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Posts Tagged ‘destiny’


Today is September 24th. This used to be a special and happy day for me. This is the birthday of the man who was once my best friend, the truest and most trusted friend I’d ever had on this Earth. But when this man left my life, and subsequently became the most painful and profound loss I’ve ever experienced, that is when September 24th did a complete 180 and became a sad and dark day for me.

Last September 24, 2010, is the day that it would become a prophetic day for me…

That day had come as it had for the previous three years and it had dragged me right back down into the darkness. The pain was palpable. But that day I made a decision. I made a decision that I would no longer allow any negative thoughts to get the better of me, to pull me down into the muck. That day, I decided to commit myself to a 365-day challenge of positivity, that for every day for a year I would force myself to focus on the positive, to find the beauty, the good and the magic in every day. That day, September 24, 2010, was the day that I began “365 Ways to Raise Your Vibration”.

This is the very first vibration that I posted that day:

“365 Ways to Raise Your Vibration”: #1: Sing at the top of your lungs in the car!

You see, the minute I had the idea (which by all means came as a flash of pure inspiration) to start this challenge I was filled with a powerful surge of love, and it was as if the Universe were saying, “Yes, yes brave girl, go forth!” I began singing at the top of my lungs, filled with positive vibration, as I drove down the freeway and that was the moment that I fully understood that we can change our thoughts, and that by doing so, we can raise our energetic vibration and create more joy for ourselves.

Each day that followed, I would look for something good in that day and I would post my daily “vibration” on my personal Facebook page. I was doing this purely for my own purposes, to raise my own spirits, to drag myself out of the quagmire of dark and murky emotions. It was truly an act of desperation. But that’s when something magical and completely unexpected began to happen. One friend after the next began asking me from what book I was getting this and where they could buy it! “From what book”?!! These were not from any book, these were my own thoughts. Wow! I had no idea that a simple little idea could have such an impact on other people, but many friends began emailing me to tell me that my posts were inspiring them, that my thoughts were encouraging them to stop and smell the flowers and to look for the beauty in their own lives.

Then one day my Mom told me that I should publish this as a book. Seriously? Was this seriously something that I, little old me, could do? After all, I wasn’t a writer, nor had I ever wanted to be. So what business did I have thinking about writing a book? Absolutely none! I tucked it into the back of mind as something I would possibly explore later. But apparently the Universe had other ideas for me. A few weeks later I was unexpectedly fired from my job, fired for the first time in my life. And let me tell you, I am not the type of person to get fired. I have always excelled at every job I’ve ever had: I am a super hard-worker, an over-achiever and was always one to get promoted (in fact I HAD been promoted only 6 months prior to this shocking blow!), so I knew immediately that this had to be for a greater purpose.

Shortly after getting fired and not really sure of what I was going to do next, into my inbox popped an email: Hay House Publishing was announcing an upcoming Writers’ Workshop. The main purpose of the workshop was to learn how to write a book proposal and how to submit it to agents and publishers. Hmm. This seemed like very odd timing to me. My friends had asked me where they could buy this book that was not a book, my Mom had told me I should publish this as a book, and I had just been fired from my job. Do you see where I’m going here? It seemed as clear as day to me with this email about the Hay House Workshop, that the Universe was offering me a breadcrumb. I knew I needed to follow it. I immediately registered for the workshop.

A few months later, in April of 2011, I went to the Hay House Writers’ Workshop in San Diego. They taught us all about how to build our platform, our audience, how to get our message out and how to write and submit a book proposal. Many of the tips that they gave us about how to build our platform had to do with leveraging social media: creating a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, blogging, and cross-cultivating all of these channels to increase our audience. Half of the audience was completely lost. “What’s a blog? What’s a Wiki? What is Twitter?” These were the types of questions being asked. I, on the other hand, was on fire. I had come from the .com world, so this was old hat to me. I knew exactly what I needed to do. I flew home from San Diego that night and I literally stayed up half of the night launching and linking all of my social media sites.

It is now only five months later since attending that Hay House Writers’ Workshop and I am thrilled and moved to have over 21,000 fans in 36 countries around the world, speaking two different languages. I am regularly blogging in English and Spanish, I have had my work featured in multiple publications and I have completed and submitted my book proposal, with the full intention of publishing 365 Ways to Raise Your Vibration as a book.

So as I sit here on September 24, 2011, I find myself completely stupefied as to how a simple little thought on a dark day one year ago, could have completely changed my life, and the lives of so many other people. I have managed to stay true to my commitment and I have posted something different every single day that raised my vibration. And believe me this was no small task. Like anyone, I had my days where I did not want to get out of bed, when life seemed hopeless and without purpose. I had other days where friends were crappy or bad things happened, some days when the proverbial skies seemed nothing but dark. How on earth could I find the light on those days? I forced myself. I knew that I had to fulfill this commitment to myself and eventually to my 21,000 fans, so even on the darkest of days, I searched high and low, I went out seeking until I could find something that raised my vibration that day, no matter how small. And I have now done this every single day for 364 days.

As I prepare to post #365, I sit here in awe and wonder: in absolute amazement that I have actually managed to fulfill this commitment for an entire year, but moreover completely blown away by how beautifully and magically my life has changed since making that commitment and setting that intention. Make no mistake: Our thoughts DO have power, and if we are strong enough to catch the negative thoughts and change them instead to positive thoughts, absolute magic can happen in our lives. So while September 24th was once a special day, and then became a dark day, I now view it is a destiny day. It was the day that I decided to change my life. And the Universe responded. What will be your destiny day?

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Cathedral of Cusco

I remember the moment as if it were yesterday. We were walking through the main square of Cusco, Peru, towards the majestic Cathedral glistening in the afternoon sun, when Danielle said to me, “It’s all perfect Jeannie. You are simply in the gestation period, things are incubating. You are getting ready to have a rebirth.” Who is Danielle and to what on earth was she referring? Danielle Hougard was the Anusara Yoga teacher who was leading me on my first ever yoga retreat. But she was not just any yoga teacher. Danielle is one of those special “Earth Mother” types, the type of woman who exudes love and motherly instincts from every cell of her body, the type of woman who is truly in touch with her intuition, the Spirit of Earth and Sky, and the energies of every living creature around her. This is a wise women who just seems to “know” things, and somehow when she says them you just know that you can trust her.

Danielle was responding to my story of how my life had fallen into ruins: I had moved across country to fight for love, only to find myself rejected and abandoned. If that wasn’t enough I had arrived at the beginning of the recession and was thrust headfirst into months of unemployment. Running out of money and desperate for work, I was compelled to take a minimum wage job at a retail store. It was depressing enough that I had gone from a successful, high-paying management career in Washington, DC, to making minimum wage, but in the depths of my own heartache, I was now forced to endure hundreds of happy couples strolling about arm in arm as the irritating Christmas carols pumped out incessantly through the loudspeakers of the shopping mall. But worst of all, every day I lived in fear that the man who had broken my heart would stroll in with HIS new girlfriend on his arm. This was my rock bottom. If there is a Hell on Earth, this was definitely it.

Fortunately through a stroke of “luck,” I was finally able to find a “real” job. Things were looking up, I could finally leave my minimum wage job and get back to building my career….Or so I thought. Sadly my luck would not last and I was laid off several months later, and found myself yet again in a period of protracted unemployment. So here I was in Peru, six months after having been laid off and I hadn’t had a single bite to the hundreds of resumes sent. My life was completely stagnating. I was having no luck on the job front, no luck on the love front, every cell in my body ached and mourned for the loss of my best friend, and I was depressed to the point where I did not want to get out of bed in the morning. The only thing I could feel in my life was a palpable feeling of stagnation. I was completely stuck.

Danielle’s response to this story was a friendly smile and a reassuring nod, telling me that everything I had just described was actually “PERFECT,” that although on the surface it felt like things were stagnating, that actually behind the scenes there were forces at work, and that I was simply in the gestation period…that I was simply getting ready for a powerful rebirth. Though to my rational (and depressed!) mind this sounded a little bit unusual and way too good to believe, the certainty with which she spoke these words gave me a momentary peace. I prayed that she was right.

By now you may be wondering what I was doing in Peru after the story I just described and given my obvious state of unemployment. Well, call me a risk-taker, but when life gets really dark and gloomy, that’s when something deep inside of me says “SCREW IT” and propels me to go do something incredible and adventurous, to try to drag myself reluctantly out of the muck. All of my life I had dreamed of going to Peru. When I was in high school Spanish class, my teacher would show us pictures of Machu Picchu and I just knew that I had to go there one day. So when I found myself in the midst of my “dark night of the soul,” and completely stuck, I knew I had to do something to try to unstick myself.

Several days after walking through that square in Cusco, we found ourselves on the very tip-top of Huayna Picchu Mountain, high above the breath-taking, mind-boggling and awe-inspiring creation that was Machu Picchu. This masterpiece defied human logic and comprehension. Its ruins were perfectly intact, each of its thousands of individual stones stacked so flawlessly and at such exquisitely engineered angles that they would remain intact and stable for hundreds of years of enduring the elements. There are honestly not any words I could ever use to adequately express what it felt like to be standing up there at 8,920 ft, literally on top of the world. As I looked around us, I was overcome with goosebumps at the beauty of the jagged, majestic mountains that shot dramatically up into the heavens, hugged and nurtured by the blankets of fog. If there was a God, he/she was certainly here. I felt the great Spirit of the Earth in the wind that whispered into my ears, in the Sun that warmed my back, and in the solid stone beneath my feet, stones that had held the weight and cradled the souls of hundreds of thousands of humans across the centuries. I was awed to my core. Standing up here at this great height, surrounded by the magic and mystery of Mother Earth, I knew I was being supported.

Me on top of Huayna Picchu Mountain, with Machu Picchu far below

At the end of our 10-day journey, completely moved and humbled by the Grace, beauty and humility of the Peruvian people, we returned home to the States, and I back to the chains of stagnation in Los Angeles. The minute I touched down in Los Angeles, I knew I had to leave. I am a stubborn person. And because I loved Los Angeles and felt a profound spiritual connection with her, I had previously been determined to stay there, despite the fact that the signs seemed to point elsewhere. But now the Universe had given me a breadcrumb to follow. You see, this yoga group, led by this sweet soul Danielle, was actually from San Francisco, and I only found them through an “accidental” twist of fate through a web search. Nobody on the trip could figure out why I was staying in Los Angeles after the horror I had described. They encouraged me to move to San Francisco. Considering that my life was completely stagnant and that I had already lost everything of importance that I could possibly stand to lose, I decided it was time to break free of my prison.

This is when Grace took over. Only five days after moving to San Francisco, for what was intended to be a one-month temporary sublet to test out the waters, a job offer had fallen unexpectedly into my lap. Over the weeks that followed, I frantically looked for a permanent apartment in San Francisco, searched desperately for someone to take over my lease in Los Angeles, packed up my entire one-bedroom apartment in 24 hours and drove the entire load, by myself, the six-hour drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and then started my new job the next day. Just like that, my life had shifted dramatically. Danielle’s words about an impending “rebirth” were ringing in my ears. But what I didn’t know was that this was just barely the beginning. I was only in the earliest contractions and still had over a year of “labor” ahead of me.

17 months later, after months and months of undue stress and anxiety in my corporate job, I was let go. Bowled over by the unexpected blow, I picked myself back up and threw myself immediately back into the job search. But the minute I did so, another breadcrumb was laid down for me. I had written my very first blog post, about my journey of healing through yoga, and it had felt good. But not only did it feel good, it got a good response. Somehow, as if in a daze, I suddenly found myself with my own blog and I began writing. Never having had any interest in being a writer, it was as if a higher force had suddenly taken over and was simply pulling my puppet-strings and moving me along a new and unexpected path. But this path felt right.

Now only eight short months since losing my job, I have over 20,000 beautiful, bilingual fans in 35 countries around the world, my work has been published in several different publications, I am now a regular contributor to Elephant Journal, writing in both English and Spanish, I’m about to be featured in Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine, and I have just completed and submitted my very first book proposal, with the hope that I will soon be a published writer. I couldn’t have imagined this dramatic turn of events in my life even eight months ago when I lost my job. In fact almost daily I look back and scratch my head with delight and wonder. But there would be no way in my wildest, craziest dreams that I could have imagined this, as we walked through that square in Cusco talking about my impending “rebirth.”

A few weeks ago we had a reunion from our Peru trip, now just past the two-year mark since we took our trip, and I was reminding Danielle of this moment from Cusco. Danielle then told me something that I hadn’t yet known, something that made this entire experience even more unbelievable and magical to me: the name Cusco means “navel of the Earth.” Danielle had been right, I was in the gestation period and I was getting ready for a “rebirth.” What I hadn’t realized was that I had to go to Cusco, the “navel of the Earth,” in order for the “rebirth” to begin…

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Today I am faced with perhaps the most profound opportunity for growth that this life has yet afforded me. Today is the day that the man I have loved and trusted beyond all others, will marry another woman, the woman with whom he replaced me…instantly. Am I ok with this? This is an interesting question. I have been dreading this day for years, and while I was certain the answer to that question would have been a resounding “NO!”, I am pleasantly surprised and pleased to report that the actual answer is “I do not care.”

It is true that this man misled me, that he lied to me, and that he betrayed every promise he ever made to me. It is true that this man broke me, in the most profound sense of the word. And yet as I write this I am reminded that just the other day a dear friend of mine was telling me about a poem that she had written called “Broken Open,” a poem that described how we need to be broken open, so that we can more fully experience love and life. There is so much truth in that.

I am further reminded of the Tower card in Tarot. This is a card that on the surface is of utter destruction, of ruin, of falling down. The card itself depicts the collapse of a castle tower, falling into burning flames. And while this card is often feared and dreaded, it is actually a powerful card of transformation.  Although there are various interpretations, the central theme of what the Tower card actually represents is one’s life deconstructing itself, the falling away of that which doesn’t serve one. It represents the burning down to one’s core, and by that burning down to nothing but rubble, which equates to our true essence, that essence is then purified by the fire, allowing one to begin anew and rebuild one’s life, from a clean slate. And so I realize that my being broken by this man was part of a greater process, a process of removing the misaligned parts of my life. This was an experience, as painful and life-altering as it was, through which I needed to walk.

In 2008, while in the depths of my grief, I was in Sedona, Arizona, desperately seeking healing for this profound wound. I met with a healer there who said something to me that I will never forget. He told me that I had the cards of a “healer,” but that they were cards he seldom saw in someone of my young age, and rather were cards more typical of an 80-year old woman. He said to me, “Jeannie you have already lived through a lot in your life. This is for a reason. You are the wounded healer being healed. You are meant to walk through your own healing so that you may help others with theirs.” Chills came over me as he spoke those words, as nothing had ever rung so true for me. I knew I was on the path of the healer.

Now, three years later and after years of painstaking self-reflection, arduous emotional work and profound personal growth, my intuition and my higher guidance have guided me to become a writer, to share my stories from the heart in the hopes that they might help others. As I receive hundreds of emails and messages, from people of all ages, all over the world, telling me that my writing has brought them healing, I am humbled beyond any words. I am moved to my core knowing that I am on my destiny path, that I have been called to fulfill a higher purpose to help people.

And while what I went through with this man did break me to my core, while it ripped through me on a cellular level, I know that I can only owe him a debt of gratitude; for various reasons. If it were not for him, I would not have moved across the country to California, which is my true home; I would not have discovered Anusara yoga, which has changed my life; but the third reason why I owe him a debt of gratitude is the most meaningful: If his actions had not broken me to my core, I would not have lived through my “dark night of the soul,” I would not have had a powerful spiritual awakening and I would not be writing to you right now, from the seat of my destiny…

This post is dedicated to all of the beautiful souls who are suffering from broken hearts. May you embrace the pain, walk through it, and allow it to transform you.

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All of my life I knew that I wanted children. It was just something that I had never questioned. I often felt badly for the friends who were confused and unsure, but I could never understand how they could not know. I was so sure. Like my own family, I hoped to have 2 boys and a girl.

They say that women have a biological clock and that one day it will start ticking. Well, I learned that for myself when I was 27 years old. Several of my colleagues began having children and bringing them into the office and I just couldn’t get enough of them. Of course I was recently broken up from a long-term relationship, so I knew it wasn’t coming for me anytime soon. But I was still young, I wasn’t worried.

The years passed and I found myself living in a different city, a grad-school drop-out and still no children. Instead I was busy working in the start-up world. I was distracted and life was taking me in a different direction for now. I still wasn’t worried. I knew that I had time.

When I was in my early 30’s, the man that I loved said to me “You will be so adorable pregnant.” I felt certain that it would be with him, and I would daydream about our lives together as parents with our children. But the Universe had other ideas.

When my nieces and then my nephew were born, also in my early 30’s, I was overwhelmed with love for these little beings. In awe of the fact that they shared my DNA, I loved them like they were my own. As my brothers can attest, I showered them with love and affection at every possible opportunity. I loved being an auntie, and I knew from my experience with them that I would make a great Mom…but this further fueled the fire of own maternal yearnings. I was overflowing with love, but I wanted my own children on whom to shower that love.

But then I was 34. And then 35. Then 2 cities later and still single… and without any prospects on the horizon. Although everyone kept telling me I had time and that I was sure to meet someone, I knew in my heart that it may not happen. I had to prepare myself for the possibility that I had missed my opportunity, that I may never have children. Now I know that if I really wanted to I could get a sperm donor and have a child on my own, but that has never felt like the right choice for me. For one I can’t afford it, but secondly with the number of hungry mouths already on this Earth, it just never felt right to me to bring another child into this world under those circumstances. Instead, I have always had the backup plan that if I were still single at 40, I would simply adopt.

Now I am 36. And each year that passes, the reality that I may not have children becomes more and more real to me. And I have cried, believe me I have cried. Furious tears. I have been angry and bitter, envious of the friends who have children, pissed at a cruel Universe for taking my dream away from me, and broken by and resentful of the men who left me single. Why was this happening to me? It had been my dream to have children. How could I possibly find myself in this situation?

Well, time changes all things. Although at one time heart-breaking, I have had to come to grips with the idea that I may not have children in my future. And while I have wrestled that idea to the ground over and over again, in the end we have called a truce. I can no longer go on fighting. And as I sit here with the most adoring kitty on my lap, purring up at me, and with a second lovable kitty on the couch behind me, paw on my shoulder, I have to laugh. I always wanted children. I guess I just didn’t specify to the Universe that I did not mean the furry kind.

So where am I at now in my thinking? I am perfectly content with where I am. Through an unexpected twist of fate, life appears to be taking me in a different direction. And I can honestly say that I have completely let go of the need and the desire to have children…I have released the dream. And more importantly I have surrendered myself to the higher plans of the Universe. While I know that there is still a possibility that I could have my own children, and certainly that I can adopt, I am no longer concerned with either. I know that the Universe has a plan for me, and whether that plan includes children or not, no longer matters. Whatever the plan will be, I am filled with nothing but excitement and anticipation to watch it unfold.

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© Philippe Clément, http://en.arterra.be/

They say that “there is no reward without risk.” I have no idea who “they” are, but whoever they are, they are very wise. Throughout my adult life I have always been a risk-taker; and I’m not talking about the adrenalin-pumping type of risks, such as bungee-jumping, or the questionable type of risks, such as gambling in Las Vegas. I’m talking about life risks, the kind of risks that require a perfect balance between practicality and fearlessness, mixed in with just a dash of insanity.

The first big risk of my adult life was at the naive age of 20. Never having left the country (with the exception of the 6 hour drive across the border to Canada), I put myself on a plane and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to Spain, where I would live for an entire year. I landed in Madrid, a world away from my family and the only life I had known, not knowing a soul and surrounded by ham legs. This move would not only be one of the most life-altering experiences I have ever had in this life, but it would also later lead to a dream job: a job planning educational student tours to Spain and Latin America (www.acis.com); a job I did for years and loved; a job that would allow me the incredible opportunity to travel regularly to Spain and Latin America. This risk to move to an unfamiliar world in Spain would prove to be the first in a long line of bold life choices.

In 2003, after 911 had severely impacted the student travel industry, I made another bold decision: to move to Washington, DC, another city where I didn’t know a soul, and once again leaving behind a life of familiarity. In Washington, DC I would attend graduate school at GW University, where I would study International Affairs, putting me on my desired path of becoming a Foreign Service Officer. At least that was the plan…However, it didn’t take me more than one semester in DC to realize I was not a bureaucrat. After much deliberation, I made the brave and scary decision to leave graduate school. After all of the work (GREs, college applications, pre-requisite courses) I had done to get myself to GW, this was no small decision and a risk I took with slight trepidation.

Two months after taking the risk to leave graduate school, I would find myself walking around the halls of the United Nations, and looking out on the pristine waters of Lake Geneva, shimmering with the reflection of the majestic, snow-capped Alps behind. “How did this happen?”, you might ask. You see, after leaving school, I began immediately looking for work, honestly having no idea what I was doing or where I would land. In a surprising turn of events, I was offered a position with a human rights firm in DC, which sent me to Geneva, Switzerland for three weeks to work at the Commission on Human Rights at the UN. As I sat there overlooking the breathtaking scenery, chills ran up and down my spine. I knew that if I had not taken the risk of dropping out of graduate school, I would not be having the incredible experience of standing in the halls of the United Nations in Geneva. That was a pivotal moment in my life; the moment when it crystallized for me that life is all about taking risks.

Upon returning to Washington, DC, and now clear that the decision to have left school was the right one, my short-term assignment at this job was coming to an end. To my surprise they offered me a full-time position. Here I was having dropped out of grad school, and virtually out of money, and I was being offered a full-time job. Perfect, right? Well yes, except for the fact that my gut was screaming at me to not take this job; my instincts told me that although it was a good offer, that it was not the right path for me. Without any other plan or idea of where my future would lead, and facing the fact that I would soon run out of money, I went against the advice of my parents (here’s where the important dose of insanity comes in!), I took another risk and turned down the job. I knew how long my money would last and I knew that I would need to find a job before the end of August. On August 24th, just as I was reaching my deadline, I was offered a different job: a job with an internet start-up, an incredible opportunity which would take me down a completely different path.

Taking this job with my first start-up (along with the decision to turn down the first offer) would turn out to be another brilliant decision, and a risk well-taken. Within a few months I had been promoted to my first management position, and I proceeded to gain the fantastic experience of building out a brand new department, and furthermore to have the exciting and invaluable education of going through my first acquisition. (Beyond that, little did I know that the decision to take this start-up job would five years later lead to another start-up position in San Francisco.)

In early 2007, after almost three exhilarating and incredibly educational years at my first start-up, and now with solid management experience under my belt, I made the decision to leave my job. For all of my life I had wanted to move to the west coast, and at this point in my life there was a love worth fighting for in Los Angeles. So I quit my very stable and well-paying job in Washington, DC, packed up everything, and drove the 3,000 miles across country to Los Angeles. However, this would prove to be the riskiest decision that I had ever made. You see, this man had just chosen another woman over me, and I was stubborn (or stupid!) enough to try to fight for him anyway.

To my dismay, I arrived in Los Angeles to find myself rejected, heartbroken, jobless and friendless. And even worse, I had the very bad timing of moving right before the recession was about to hit in 2008, and this meant that I was in store for two years of on and off unemployment and instability. I was about to enter my “dark night of the soul.”

Well, as stupid a risk as that appears to have been, it would prove to be the most daring, and in turn the most rewarding I have ever taken. And by this point I had learned that the amount of reward we receive is directly proportionate to the amount of risk we take. This move across the country to California would change my life in dramatic ways, all for the better: it would lead to my discovery of Anusara yoga, which would save me from a very dark period; it would lead to a powerful “spiritual awakening,” which would lead to me being a writer right now; and it would lead to a series of jobs that would eventually lead me to San Francisco, and to the brilliant life that I now enjoy.

And this leads me to the latest (and hopefully best!) risk that I have taken. In January I lost my job at my second start-up, and I found myself at a crossroads. I could either continue to look for work in the corporate/start-up world, which had become my niche over the previous years, or I could make the very daring decision to follow my bliss and work at becoming an inspirational writer. On one hand I could choose the path that society says I should follow, the path of the stable career, salary and benefits; on the other hand I could choose to follow my heart into the unknown. Choosing the latter would go against the practical advice of everyone around me (including my parents), and it would absolutely require an ample amount of insanity. So which path do you think I took? If you’re reading this, I think you know the answer.

Since I made the fearless decision to follow my bliss and walk down the unknown path of the writer, in just three months I have launched my work in two different languages, and I have been beyond humbled to receive more than 5,000 fans in over 30 countries (now 25,000 fans in 35 countries!) ; all amazing souls who are supporting and encouraging me along my path.

So I ask you this: when you are standing at a crossroads and are faced with a major life decision, the question is “to risk or not to risk?”… You tell me.

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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.

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Today I am 36 years old. I am single, childless, and now… jobless. This was not the plan.

Now, if you think you know where this story is going, you are probably wrong. This is not a sob-story about how my life did not turn out as I had planned. Quite the contrary.

From the time we are children, we are taught to prepare and to plan. We are taught to get good grades so that we can go to college, and get a good job. We are taught that we are supposed to get married, settle down and raise a family. Well that was certainly my plan. When I was 17 my high school Spanish teacher asked us to write an essay about where we thought we would be in 10 years. Looking back at this essay is one of my favorite things to do to this day. As my 17 year old self, I described how at age 27 I would be living on a farm in Vermont, with 3 kids and 2 dogs. Now anyone that knows me well is surely laughing out loud right now. For one, I am so not a dog person! Second, the thought of living outside of an energized, bustling city makes me want to curl up and die! But of course at age 17, I had such a narrow perspective on the world. What I wrote in that essay was all that I could possibly imagine from my limited experience.

Well, thank goodness life does not go as we plan. Since I wrote that essay, I have lived in a foreign country, I have lived in 4 different cities in the US, I have traveled to 4 continents and 18 countries. I have loved furiously and passionately, and I have lost, to the most painful depths of my soul. I have laughed and cried feverish tears of joy. I have experienced love, in its purest form, and I have experienced pain and betrayal in its ugliest form. And I have learned more hard lessons than I can count. But most importantly, I have lived. And not passively. I have experienced every emotion to its extreme high and low. I have drunk life and have let it fill up every ounce of my being.

So this all sounds great, right? Well, yes, but I’ll be honest; As wonderful as all of that sounds, when I found myself in my early-30s, and heard the loud ticking of my biological clock, it was very painful to watch friend after friend getting married and having children. After all, I’d always known that I wanted children, that was one thing that had never changed and that I had never questioned. Doctor after doctor kept asking me, “Do you plan to have children? If so, you should get started.” “Gee, thanks for the revelation.”, I would think to myself, “Let me just snap my fingers and make that happen.”

For the last few years I have been wrestling with these demons, feeling sad that it was apparently not in my cards to have this lovely life of marriage and family that I had dreamed of all of my life, and saw so many friends enjoying. The grass looked greener elsewhere.

Well, as many of you already know, I have lived through a “dark night of the soul” during these years. And the beautiful thing about living through such a period, is that if you are strong enough, brave enough to trust and let go, you will learn some profound universal secrets. One of those secrets is that try as we might to plan our lives, it will inevitably not go as we plan. And the sooner that we let go of our life “plan”, and the sooner we surrender to the Universe, the sooner it will all fall into place.

Over the past few years, I have gotten so good at the practice of letting go and each time I have truly managed to surrender myself to the invisible forces, I have experienced nothing but awe and magic. I have also learned that because our own view is so myopic, we very rarely have the capacity to even imagine what the Universe can create for us. So we can fret and toil and plan all we like, but at the end of the day, we may be defeating ourselves, because the Universe may have something so much more spectacular in mind. And this is what I have realized.

I am 36 years old. I am single, childless and jobless. And I am happy. I am no longer worried about the biological clock, nor fretting about if I will find my true love. Instead, I have surrendered, and I am filled with excitement and anticipation about what the Universe has in store for me. For I am looking at the grass over there, and I have to say, it’s pretty damn green over here.

Photo by Robert Michie, http://www.robertmichie.com

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