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Posts Tagged ‘Life Journey’


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We’ve all had bad things happen to us, when we’ve felt like we were being punished; when we’ve looked up at the sky and screamed “why me?” And we wonder why this situation, whatever it may be, has happened to us and not to other people. What did we do to deserve this?

At the end of 2010, I learned that two different friends had lost their jobs unexpectedly. Both felt the expected range of emotions: anger, resentment, hurt, fear of the unknown, uncertainty about their futures. My gut reaction was the same to both friends: I immediately felt a sense of freedom and jubilation for them. Although they were upset and resentful, I knew that this was a gift for them. I knew that the Universe was simply giving them a friendly “kick” in order to move them on to bigger and better things, into situations that were more aligned with their true purpose. They of course did not share this sense of excitement that I felt, which is understandable. At that time I wanted to write a blog examining whether such events are punishments or gifts. But something told me to wait…

Little did I know, a month later I too would unexpectedly lose my job. I was floored. I will admit there was a part of me that was relieved, as I had been unhappy in this job, but the larger part of me felt furious, upset, unappreciated, and out right hurt. I wondered “why is this happening to ME?” I knew I had been a good, hard-working employee, so I kept asking myself what I had done to deserve this. Now was my chance to test my own conviction and listen to my own advice! I had to remind myself of what I had felt and known about my two friends in similar situations: that they were in fact being given a gift.

You see, I had been through similar situations before, where I was certain I was being punished by a cruel Universe. But once time passed and events were allowed to unfold, in every one of those situations I was able to look back with 20/20 hindsight and see that the events that I had perceived as “punishment” had actually been gifts: True gifts.

Many of you already know of the hard times I lived through when I was living in Los Angeles: Rejected, heart-broken, jobless and largely friendless. After an extended period of unemployment, I was finally able to find a job, but only to be laid off 8 months later, a casualty of the deep recession that descended upon the country. Considering all of the other things that had gone wrong in my personal life, I just felt like nothing would ever go right. I felt completely trapped, completely stagnant. No matter how hard I tried to change and improve my situation, I just couldn’t seem to find a way out. I felt like I was being punished.

But then, a year later, just when I thought that that job in Los Angeles could never have helped me, that there couldn’t have been any good reason for it, I was offered a job in San Francisco, that was a direct result of having had that job. That job that had laid me off in Los Angeles, had been my ticket to freedom, it had been my ticket out of stagnation. It had been my ticket to San Francisco.

So here I am more than two years later and I’ve just lost that same job that brought me to San Francisco. But now I have perspective. I am able to look back and see how the dots connected. I know that that job in Los Angeles led me to this job here, and I know that this job led me to San Francisco. And I now know that losing this job has led me to freedom. I know now that the Universe is giving me yet another gift: it has released me from another unhappy situation, and has given me the opportunity to pursue my dreams.

As I said about my friends, I know that the Universe has given me a friendly “kick,” a slight nudge of encouragement to align myself with my truth path. And so now I walk forward, into a bright future, aligned with my true purpose. And I know that whenever something happens to me that at the time seems like a very clear punishment, that I will be grateful, because I know it will only be a matter of time before it reveals itself to actually be a gift.

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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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Image by Flickr photographer: WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

All of my life my father has said to me, “Jeannie, friends will come and go throughout your life.” I always hated that idea. As someone who has always been a fiercely loyal friend, I’ve always felt adamant that if someone was a good friend, they should stay in your life forever. Well, if you’ve lived any amount of years into adulthood, then you can imagine that I’ve lived through a lot of disappointment in my life: Because of course as my dad predicted, many friends have come and gone.

Sometimes people simply drift apart, other times friendships go down in flames, and still other times one person will continue to make the effort, while the other seems to stop caring. I’ve experienced all of these scenarios more times than I care to count. And for some reason it always seemed to affect me more than it did most other people. In fact, I remember the very first friend who “left” my life. I was only 10 years old and she had been my best friend throughout my childhood. We were always at each other’s houses, we would spend hours playing in the woods, doing silly and adventurous childhood things. And then one year we ended up in different classes, and suddenly our circles and in turn our friendship changed. We drifted out of each other’s lives and I was devastated.  I have vivid memories of sitting in my mother’s office crying endlessly as I listened to depressing Phil Collins’ songs. Ok, so I was a bit melodramatic even as a kid, but I was heart-broken.

Now I’m 25 years older and I’d like to say I’ve gained a bit of wisdom. As years have passed and I can look back on my prior experiences, I now have the perspective of being able to see that each one of those instances happened for a reason. In each scenario, I was growing and changing, and so was the other person. And in many of those cases we were simply growing apart, in different directions. We were walking down different paths. And I’ve now learned that each time someone I cared about left my life, it was happening to make space for someone new that was to enter my life; someone who was more aligned with the path I was currently on.

This lesson has culminated for me more than ever in the past few years. Having gone through my “awakening” of sorts, it has completely changed me. I have a different perspective on life and the universe in which we live, I have had experiences that have confirmed the immortality of my soul, and I have learned how to access higher levels of my consciousness. This has been a unique and life-altering experience to which I find that many people cannot relate, and it has been difficult and frustrating trying to explain it to friends that I’ve known for years. And as has always been the case throughout my life, some friends have fallen away. But they have made room for others and more than ever, I find myself meeting person after person who has gone through similar experiences. Synchronicity happens left and right and “magically” seems to bring the right people into my experience, and I suddenly find myself surrounded by friends who are on this same path. I’ve even seen the return of old friends who left my life long ago, and we unexpectedly find ourselves back on the same path, after a long detour. You know that friend I was crying about when I was 10 years old? She is one of those friends.

So what’s the moral of this story? My dad was right, people will come and go. And yes, it will be sad, even heart-breaking at times. But you can trust that it’s for a reason. It’s to allow yourselves to grow and expand in different directions and to make room for new people to come in to support you along your current path. So if you find yourself facing a situation where you are losing a friend, although it may be hard, let them go with love. Then open your heart to the new people who will come into your life to support you; and you never know, they may just come back.

This post is dedicated to Jessie.

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photo by Cornell University Library, via PhotoRee

We’ve all had friends or loved ones that we can see headed for the proverbial “train-wreck:” When the person in question is so deeply entrenched in their own drama that they are blinded to what others can objectively see from the outside. So what do you do in this situation? How do you help someone that has gotten so far off the tracks? It’s not an easy answer.

But, we’ve all been there, now haven’t we? How many of us have dated the guy that we insisted up and down was the “one,” when all of our friends can see that it is a toxic and unhealthy relationship? Or how many of us have been stuck in an unhappy job situation, but found a million ways to justify why it’s the best thing for our career, despite our friends telling us to move on? We’ve all been there. Probably too often to count. I would like to think that we learn from these scenarios and that with increased wisdom we can avoid repeating the same patterns again in the future. Some of us do, some of us don’t. Some of us need to repeat it again and again until we finally learn the lesson!

So I come back to my original question. If you are the onlooking friend, watching someone agonize through an unhealthy situation, and they do not want to hear what others can see so clearly, what do you do? I have learned this the hard way- the best answer is “nothing.” The simple answer is that they are not yet ready to hear it. Now I’m of course not saying that you shouldn’t intervene if someone is ready to jump off a bridge! Nothing that literal! I’m talking more about the emotional life dramas in which we all get wrapped up. If there is one thing I have learned through years of challenging experiences, it is that we all have to learn these lessons for ourselves. 100 friends could tell me I’m with the wrong guy, and they could all be 100% right, but it doesn’t matter. If I’m not ready to admit that to myself, nothing that anyone can say or do will convince me of that fact. I can only come to that conclusion in my own time.

It is also my belief that we are all on this Earth to learn different lessons, that when we incarnated into this life, we chose key challenges throughout our life, to help us grow and evolve as souls. If there is any truth to that, then that means that each experience, no matter how painful or difficult, is invaluable and not to be missed. And as much as none of us want to deal with pain or strife in our lives, it is the most valuable tool for learning. I have a favorite saying that a wise person once said to me: “the only way out is through.” To truly learn the lessons that we were put on this Earth to learn, we must walk our own paths, we must walk through whatever trials and tribulations are set before us.

So if you have a friend or loved one that you see headed for a “train-wreck,” step back and allow them to experience their Karma, to walk through and into their own learning. Send them light and love, knowing that you will be there for them when they get to the other end of the tunnel.

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As previously featured on http://bayshakti.com/

In 2007 a profound betrayal and subsequent loss of my best friend plunged me into the darkest years of my life. Despite my anguish, I somehow mustered up the strength to make the bold (or arguably stupid!) decision of moving across country to Los Angeles, in part to fight for love, only to find myself rejected and abandoned, jobless, friendless, and completely alone. The years that followed can only adequately be described as a truly “dark night of the soul”.

After almost a year of endless tears, sleepless nights and an inability to eat much of substance, almost as an act of desperation, I dragged myself into the neighborhood yoga studio. I had actually been looking for a pilates studio since yoga had always aggravated my rotator cuff in the past, but in a twist of magical synchronicity, the only studio I could find that was walking distance from my apartment was City Yoga, an Anusara yoga studio. “What on earth is Anusara?”, I thought to myself. I’d never heard of it, but decided to give it a try anyway.

That step was the beginning of what would metaphorically save my life. For most of 2008, the only thing that got me out of bed in the morning, was the yoga. The people in the studio were so at peace, so Zen, so warm and loving…but I was not. I was drowning in pain and anguish, and as I went through the motions of the different yoga poses, often on the verge of bursting into tears, I found myself wondering if my teachers could sense my sadness. Every day that I went to the yoga studio was an effort. I had to drag myself out of my apartment and force myself into class, despite my incessant feelings of hopelessness.

Then one day, something inside of me started to shift. While I still felt intense grief on the surface, deep inside of me a profound feeling of love was starting to stir. So I kept on going to the yoga. With each class, the powerful feelings that surged within me began to rise further up to the surface, beginning to slowly, but surely push the suffering away. And I began to notice that when we’d chant Om and the Anusara invocation, that my body and spirit would hum. I immediately recognized the value and power of sound mixed with silence and so I began my own meditation practice to supplement the yoga. Further emboldened by the warm and loving energy of the Anusara Kula, I began to soak up the vibrations during our group chanting, letting it wash over me.

I continued to go to yoga, and as many of my fellow Anusara yogis can attest themselves, magic began to unfold. I began to feel strong, full of light, and I began to have a more powerful and profound capacity for love than I’d ever felt before; a type of universal love that I find myself at a loss to explain to people outside of the yoga community. I would leave the studio feeling complete Bliss and as light as air. And as I continued to do the difficult personal work that is both necessary and ultimately enlightening, when one walks through a “dark night of the soul”, I began to feel that I embodied the energy of the Phoenix rising from the ashes. It was palpable. And as is one of the main intentions of Anusara, I knew that I was stepping into the flow of Grace.

Magical things began to happen. I began receiving psychic messages and I received a very powerful epiphany which revealed to me a major insight as to my life’s purpose on this earth. And so I continued to go to yoga. Grace continued to flow and the different aspects of my life all began to align in synchronistic perfection, culminating into the move to my new life in San Francisco. Since that time I have expanded my circle to become part of the wonderful San Francisco Anusara Kula, and with the help and guidance of my wonderful teachers, I continue to expand my awareness and my heart.

In the Anusara I have discovered a “magic bullet”. I now know that no matter what life throws at me, no matter how difficult are the challenges that present themselves, no matter how tragic or debilitating, that I can find peace, strength, harmony and ultimately bliss, through Anusara. Armed with that knowledge, I have risen from the ashes and fly boldly into 2011.

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