strong suit, and it definitely is an area of growth for me. Yet it felt like a relief once I realized I didn’t have to be lost in the fog all alone.

I belong to a private group on Facebook that consists of people who have taken Robert Holden’s Happiness or Success Coaching Certification classes. I knew these were people I could trust with my vulnerability.

So I posted in the group about how I was feeling lost and directionless. I immediately began getting thoughtful and heartfelt responses. Each and every post had something of value for me. Just seeing people respond to my request for help led to me feeling better. I realized that my surrender in my earlier “meltdown” was answered by hearing the foghorn on my walk, and realizing I don’t have to do this alone.

The next time that you’re lost in the fog, feeling alone and directionless, use your foghorn!

How Laura Got Her Groove Back (It’s Not What You Think)

Over the past few weeks, maybe even the past month, I have had times of feeling very anxious. In the past I frequently had boughts of anxiety, but over the past year or so that has become rare.

I felt anxiety about some specific things, in particular two decisions I had made about the direction in which I wanted to take my business. One decision was to start an Internet TV show on the Real Coaching Network platform. The other was to completely rebrand my business and have a new website built.

Both of these required somewhat large outlays of money, so I told myself that I was anxious about spending the money. Both of these decisions were made about four or five weeks ago.

As I moved forward with each of these projects, I encountered bumps in the road and sometimes roadblocks. I would have moments where I would wake up first thing in the morning overcome with anxiety which was usually related to one of these projects.

I did what I felt I could do to relieve the anxiety. Sometimes this took the form of asking a question of the provider of the service. Other times it was “talking myself down.” The anxiety continued to occur, so nothing I was doing was getting at the root of the problem.

In each case I agonized over whether I had made the right decision. I was never sure. I was full of self-doubt. I kept asking my higher self for guidance, but never seemed to receive it.

I had avoided asking for deliverable dates and sharing some of my concerns with the owner of Real Coaching Network because I was afraid of his reaction. I had several interactions with him fairly early on where he became defensive and blaming when I questioned his process or didn’t want to do something the way he wanted it done.

In one case this was about security. He wanted my login information, including passwords for all my social media accounts, and he wanted me to put them in his online project management tool. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t tend to be overly worried about Internet security, but I do know enough not to put my passwords in writing, even on a supposedly secure site! I wasn’t keen on giving them to him at all, and I outright refused to put them somewhere online.

His reaction was to argue with me, to tell me why I had to do it that way, to tell me that no one else he worked with had a problem (are they stupid?), and to tell me that at some point I had to trust someone.

Well, let’s see. I’ve known you for about two weeks, and you are the person I am supposed to trust with all my passwords? Um, no. Anyway, that is just one example of the types of interactions I had with this person that led to me being reluctant to raise issues with him.

Separate from his belligerent attitude, I realized I wasn’t receiving many of the services from him that he was supposed to provide. I was paying a monthly fee for these services and the next month’s payment was coming up in a few days.

I sent him an email with a list of all the services I was supposed to receive and asking for a status on each of them. I also listed things that had been done incorrectly (professionalism is not his strong suit) that needed to be corrected, and asked for a response. I then waited anxiously for the eruption that I was sure I had set off.

I received a response from him a day and a half later. I was getting ready to go out of town for the weekend, and I was fearful that reading his response would lead to more anxiety, and that I would not be in a place where I could respond to him since I was going to be out of town. So I sent him a note that I would respond when I returned.

The morning of my first day back I awoke with tons of anxiety. I tried to go about my morning routine, but finally decided I had to see how he had responded. My expectation was that he would attack and blame me somehow.

I opened up the document and saw that yes, he did blame me for much of what was undone, but that he hadn’t really attacked me.  Whew.  But…aside from the tweaks to fix things he had done incorrectly, he hadn’t done any of the other things that were due, nor told me when they would be complete.

I realize this has become a very long story. To cut to the chase, I stood up to him. I canceled my subscription and asked him to refund the payment that had been made a few days earlier. I did all of this nicely and respectfully, saying that it was not a good fit for me.

He first responded by trying to cajole me, offering to have a phone call that he would come to with an “open heart.” When I said it was too late for that, then the hammer came down. “No refunds. What a bad person you are, Laura, you don’t walk your talk.”

I stood my ground. I contacted an attorney. I called Visa to dispute the charge.

And all the while I was spinning on the idea that I was wrong, I was to blame, I was bad. I realized that this man reminded me of my ex-husband, and that was why I had all the anxiety about interacting with him. His patterns of interacting with me matched my ex-husband’s. And even being aware of this I couldn’t get out of the place of self-blame.

The rest of the day was a very uncomfortable, upsetting one for me. There were moments of crying uncontrollably. Mostly I just felt sick to my stomach. I could see how I was stuck in my head, and stuck in this place of taking responsibility for something that was not my fault, but I couldn’t stop.

That evening I went to Kundalini yoga. If you’ve never tried it, please do! The last thirty minutes is a gonging session where we lay on the floor with pillow and blanket and just feel the vibrations of the gong.  These vibrations release stuck emotions and energy. At the very end of the session I heard a voice inside say, “You have every right to be angry.”

I finished the session feeling significantly better than when I had started. When I woke up the next morning I felt calm and peaceful, and spent most of the day in that state. I realized that this situation had been testing my resolve to be authentic, and to speak my truth regardless of my fears.

The following day as I woke up I saw that the feeling of being cut off from the guidance of my higher self was because I wasn’t paying attention to the guidance I was receiving. All the anxiety I had felt was guidance. Because I was afraid to confront the situation, the anxiety grew and grew, trying to tell me to pay attention.

I realized that I also needed to deal with my concerns about my website project. I sent an email off to the project manager asking to halt the project while I re-evaluated. I felt calm and at peace.

Soon after sending this email, I went for my regular morning walk.  As I approached the road that runs along a bluff above Puget Sound, I saw a single bird flying towards me. As I looked up at this bird I saw it was blue heron.

A sign of self determination, following my path, speaking my truth. I knew I was back on track. My intuition had been there all the time, waiting for me to pay attention, and now I had.

And that’s how Laura got her groove back.

Eagles, Part I – Spirit Is Always Present

Friday was my birthday. Several weeks earlier I made plans to go by myself to the Olympic Peninsula. Part of my motivation was to spend some time alone in nature. To reflect and meditate on what I wanted to create in the coming year.

On a clear day when I am driving the hills of Seattle near my home I can see the Olympic Mountains. Over the past couple of years I have felt a pull to go to the Olympic Peninsula, especially to the northern part of the coast where it is rocky and wild.

However, that is not a day drive, as it takes four hours or more to get there, and requires planning for where I would stay overnight. With my birthday coming up it seemed like the perfect excuse for this getaway.

I’ll admit, too, that the other part of my motivation was that I didn’t want to end up alone and with no plans on my birthday weekend. It was something of preemptive strike to make plans for that weekend so that I was choosing to be alone rather than ending up alone.

On Friday I had no special birthday plans. I did a Skype call with a friend from church that was business-related. I met a new friend for tea, and she bought my tea and pastry, which was nice and unexpected. I saw a couple of clients and went for my monthly acupuncture appointment.

I stopped for dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant on my way home from the acupuncturist. Nothing special and I was okay with that.

When I got home it was still early in the evening, and I suddenly felt very lonely and sad. It was my birthday, and no one had invited me to do anything to celebrate. Of course the flip side of that is that I had not let my friends know that I wanted to do something. But either way, I felt very sad and sorry for myself.

I was even beginning to feel like I didn’t want to leave on my weekend trip the next morning. I had a vague sense of loss or grief at leaving home for the weekend. I worried about my cats, which of course are fine on their own overnight.

I did what I frequently do when I begin to feel sad, lonely or grief-stricken. I distracted myself by playing games on the computer and reading. I hoped I would not be feeling this way all weekend.

When I awoke Saturday morning I did, indeed, feel better. I had been thinking about the route I would take to the hotel. Where would I like to go, what would I like to see and do on the way?

After treating myself to breakfast out, I decided to go to a park at the south end of Hood Canal: Penrose State Park. My family had gone there many times when I was a child. Sometimes we would go for the day and go clam digging. When we got home my dad would make chowder with the clams. Other times we would camp overnight, hike in the woods near the water, and dig caves in the sandy bank at the water’s edge.

I hadn’t been to Penrose for about five years, and prior to that had not been since I was an adolescent. This stop was a nostalgic one for me.

I arrived mid-morning. There had been a little rain while I was having breakfast, but now it was dry, with some broken clouds. I had brought a raincoat and boots because the weather can be unpredictable, but I was thankful that I would not need them – at least not right then.

The tide was about halfway out, and the spit of land where we walked to dig clams was fully exposed. I decided to take a walk out on this spit. The path along the top of the spit was somewhat rocky, and required a certain amount of attention to my feet and where I was stepping so that I didn’t turn my ankle.

As I walked this spit of land that stuck out into the water, I would occasionally look around at the view: land close in on both sides, still and quiet water, a seagull or crow here and there.

I noticed streams of water spurting up from the ground in the wet areas on either side of the pathway. I remember that seeing these fountains was how we knew there was a clam, and would start digging to find it. It was a fun and warm memory of time with my dad.

After ten minutes or so, I was about halfway down the length of the spit. I was continuing my slow walk, looking around me occasionally, but also focused on where I was stepping. To my left I suddenly heard the beat of wings and looked up to see a bald eagle taking off from the ground not more than ten feet away from me!

He flew back to the forested land at the edge of the water and perched on the top of an evergreen tree. From where I was standing I could only see him because of his white head. I was amazed (and a little disappointed) that I had come so close to this eagle, and yet had not noticed him there.

I know that eagles symbolize Spirit. I realized that this experience was a message that Spirit is always with me, whether I notice it or not. Spirit watches over me even when it is hidden in the top of a tree and I can’t see it. It is still there, just waiting to be noticed.

I was (and am) so grateful for this experience, this reminder. I had been feeling sad and lonely, unloved and uncared for, yet Spirit was with me all the time, loving me and caring for me. All I had to do was pay attention.

Is the Answer No, Slow, or Go?

Yesterday I was reminded of a saying that all prayers are answered, but the answer isn’t always “yes.”

I have been reinventing myself, and my coaching practice, as I become more and more authentic. This reinvention has led to the need for a new branding for my business and a new website.

I had talked to a few different people about doing this work for me, but nothing was resonating. Then this past Sunday I saw a website that I really liked, and was similar to what I envisioned for my site. At the bottom of the home page was a link to the company that had designed the website, so I clicked it.

I was impressed with the company’s mission and approach. They want to work with people (like me) who want to make a difference in the world. There was no pricing info, but I knew the website I liked was owned by a sole practitioner like me, so I hoped the cost would not be prohibited.

I was really excited; this felt right to me. Since it was Sunday I couldn’t call the company, so I sent an email asking to schedule the free consultation they offered.

Getting my branding and website redesigned are prerequisites to some other things I want to do in my practice (internet radio show, publishing a book). I was anxious about getting in touch with the web design company. So Monday morning I also called the company to request the free consultation.

I reached an automated voice message system, and left a message. I was little disconcerted that I didn’t get a real person, or even a real voice, and started to feel some misgivings. Six hours later I had not gotten a response to my email or my phone call. The misgivings became larger.  I called again and left another message saying that I really wanted to work with them and hoped they would call me back.

Within half an hour I received a return call from a live person, and we scheduled a 15 to 20-minute Skype session for a few days later.

When the time arrived for the Skype call, I was at my computer and online on Skype, but the web company representative was not; his status was “offline.” I waited a few minutes and messaged him on Skype. I waited a few more minutes and sent him an urgent email. I waited a few more minutes (now halfway through the time we had set aside to meet) and called the only phone number I had – the automated voice – and left a message.

I waited. Nothing. Finally, when it was 30 minutes past the scheduled meeting time, which I had double-checked in the confirmation email from the company, I gave up. I sent another email expressing my disappointment in the meeting not taking place, as well as my frustration with not having a phone number that reached a real person (or at least that person’s direct voice mail). I went back to my regularly scheduled activities, which included going for a walk.

On my walk I went through a series of emotions, and thoughts, about the situation with the web design company. I was really disappointed because based on other sites they had done I felt that they were exactly what I was looking for. On the other hand, I had not always had a great experience with web designers before, and wanted to pay attention to messages that this company might not be the right fit for me. I sometimes allow my excitement to cause me to overlook the potential problems, and didn’t want to repeat that mistake.

Then I remembered something I had once been told about the way prayers are answered. Sometimes the answer is “no,” sometimes the answer is “slow,” and sometimes the answer is “go.”

What was the answer in this case?

Well, I could say for certain that it wasn’t “go” (or “yes.”) Things were not falling effortlessly into place.

So the choice was between “no” and “slow.”

There was a message in all these roadblocks I was encountering. My immediate interpretation of the roadblocks was that I was not meant to work with this company. A “no.” But what if the real message was that I needed to develop more patience? Patience has never been my strong suit, and certainly I could use more of it. This would be an answer of “slow.”

It was true that I had been feeling a real sense of urgency about getting the branding and web redesign underway. Did I really need to be in such a hurry? On the other hand, the difficulty in getting in touch with individuals in this company was also information I needed to pay attention to. I knew that if I decided to work with them, this would not be acceptable to me.

In the end, I saw that I still didn’t have enough information to know if it was a “no” or a “slow.” I didn’t know why the meeting hadn’t taken place. I was open to gathering more information, with my eyes wide open, before making a decision.

This situation was a good reminder that a roadblock doesn’t always mean to find another path (although frequently that is the message). Sometimes there needs to be a delay. Often the reason a delay is necessary doesn’t become clear until sometime later when we can look back and put it in context.

Since it isn’t always clear in the moment which way to interpret a roadblock, it pays to have patience, pay attention to what happens next, and be open to whatever the answer may be.