We as humans can be such a stubborn race. We often think that we know what is best for us, and have a tendency to obstinately stick to a path which may not actually be the right one for us. Our own complex nature is further complicated by the fact that society teaches us to never give up, to set goals and to never veer away from those goals, no matter what. But what if those goals are in fact not the right goals for us? What if that which we think is best for us is actually not? What if that which we are pursuing is only a result of societal conditioning and not based on what our heart or spirit actually desires? What if the Universe actually knows better than we do?
It has been my experience that whatever the scenario, there are signs all around us, and within us, which can help us to decipher if we are in fact on the correct course. For one, is our own internal guidance. We’ve all had that pit in our stomach, that awful feeling of tension that something just doesn’t feel right. Thankfully that is one of our body’s most obvious “warning” signals. In times of trouble or in situations where we might be headed down the wrong path, the gut can kick in and give us that knot feeling. But how many of us have ignored that feeling and found a way to talk ourselves out if it meaning anything?
I have learned first hand that to ignore that gut feeling is a mistake. Now, with experience and with 20/20 hindsight, I am able to see that every time that I had that gut feeling, it was my body, my spirit, trying to warn me against something that was not right for me: whether it was a relationship, a job, or another type of decision. Of course, as I’m a stubborn human, in most instances I ignored the gut, and in all of those situations I blindly stumbled further into situations that were not right for me, that were not aligned with my higher purpose, and I found myself in more difficult and complex situations that in turn took longer and messier manners by which to extricate myself.
In addition to our own internal guidance, the Universe is also constantly giving us signs and indications of which way to go, which way to turn, which path to follow. Most of us are completely oblivious to those signs and even those of us that are aware of them, are often too cynical ourselves to believe or to trust that they mean anything. I’ve learned that to ignore such signs is a huge missed opportunity.
Life is not meant to be difficult. Of course there are always difficult and painful experiences in life, for all people, as that is part of being human and all difficult experiences are opportunities for growth. But overall, life should be good, it should be joyful. We’ve all heard the phrase “go with the flow.” It is true that in those times when we are able to let go and “go with the flow” that life tends to flow more freely and easily. We are not met with as many obstacles. I’m sure you can all point to examples of this in your own lives, when you found yourself aligned on the right path and life seemed to just go…smoothly.
Alternatively, when we are being too stubborn to go with the flow, when instead we are trying to swim upstream, life is hard. We are met with constant obstacles and challenges, nothing seems to go our way, no matter how hard we try. So it is of course in our nature to try harder, and we dig in deeper, having been taught to never give up. The problem with doing that, is that because we are already swimming upstream, by digging in deeper and being stubborn, we are only creating a stronger current to have to swim against. We are only making our situation more difficult. In these situations the Universe is trying to give us the message that we are pursuing the wrong path, that we need to let go and go with the current.
There are many clear examples of this in my own life. The most compelling for me, were my years living in Los Angeles. I spent two years living in LA, and because I dearly loved the climate, the scenery and the spiritual connection I felt with LA, I tried desperately to make my life there work. But no matter how hard I tried, it just wasn’t working out. First off I had moved there to fight for a man I loved, only to be left rejected and heartbroken. I found myself in a brand new city where I had virtually no friends. I couldn’t find work for months on end, and then when I finally did find work, I was laid off only to find myself out of work for another extended period. I applied for so many jobs, and as a master of networking, I worked my network to the bone. I constantly met people for lunch, set up informational interviews, hosted my own MeetUp group in order to meet people and network, I got myself out there. But nothing seemed to come through for me, and not only on the professional front, but also on the dating front. I tried and tried, I fought and I toiled to make my life work in LA, but nothing seemed to give.
On many occasions I thought to myself that clearly things weren’t working out, that clearly I wasn’t meant to stay in LA, and that I should move to San Francisco. But I was stubborn. I wanted to stay in LA and I was determined to make it work. I dug in my heels and continued to fight to stay in Los Angeles. I was going to make it work, damn it!
It wasn’t until June of 2009 that things began to change for me. That month I went on a yoga retreat to Peru, with a group of yogis from the San Francisco area. Upon hearing my story, none of them could understand why I was staying in LA and they all encouraged me to move to San Francisco. When I returned home from Peru, I thought long and hard about what they had said. After two years of fighting, it was clear to me that things were not working out in Los Angeles (for whatever reason that was greater than my mere mortal understanding), so I decided to take the chance on San Francisco.
On August 1, 2009 I moved to San Francisco for a 1-month trial, to see what would happen. Five days later a job offer literally fell in my lap and the next thing I knew I was packing up my apartment in Los Angeles and was moving to San Francisco. It was a complete whirlwind. My life changed, dramatically, overnight. The shift was so sudden, that I realized immediately the poignancy of the event. I realized that it was the moment that I had STOPPED fighting, stopped being stubborn and digging in my heels about staying in Los Angeles, and it was the moment that I opened myself up to the idea of something else, that everything began to flow for me. I could literally see the image of myself paddling like crazy against the current, and then in the instant that I surrender, the boat turns around and I start to ride the current downstream. No more fighting, no more kicking and screaming.
There are two morals to this story: The first is that even though we may think we know what is best for us, we may very well be wrong. If we only open ourselves up to it, the Universe may have something very different, and even better than we can imagine, in store for us. The second is that we are guided, by both our own spirit and other Universal forces. The signs are all around us and within us. And the minute we start paying attention to those signs, and the minute we stop trying to swim upstream and instead go with the flow, that is when life will truly begin to flow freely.