Tag Archives: surrender

The Power of Letting Go

Since I moved to Massachusetts I have been complaining about how difficult it is to figure out how to be “legal” about things like my business and my car registration. In particular my car registration.

The day after I first arrived, I received a phone call from my insurance company telling me about all the hoops I would need to jump through to get my car registered. And, within 20 days of my move. Since I am someone who has had a long-standing fear of getting in trouble (even though I am typically a goody-two-shoes), this created some anxiety for me.

Over the next several weeks and multiple calls to the insurance company, emails from the insurance company, calls to the leasing company, an in-person visit to the state licensing agency (only to be told “we don’t do that here”) and finally a call to the state titling agency, I was completely and totally confused, and no closer to getting my car registered and licensed.

During the call to the state titling agency, at which time they told me that I had to get the car title and bring it in person – while the leasing company told me they would only send it to the state agency – I finally gave up. I surrendered. Since this whole process seemed impossible anyway, what else could I do? I said to the representative on the phone, “Fine, then I just won’t register it.” And that was what I decided.

I made one finally call to my insurance company, and they said they would try again to get the title from the leasing company, but that it would take 30 days. Whatever. I wasn’t going to put any more energy into figuring this out, or worrying about the consequences of not registering my car in Massachusetts.

Three days later I received a letter in the mail from the leasing company telling me they had sent the title to the insurance company. Three days! Not 30 days, not never. Three days! After five weeks of fear, anxiety, frustration and anger, all it took was to say “I give up.”

I realized that my anxious energy was holding this entire process hostage. As soon as I surrendered, the process could flow and complete itself.

The reality is that all my fear and worry could not control what was happening, so why not let go and surrender to whatever unfolds?

Now, I didn’t surrender in order to try and control the process (i.e. “if I let go then this will all work out”); that would actually not be surrender at all, but manipulation. True surrender is letting go of attachment to the outcome, and that is exactly what I did. If everything worked out and my car got registered, great! If my car never got registered, great! I reached a point where it didn’t matter to me.

This is the key to inner peace, letting go of attachment to the outcome.

What are you holding on to that would be better served by letting go?

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.

One Step at a Time

I’ve really been having a week of upheaval. There is the potential for all the basics in my life (work and home) in the next few months. I’m looking at moving across the country, and with that, through necessity, changing jobs – or at least changing what my current job is like.

On Tuesday I hit my limit with the unknown and feeling overwhelmed and, let’s face it, scared. Even though these changes are completely my own choice, and I know that I am being called to do them, it’s darn scary!

I am feeling called to move to upstate New York, and am planning a trip there in July to check it out. My goal is to make a decision by the end of July and move in August. Earlier this week I started planning my trip, and promptly became paralyzed by indecision. Which is not at all like me. I couldn’t decide whether to fly or drive. I couldn’t make myself fill out and turn in the vacation request at work. I spent hours online looking at AirBNB and driving routes and flight choices. And couldn’t decide a thing.

To top things off, there has been some drama at work in the past week that throws a wrench in the works of how I was planning my graceful exit there. Or if not a full exit, at least a transition to working remotely as a contract employee. And I was left feeling like everything in my life was up in the air and unknown.

Of course if I’m honest, that’s always true! I don’t have control over the majority of what happens in my life. But like most of us, I have carried that illusion of control with me for many years, and it feels just teensy bit (okay, a whole lot) uncomfortable when I run up against it. And I have been someone who has had an inner knowing of what I want to do and is very decisive, in general.

In the past 10 years I have made a lot of significant changes in my life, and have handled them with grace and ease. I’ve had friends remark on the courage it took to change careers, when to me it just felt like the logical next step for me. Similarly, when I sold my house a few years ago and decided to rent instead (in preparation for a move out of state or country at some unknown time in the future), friends told me how brave I was. And, once again, I knew deep in my heart that it was the right path for me, and although I had moments of sadness in leaving the home where I had raised my son, 95% of me was excited for the change.

So this feeling of being almost paralyzed by fear of the unknown is somewhat new to me.

A few things happened, and I had some reminders that helped me to regroup and calm down.

  • I let it all out. I had a couple of experiences at work that day that got me really worked up. I left work and got in my car and drove. I cried. I ranted. I swore (yes, this can sometime be helpful!). I raged. I got mad at other drivers. I yelled at my boss and co-worker. And within 15 minutes it was all out, and I felt a lot better.

My inclination is to stuff everything and not feel the yuck. But when I do that, I really can’t think straight, because there’s all that stuff in their trying to get out. I recently read a great book, Letting Go, The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins. The concepts were not new to me, but they were a great reminder that as we stuff our emotions rather than letting them flow through us, we create strife in our lives that manifests in many different ways.

So, I let go of all the anger, frustration and rage that had been building up inside me. No, it’s not all about what happened at work that day. But that situation was a catalyst to release more of what has built up over more than 50 years in this body.

  • Nothing is forever. Once I was calm, I could think straight. I remembered that no matter what decision I make, it’s not forever. If I don’t like the result, I can always make a different choice. I wasn’t going to let fear of making a mistake keep me from moving forward.
  • I only need to know the next step. Part of what was getting me so tied up in knots that I couldn’t move was not being able to know how everything will pan out.

Will my boss be agreeable to me working remotely? Will another employment option I have work out? How will I support myself? How will my cats deal with 5 days on the road when we move? Will I find a place I like to live?

As you can see, none of these questions have a thing to do with planning my trip to explore. But this is what was keeping me paralyzed. I couldn’t predict the future.

I was reminded of something profound that a friend said to me four years ago when I was in a similar state. I was planning a trip to Edinburgh with the idea of checking it out as a place I might like to live. I was going through all the same kinds of questions and getting myself pretty freaked out.

As I shared this with my wise friend, he said “You only need to know the next step.”

Well, duh! But how profound! I have used this wisdom from my friend many times in the past few years when I get myself in a tizzy over the future, and it has served me well. Thank you, Mark.

So, I got unstuck and booked my trip the next day. I still have a bit of trepidation about how the future will unfold, I suppose that’s only natural, even as I trust in Spirit to guide me. But I am no longer paralyzed and am moving forward.

Feeling Grumpy and Out of Sorts

I woke up feeling grumpy and out of sorts the other day. I know that writing helps me process what’s going on when I feel this way, but I didn’t have the right tools, or so my ego (small self) told me. I needed a new journal, a bigger size than any of the many blank journals I currently have.

Yeah, right.

But, that’s where I was. Listening to that ego chatter telling me that I couldn’t do what I knew was in my best interest.

So instead, I decided to do a 3 card spread with my Tarot cards. This is a practice I did faithfully every day for a full year a couple of years ago, until it felt like it no longer served me. Recently I’ve gotten back into using the cards to help me access guidance from Spirit (my higher self).

Of course the cards I drew were perfect.

Tarot Spread 2016-05-02

So perfect that I felt the emotion well up in me and began to cry. I felt so supported and so validated, and knowing that I was on my right path helped, even though right now it doesn’t feel exactly right to me.

I realized a couple of things, all lessons that continue to show up for me over the past few years.

  • Trust and Faith: I want to let go of doubt and trust that Spirit has my back. Whatever is happening is in my best interest, even (sometimes especially) when I feel out of sorts. The cards I drew were so absolutely perfect, that there is no doubt that Spirit is guiding me. Trust and faith.
  • Surrender: When I feel grumpy and out of sorts, I’m usually in a growth spurt. I know this well, have identified this in myself over the past several years. It makes perfect sense that as I shift into a new way of being that it feels uncomfortable. That’s normal and I can accept that as my reality in this moment, just as I accept – and trust – that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be and how I’m supposed to be feeling. I don’t need to change a thing.
  • Let Go of Attachment to Outcome: I don’t know what’s going to happen next, and I don’t need to know. Of course I have preferences about how my path will unfold, but experience has taught me that I (the small I – ego) don’t have any idea of what is possible. So I can put out there what I would like, and then let go of making it happen. Let go of managing the situation. I don’t need to know how to make it happen. I don’t even need to know what the end result will look like. I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other on my path.

 

Being Authentic Means Feeling Emotions

Wow. That’s all I can say: wow. I just love how the Universe tells me when I’m supposed to be focused in a certain area of my life. I also love how I receive help when I request it.

A couple of days ago I had an astrological reading. It was quite amazing, and also kind of overwhelming. One of the primary things the astrologer told me was that I was very intellectual and brilliant (his word). But in order to move forward on my life path and to fully open up my intuition, I needed to let go of my intellectual baggage and feel my body and my emotions.

I have known for quite some time that I spend most of my time in my head. I’ve had therapists and my intuitive healer encourage me to feel my body and my emotions (we feel our emotions in our bodies, not in our heads). I’ve made some attempts to do this, but not on a regular basis. And frankly, most of the time I’m unaware that I’m suppressing my emotions.

Added to this lack of awareness is a big helping of resistance. I really don’t like to feel my feelings and have become a master at avoiding it. I intellectualize everything, which keeps me in my head. If I start to feel sad, or some other uncomfortable emotion, I’ve learned how to distract myself.

I don’t like to cry. It feels bad both emotionally and physically. There are times when I try hard to embrace crying, because I know it is good for me, and I’ve been doing this more lately. But most of the time I work hard at avoiding it.

(If any of my clients are reading this, do as I say when I encourage you to feel your emotions, not as I do!)

Another thing the astrologer told me, related to this idea of feeling, was that I needed to be able to hold polar opposites as part of my essence (who I am authentically). In other words, my preconceived notions of who I am, and who others are, limit my growth.  I realized the truth in the idea that I am not my mental concept of myself, but that I really am a soul that encompasses all possibilities.

But, I didn’t know how to get in touch with that. When I told the astrologer that I didn’t know how to do this, he said that “knowing how” was a mental process and this was a feeling process. Sigh. I’m brilliant at gathering knowledge and know-how. Not so great (yet) at feeling my way to wisdom. But I’m working on it!

Yesterday as I was taking my daily walk I was also having a conversation with Spirit. I told Spirit that I knew I was ready to make this shift from my head to my heart, and asked to be shown the path. I also asked to be aware when opportunities to practice shifting into my body and feelings presented themselves.

In the afternoon I had an appointment with a therapist. I was meeting with her because I was interested in joining a women’s intimacy group she led. She was the answer, or at least one of the answers, to my request for help from Spirit.

She, of course, wanted to know about why I was interested in joining an intimacy group. The bottom line answer is that because I have a narcissistic mother with whom I was enmeshed as a child, I have a huge fear of intimacy. I fear that I will cease to exist within any relationship that becomes too close. At the same time, I have huge desire for intimacy, as we all do at our cores.

She very skillfully pushed me to feel those feelings of not being nurtured in the way I needed as a child. Every time I started to get back into my head and talk about what happened rather than feel it, she would point that out to me. Within 15 minutes of meeting this woman I was sobbing.

As I’m writing this section, I’m crying again. And I’m glad; it’s a good thing. It’s exactly what I need to be doing right now. Fifty-four years of suppressing my emotions is enough. I know that to move forward on my path, to be more authentic, to be the soul that I really am, I have to feel.

It’s not like I didn’t already know this intellectually, but now I’m really feeling it. And it feels awful and wonderful at the same time. Hey! There’s that polarity the astrologer told me I needed to embrace! Feeling awful and wonderful can both exist within me, and at the same time. Amazing!

As I left the therapist’s office yesterday I felt drained and exhausted, and also committed to finally allowing myself to feel. I was grateful to have met someone who can guide me in this process. I also felt incredibly grateful for the guidance from the Universe. The timing of hearing the astrologer’s message the day before I met with the therapist was perfect.

I’m looking forward to really being myself. To feeling how I really feel, in the moment. To letting others know how I really feel (okay that feels a little scary, but I will get there). To being who I really am, not just my concept of myself.

For Best Results, Quit Trying So Hard

I am an expert at making things happen.  All my life I have been really good at deciding what I want, figuring out the steps to get there, and then doing it.  Over the past several years I have become aware that there are things in life – frequently the most important things – that cannot be forced, but have to be allowed, to happen.

I was reminded of this yesterday when working with a client who is very similar to me in being what could be called an overachiever.  We have been working on (notice the use of the word “working”) helping her to get more in touch with who she is authentically with limited success, and she is feeling very frustrated with herself.

There are different tools and techniques that can open the door to knowing and being more of who you are, but all these tools can do is open the door, they can’t magically make you know who you are.  That part requires allowing.

It occurred to me in this session that she was trying too hard.  That everything we’re taught in our culture about how to succeed does not work in this situation. It’s hard for us to grasp this idea, let alone implement it, when it has worked so well for us in the past.  I am a perfect example of this, so I could easily relate to the difficulty my client was having.

We fear that if we quit trying so hard, quit striving so hard, that we are giving up.  In our culture giving up is not a good thing, it’s a character flaw.  We fear that if we quit trying so hard that we will lose all motivation and become a bump on a log, accomplishing nothing.

And, we fear that we will not get the outcome we want, that the only way to get what we want is to make it happen. Being able to relax and allow requires trust. Trust that we are supported by the Universe, trust that we don’t have to do it all ourselves, trust that whatever the outcome is, it is in our best interest.

Many times this urge to strive and try leads to anxiety. “Am I doing all the things I need to do to make the thing I want happen? What about all the things that are beyond my control? I must find a way to control them.”

And when we don’t get the outcome we want, or we don’t get it in the timeframe we want, we become frustrated and beat ourselves up.  “I should have done this instead of that. I don’t know how to make this happen. I didn’t do enough, I didn’t try hard enough.”  We are always blaming ourselves.

I don’t remember exactly when I became aware of the difference between forcing and allowing.  I do know that I get reminded of it frequently, and I’m given the chance to do it differently on a regular basis.

Just this weekend I was talking with a friend about the law of attraction and manifesting.  I have been very successful at manifesting money in my life without really trying.  I would write an intention and then forget it about it, and magically money would appear from sources I never even imagined.

Then I read a book that had a four step process for manifesting and put I put that into practice.  And nothing happened.  After a few weeks and some discussion with friends, I realized that I was trying too hard.  When I did what was natural for me – writing my intention and sharing it with my intention circle then forgetting about it – I saw results.  When I focused on my intention every day and had a ritual around it, I didn’t get results.  For me, the way described in the book led to trying too hard and it didn’t work for me.  I went back to my old ways and began seeing results again.

Similarly, I have discovered through many trials and errors that I cannot force myself to feel a certain way.  Being too focused on trying to create a feeling that I want – happiness comes to mind – creates the exact opposite.  The only way I can feel happy is to relax and allow.

Just like helping my client get in touch with who she is authentically, there are things I can do that increase the likelihood that I will feel happy, but they don’t make me feel happy. They open the door that allows happiness to step through.

As I mentioned, I get a chance to stop forcing and begin allowing on a regular basis.  A lifelong belief and the associated habits can take time to change.  So I’m gentle with myself.

When I start feeling anxious or frustrated I know that I’m trying too hard and it’s time to relax a bit. I look at where I still believe that I have to make things happen or where I don’t trust that whatever the outcome may be it will be the right one.

I do the things that will open the door and welcome the outcome that I want, and then I go about my business.  Whatever the outcome, I know that ultimately it will be the right one for me when I trust and allow.

When I am on the Right Path, the Universe Supports Me

In the past week I had several occasions to tell my story of making a mid-life career change.  In each telling I shared how once I paid attention to the messages I was getting about being in the wrong career, support for making the change showed up. I have been aware for some time that I get “messages from the Universe” that let me know that I’m on the right path, or that I need to make a course adjustment.

Even the name of my blog, Blue Heron Wisdom, tips my hat to those messages.  I think that acknowledging this support on a regular basis is a good way to get even more support from the Universe.  In that spirit, I want to share the ways in which the Universe has supported me in pursuing my new (now current) career.

When I first awoke to the idea that I needed to make a career change I was in a job where I wasn’t challenged and my boss was not supportive, was volatile, and was sometimes verbally abusive.  I was really unhappy and the stress was affecting my physical health. For several months I had been looking for a different job, and once I became clear on the fact that I needed not just a job change, but a career change, that next job showed up.

I had worked for many years – 26 years at that time – in software development.  I decided that I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a counselor, but of course I did not have the right education yet to make that possible.  I would need to return to school and get a master’s degree in psychology, counseling or some other related field, so I couldn’t immediately change careers.

However, I couldn’t wait two years or more (when I finished school) to change jobs.  My current job was just too unpleasant and stressful.  The next job I found, and ultimately my last job in software development, was the opposite.  My boss was supportive and actually liked me, the team I worked with liked and appreciated me, and upper management thought I was great.  It was wonderful to be appreciated.

But this change to a more pleasant work environment did not mean that I didn’t still need to change careers.  It just meant that now that I had woken up and realized I had been on the wrong path and was moving in the right direction (I had applied to grad school for the fall), that I no longer had to suffer.

The lovely new work environment even extended to supporting me in making my career change.  Although my boss new that once I finished school I would no longer be working there, he gave me time off to go to school and let me work part time while I did my internship.  Now that is support!  Not only from my boss and the company, but from the Universe!

Since the school I attended met for full days on weekdays every seven or eight weeks, I could not have participated in the program without that flexibility from my workplace.  Additionally, in the second year of the program I was required to do an internship 20 hours a week.  As a single parent of a child that was too young to be left home alone, there was no way I could have worked 40 hours a week while doing my internship.  I was, and am, extremely grateful for the support I received from the Universe, through my boss and workplace, during those two years.

Once I graduated I was hired into the community mental health organization where I had been interning.  My plan was to work there until I gathered enough client contact and supervision hours to be licensed, and then I would start my private practice.

I want to forewarn you that there is going to be a lot of talk about money coming up here.  I know that many people in our society believe that money is something that should be kept private.  My belief is that I need to thank the Universe and express appreciation for what I receive, so I need to be truthful about it.  Additionally, I hope that my experience will be inspirational for others, which it cannot be if I don’t tell the truth about it.

The sad truth about social services jobs is that they are extremely underpaid.  I went from making $100,000 a year in software development, to making a little over $13 an hour (that’s less than $30,000 a year) in community mental health.  I knew this would be the case when I chose to make my career change and had decided I would supplement my income with withdrawals from my 401K.

About nine months after I graduated from my master’s program I needed to start making payments on my student loan.  Even stretching the payments out for the longest possible term, this meant a $300 a month payment.  Given that I was already drawing on my 401K just to support myself, the additional payment seemed like a lot.

I had been attending an intention circle, where we practiced the Law of Attraction by writing intentions and sharing them with the group, for about year at that time.  I wrote an intention that said “My school loans are repaid easily and effortlessly without impacting my lifestyle or my savings” and forgot about it.

I had the idea that I would ask my mother to give me the money to make the first year’s worth of payments, which would be about $4000.  It was a big step for me to ask my mother for money.  There’s a lot of history I won’t go into right now, but suffice it to say it was a conscious choice for me to do something different in that relationship.  I knew that she would say yes, but I didn’t like being indebted to her.

When I called to her to ask for this favor she immediately agreed. We went on to talk about the logistics of when this money would be available to me, and in the course of that discussion I said something about how much more expensive school was now than when I had been an undergraduate thirty years earlier.  I said something like “Back then it was $282 a semester and now it was $40,000 for these two years!”  My mom replied by saying, “Well, I can give you the whole $40,000.”

Wow! This exactly fit the intention I had set a few days earlier, but was not at all what I’d had in mind when I wrote it.  The Universe works in mysterious and wonderful ways that I cannot even begin to imagine!

A couple of months later I met my mom at the bank to get a cashier’s check to fully repay the school loan.  She was cashing in a $100,000 CD that had come due in order to give me that money.  When we were having lunch later that day she said to me, “Interest rates are so low it doesn’t pay to put the rest of the money (the remaining $60,000) back in a CD, so think about how you could use that money.”  Wow again.  Thank you, mom!

I didn’t immediately clue into how I was supposed to use that money.  I could have paid off my car loan, but it wasn’t enough to pay off my mortgage which was the biggest outgoing monthly payment that I had by far.

It took another month or so for me to realize how I was intended to use this gift from my mother.  As I mentioned earlier, my idea had been to stay in community mental health until I was licensed, which was still about a year away.  However, I had begun getting messages from the Universe that it was time to move on.

These messages were sometimes subtle, such as my voice mail at work getting disconnected multiple times, but I began to notice that my patience for that work environment was wearing thing.  Finally, one day I had an epiphany that this generous gift from my mother was intended to fund the start of my private practice!

In the end, I left community mental health a year earlier than I had originally planned, and it has all worked out well.  It was the exact right choice and in the exact right time, made possible by the Universe supporting me through my mother.

Since then I have continued to see evidence of being supported by the Universe on this journey I’m on, both through the manifestation of financial means as well as emotional and spiritually.

Thank you Universe, Spirit, God – whatever name you prefer!  I am incredibly grateful!

Surrender: Ask and You Shall Receive

After I returned from New York and had the experience of feeling my wholeness for the first time, I was on a high for weeks.  I was in my authenticity, I knew my purpose, I was inspired in all areas of my life.  Then one day I started feeling grumpy and out of sorts.  I didn’t know what was up for me, but something obviously was.  After a couple of days of this low level grumpiness the feeling escalated to one of despair and desolation.

As I sat at my kitchen table that morning trying to do my daily inspirational reading, a feeling of utter depression and hopelessness swept over me.  It wasn’t attached to any specific thoughts, and I really didn’t know what was going on or what to do about it.  I began to cry uncontrollably – not a common experience for me.  I cried and talked out loud about how bad I felt. In the midst of this I said, “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do. Help me, please!”  In the moment I didn’t consider this a plea to God; I didn’t know who I was talking to, I was just expressing my misery and feeling of helplessness to feel better.

At that point, some miraculous things immediately began to occur, and continued for the rest of the day.

  • Meditation was part of my morning spiritual practice, and I got up from the table and went to my meditation spot, but I was too agitated to be still. I had been experiencing some heartburn for the previous few days coinciding with the onset of my feelings of grumpiness, as well as a stuffy nose and I decided to look these up in Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life.

Heartburn: “Fear. Fear. Fear. Clutching fear.  I breathe freely and fully. I am safe. I trust the process of life.”

Stuffy Nose: “Not recognizing self-worth. I love and appreciate myself.”

These hit the nail on the head for the core of my misery.  I had been blind-sided by fear of living in my authenticity, by doubt of my wholeness.  I could see that my current emotional state was my ego stepping in and doing its job to (theoretically) protect me.

It was telling me that being my authentic self was scary, that living only from that place of wholeness left me open for attack and hurt.  That who I am wasn’t enough, wasn’t whole and I’d better get back to work on trying to fix that.

  • I came back into the kitchen with the intention of writing in my gratitude journal.  This was also part of my morning ritual, but in my current emotional state I just didn’t feel like doing it.  I went to my computer and opened Facebook and the very first post I saw was from a friend I met at Robert Holden’s happiness coaching certification course in New York the previous month.  It said, “You can’t feel stress when expressing gratitude.”

Message received.  Could there have been a more direct indication that I needed to write in my gratitude journal?  So I did.

  • I had been reading a book called Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein, and decided to finish it.  The very next chapter was all about Gabrielle’s own dark night of the soul. It helped me immensely to read of someone else’s similar experience and to know that I would get through it.
  • I came across that famous quote by Marianne Williamson. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I knew this captured exactly what I was experiencing.  As I was fully owning my wholeness and authenticity and what that meant about who I was in the world and what I had to offer I was running up against my ego who was asking “Who are you to be special? What makes you think you have something of value to offer?”

Again, it was so helpful to know that I was not the only one who had experienced this awful, dark feeling, and to have validated that it really was about my ego stepping in when it thought I was getting too big for my britches.

  • As I went back to Facebook, someone had posted a video of Robert Holden and Tom Carpenter talking about self-image (ego).  Part of the message was to be gentle with yourself when you realize that self-image has created the very situation that is the source of your misery.

These first five “miracles” began immediately after my surrender, my crying out that I didn’t know what to do and needed help, and continued for the next hour or so.  At the end of the day the next miracle occurred.

  • I picked up the mail that had just been delivered and saw there was a greeting card with a postmark in the UK.  This happened the week before Christmas, so I thought it might be a Christmas card and wondered who I knew in the UK.  The handwriting on the envelope looked familiar and reminded me of my sister’s, but she had passed away 8 years earlier, so it couldn’t be from her.

I then realized that it was a card I had written to myself at the happiness coaching course the previous month.  They had given us cards to write to ourselves to be delivered at some time in the future.  I had forgotten all about it!  I’d also forgotten what it was I had written inside it.

I opened the envelope, and the front of the card had a beautiful picture where the predominant color was purple – the color that has come to be my favorite.  The message on the outside said “Trust Yourself.”  On the inside I had written, “Just be yourself.  Everything else will follow.  I love you.  You’re perfect.”

Wow.  That was exactly what I needed to hear that day.  I had been hearing it from various other sources: Louise Hay, Gabrielle Bernstein, Marianne Williamson, but here it was written in my own hand to myself.  How perfect was that?

The miracles that continued to affirm my wholeness and perfection continued into the next day.  I really looked at the message written on my coffee cup for the first time in ages, “Believe. Everything is possible.”  I read the message on my desk calendar for the previous day, “Less Ego + More Love = Greater Success.”  And on and on.

Although I felt better than I had the day before, it took a while before I was back in the place I had been before this “dark day of the ego.”  As I share this experience here with you, I still marvel at the power of surrender, of acknowledging that I don’t know how.  How swiftly help came for me once I let go of trying to do it myself and asked for help.  That is perhaps the greatest lesson I will take from this experience.