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Posts Tagged ‘synchronicity’


winding-pathLife is funny. We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that we know where life is leading us. Sometimes we end up where we predict or in a place that we intended, but so often we end up surprised by the path, astonished by how it all unfolded.

Two years ago I flew to Seattle for a job interview. I had been living in San Francisco for several years and after having spent a few of those years semi-employed while I worked on publishing my first book, I reached the end of that road and had to go back to work. But life in San Francisco was beginning to feel somewhat stagnant, so I took the opportunity for an interview in Seattle. You see, my eldest brother had lived there for decades, so there were plenty of good reasons for me to move to Seattle. And years prior, when I had visited him during college, I had declared that one day I wanted to live in Seattle.

As I flew into Seattle, I descended into the fog and as I rode in my taxi into the city, I looked at the gray, rainy skies around me. After falling in love with the California sunshine, I knew immediately that I just couldn’t see this for myself. I went through the interview (which was for a really interesting job opportunity), but I knew from the moment I walked in the door that I was just going thru the motions. I knew this was not meant to be.

I had rented a place in Capitol Hill for the weekend so that I might get a feel for what it would be like to live there. I went to the yoga studio to which I had many connections. As I roamed around the neighborhood, I thought to myself, “Maybe one day I’ll own property here to rent out, but I can’t see myself living here.” I knew that Seattle was not in the cards for me… or so I thought.

I returned home to San Francisco and I took a job offer that I already knew I did not want. It was a job that would take me back to the corporate rat race, a position that was not aligned with the work of higher consciousness in which I had been engaged through my yoga and writing over the previous years. But San Francisco now being the most expensive city in the country, I knew that I had no choice. I put on my corporate suit, and walked into the uptight, stuffy office, day after day, knowing that this job would crush my soul. I knew I had to get out from the moment I arrived.

A week into that job, I met the man who would become my boyfriend, ironically a Bostonian like me, who had much more recently than I, moved to California. We connected immediately, our Bostonian sarcastic wit creating sparks between us. “Could this be the reason I came to this job?, ” I asked myself. I did not know …

Fast forward a year and a half. That boyfriend and I reached the turning point where we were to take it to the next level of our relationship. But the reality was that with the drastically rising cost of living in San Francisco, we simply could not afford to rent a larger apartment, or ever dream of owning in San Francisco. So we began talking about the next chapter.

This was very difficult for me as San Francisco had been the city where I had truly stepped into my inner power and strength, the place where I had healed my mind, body and soul, the place where I had tasted the sweetest, most joyful bliss I had ever known. I was in alignment. I had stepped into my soul’s purpose and I knew I was on the path I was meant to be living on this Earth.

Triangle

Alamo Square, San Francisco

But that reality kept crashing up against the reality that one could simply not manage to stay in San Francisco unless they were rich. And even if we stayed, how would we ever save and retire? We wouldn’t. We couldn’t. I knew a time of hard decisions was upon me.

We began talking about different places we might live. We both had wanted to escape the cold winters of the Northeast and we both loved beach and summer, so we talked about San Diego. But that didn’t have the tech market that he needed for his work and it didn’t have the vibrant energy that I need in a city. Then we talked about LA. But I had already lived there years before and going back didn’t feel right to either of us. Then we explored Portland. Too small, too rainy. So Seattle entered the picture again.

I had tried for years to convince myself that it was the next place I should consider moving, but after that last interview in Seattle, my brother had said to me, “You always consider Seattle, but it’s never right. It’s just not your city.” It really didn’t feel like it was.

But the more my boyfriend and I talked, the more Seattle started to make sense. It had a great tech scene for him, my brother and his family were here, it had a great yoga scene and the same progressive, environmental, forward-thinking lifestyle and attitudes with which we had resonated in San Francisco. There was really only one negative: the weather. Those cold, wet, dreary winters. After eight years in the California sunshine, and realizing how happy the sun had actually made me, I just didn’t know if it was possible for me to be happy in Seattle.

Despite that, from the moment Seattle entered our conversation, pieces of the puzzle began falling into place. My boyfriend got a great job interview in Seattle. Also, over the previous year, I had managed to leave the soul-sucking job and had returned to a former job that I had loved, a job that allowed me to work from home. And at this exact time, a colleague of mine left, and the Pacific Northwest territory fell into my lap. And then my boyfriend got the job he had interviewed for, a great job in his dream industry. With that seed planted, I asked my company about the possibility of me moving to Seattle. Having just given me this territory, they were on board with the idea, and the wheels were set in motion.

The next thing we knew we were packing up both of our apartments, loading the pets into the car and moving truck and we were on our way to the Emerald City.

(Ironically we ended up living in the very neighborhood that I had explored two years ago during that job interview – the neighborhood where I had imagined that maybe one day I’d own rental property. And we ended up living, somewhat “accidentally,” directly across the street from the yoga studio that I had attended in the past.)

Days turned into weeks, turned into months, and we began to create our new life in Seattle.The transition was hard. I had left my beloved city and yoga community. I had left the apartment which had been my favorite home, the place that had held my life so sweetly for six years, the place where I had awakened and blossomed into my truest self. And not only was I starting over in a new city, but I was also moving in with a partner for the first time in my 40 years. Anyone who has ever lived with a partner knows that that alone is no small transition, never mind adding a new city to the mix!

To add to the challenge, I had also left behind in San Francisco another brother and a very special niece and nephew who only knew life with Aunt Jeannie in it. My heart broke. I missed San Francisco. I missed her breathtaking views. And as the seasons changed, I sorely began to miss her sun. The sky grew dark and gray and depression began to set in. I was lost. I was confused. I was suffocated by confusion. I wasn’t sure which way to go.

I struggled through the fall, unsure if I’d made the biggest mistake of my life having given up the security of my rent-controlled apartment (otherwise known in San Francisco as the “golden handcuffs”). I dug deep into my spiritual practice; I began meditating like crazy, really desperately. I kept on with my yoga practice, trying to go as often as possible, seeking out teachers that could even begin to fill the shoes of my amazing and masterful teachers in San Francisco. The search was not an easy one.

But little by little, the right teachers began to reveal themselves. I came to the mat more and more, and new friends started to appear next to me on the mat. I found myself making friends more quickly and easily than had ever been the case in any other city; and I had a lot of experience on this front, having lived in five cities in the past two decades. I was finding friends who were aligned with my path, friends who spoke my language, friends who understood me and related to my experiences. And it started to become clear that the people who were crossing my path were exactly the people I was meant to meet on this next phase of my journey.

This morning I went to a new favorite Bhakti yoga class, a class that I feel extremely grateful to have found as it resonates deeply with my soul on a cellular level. Here I practice with a room full of yogis, as we move gracefully through our poses, chanting in unison and blending our energies with one another. Such beauty. Such connection.

When I sat on the mat today I introduced myself to the woman beside me. She and I shared the common thread of having lived in Los Angeles. At the end of practice, I was commending her on one of the most beautiful and solid handstands I’d ever seen. When I asked her how long it took her to get to that point in her practice, she began telling me about a teacher in LA that had taught her handstand. It was a name I immediately knew, a teacher whose wife I had worked with closely on one of my own writing projects. Not only had this woman and I lived in the same city, but we had both moved to Seattle at the same time and we knew these same people. I knew that our meeting was fortuitous.

This is the synchronicity that I love about yoga. The more one practices yoga, the more these little magical moments occur – I believe sign posts from the Universe confirming that we are on the right path. I thought of the tea that I shared yesterday with a new yoga friend to whom I feel a deep connection, and of the new friends that I seem to be making day after day. And in that moment, I knew that I had found my tribe, and with it, my next home.

Seattle skyline

Seattle Skyline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Have you ever known the person who thinks that they have it worse than everyone else? No matter what tragedies may have befallen your own life, their situation is somehow always more tragic. Whenever you talk to them they have that dreadful “woe is me” tone that makes you roll your eyes and want to hang up the phone. And even when you try to be a good friend and offer words of encouragement they find ways to pooh-pooh anything you say. The person who seems to pride themselves on spouting off nothing but negativity, that somehow if they can drag you into their negative web that they will feel better about themselves.

We’ve all known these people.  Heck, perhaps at one time or another we’ve even been that person. Come on people, let’s be honest. I know I’ve definitely been there at one dark time or another. I’m sure many of you have too.

Here’s the thing that those people (or we) do not realize. By allowing themselves (or ourselves) to wallow in their (or our) own angst and fester in their (or our) own negativity, they (or we) are actually poisoning themselves (or ourselves). Here’s why: our thoughts have power. Yes folks, you heard right and I can’t say it loudly enough. Our thoughts have power. Now many of you naysayers who have heard about the Law of Attraction and watched or read The Secret will now be rolling your eyes and think that this is new-agey horseshit. Allow me to clear some things up for you. I have studied the Law of Attraction for the past several years and I have seen proof positive of its validity in my own life: for both good and bad.

You know those days when you wake up and stub your toe and then the whole day spirals downhill from there? That is the simplest example of the Law of Attraction. You started with a negative thought and you focused your energy on it, and because of that you attracted more negative things into your life that day. You become like a magnet. I have seen my negative thoughts perpetuate more negativity and create drama in my life, and on the flip side I have seen how harnessing the positive thoughts can truly change your life in brilliant and magical ways.

Let me talk about The Secret for a second. While the underlying premise of this book and film resides in Universal truth, their portrayal of the Universal Law of Attraction is actually a bit too literal and oversimplified. The Law of Attraction does not mean that you can focus all of your attention on a new bike and then “poof” a new bike will appear. It does not even mean that you can focus on your dream job, and that if you put it on your vision board that you will one day manifest it. That is a false and very misleading teaching. Here’s why: All the Law of Attraction truly states is that like attracts like, meaning that if you focus on the negative, you will attract more negativity into your life; and alternatively if you focus on the positive, you will attract more positivity into your life. It does not allow you to focus on one specific thing that you really want and then allow that thing to come to you, all wrapped up in a pretty bow. No siree!

And the reason is because that thing which you may be trying to manifest may in fact not be meant for you. You may be trying to manifest the return of an old lover. But if there is another lover in your future that you are meant to find, that is a better fit for you, the Universe is never going to allow the return of the old lover. The same is true of the dream job. I use my own life for this example. I was trying to manifest success in the .com world, but instead the Universe pulled one of its famous tricks on me and got me fired and now on the path to being a writer. We often do not know what is best for us, therefore the Law of Attraction is not as simple as we focus on something that we really want and then we get it.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get back to the main point, that our thoughts do have power. You don’t just have to believe me and my experiences about the power of thought. In this age when we as human beings are starting to become more aware of our consciousness and its power, quantum physics is no longer an occult subject for the airy-fairy hippies.  It has now moved to the forefront of major research institutions like Stanford, Harvard and Princeton. There have been loads of scientific studies performed about the power of the mind. As Lynne McTaggart points out in her book The Intention Experiment, the most comprehensive body of research has been amassed by William Braud, a psychologist and the research director of the Mind Science Foundation in San Antonio, Texas, and later, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.

If you wish to learn more about the science of the mind, I recommend Lynne’s book as well as works published by the scientists on her team. In recent years I have also seen a plethora of articles published in major scientific journals about the power of meditation to actually change the chemistry of the brain. It is no longer just a fanciful theory. Modern science has finally caught up to the ideas that ancient mystics, scientists and philosophers have known for centuries: our thoughts do have power.

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make our world.”
~Buddha~

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
~Marcus Aurelius~

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings
can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
~William James~

“Outer changes always begin with an inner change of attitude.”
~Albert Einstein~

Ok, so if it’s true that our thoughts can change our lives, how then do we implement that? I’ve discovered that the reason why so many people discount the teachings of The Secret is because they think “if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it.” We all know that when we are stuck in that dark and negative place, it can be extremely difficult to change our thoughts to something positive. It is our human nature that when we feel miserable and defeated, that just like the person I mentioned in the beginning, all too often we feel that nothing could ever improve our situation. We dwell on the negative. And in that situation the Law of Attraction IS actually working, but it is working on the negative side and against your favor. You are a magnet for more negativity to come into your life. To get it to work IN your favor, you have to change your thoughts. It is not an easy thing to do, but it is wrong to believe that it does not work. It takes a truly committed Spiritual Warrior to force themselves to change their thoughts, even when they are at their darkest.

There’s the old saying “fake it ’till you make it.” This couldn’t be more true when it comes to changing your thoughts. I’ve learned that even if you are feeling down in the dumps, if you can force yourself to focus on the positive, you can change your life. This is exactly what I have done in my own life. Because I have had such radically life-altering success by practicing the Law of Attraction and by choosing to focus on the positive, I want to share with you exactly how I did it.

Many of you who have read my prior pieces know that I have lived through what I can only aptly describe as a “dark night of the  soul” in recent years. There were many times when I did not want to get out of bed, when I felt completely alone, abandoned and unloved, when I felt that things couldn’t get any darker. I had reached my rock bottom. It was during that time that I began to study and practice the Law of Attraction, really as an act of desperation. I took a course about the Law of Attraction and I learned about the concept of a Gratitude Journal, a concept with which I’m sure many of you are familiar. By writing down that for which we are grateful, we are focusing our thoughts, our energies on the positive. I took this lesson one step further.

Every night before I would go to bed, I would make two lists: 1. First I would make a list of ALL of the good things that happened that day, no matter how small, no matter how seemingly insignificant. Even if it was something as small as the store clerk smiled at me, I wrote it down. I searched through my memory banks trying to find any possible positive thing that occurred in that day, and I wrote them all down. 2. Secondly, I would make a list of all that I was grateful for in that day. Some things would remain constant, others would change from day to day. But by writing these two lists, everyday, by actually writing down the words, I was giving them more power and energy. By forcing myself to focus on the positive, even though I felt deep sadness, I was beginning to shift my energetic vibration, and the energy in my life began to shift. I began to attract more positivity and magic into my life. As I forced myself to do these exercises everyday for months on end, I began to notice that more and more unexpected and beautiful things began flowing into my life. And the positive energy compounded upon itself. The longer I did it, the more powerful the energy became, and the more magical synchronicity came into my life.

I have shared these exercises with each beautiful soul that has reached out to me from a place of darkness asking for help. And one person after the next has told me that by doing these simple exercises, they too have started to see positive shifts in their lives. I am never surprised by this of course, because I know for myself that it truly works. So what’s the REAL Secret then? It is not simply to focus on a specific, tangible thing that you want in your life. It is instead to focus on every positive, beautiful thing that occurs in your day, to force yourself to change your negative thoughts instead to positive ones. It is to view the glass as half full, always. The REAL Secret is to continue focusing on the positive and then to simply allow, to be open to whatever beauty may come, and not pigeon-hole yourself into a specific outcome. If you do this, every day, if you truly make a conscious effort to look for the good in each day, to write it down and focus on it, I promise you that you too will change your life for the better.

For great resources on how to practice the Law of Attraction, I can recommend the following books, in addition to Lynne McTaggert’s book mentioned above: The Power of Intention, by Wayne Dyer and The Law of Attraction, by Esther & Jerry Hicks.

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I am new at this whole blogging thing. But despite that, it hasn’t taken me long to identify other bloggers who are writing about similar themes. One such blogger that I came across, and connected with, in my writing journey, is Dara Poznar, author of http://goodatlife.wordpress.com/. When I first saw her picture, I felt an odd sense of familiarity and I wondered if I knew her somehow.

Of course WordPress has over 300,000 bloggers from all over the world, so I knew that the chances would be low that I knew her from somewhere else. I figured she must just have one of those familiar faces. Well, Dara and I began to email, and lo and behold, we discovered that we both live in San Francisco. And not only do we live in the same city, but we live only a mile up the road from each other. Small world, right? We emailed back and forth and decided that we should meet for coffee.

Fast forward a few days….

Last Thursday, completely distracted by other events, I had plans to meet some friends for dinner in the Haight. Trying to get in my daily exercise, I planned to walk over to meet them. However, a wrench was thrown into that plan. When I came home that afternoon, I opened my mailbox to discover a speeding ticket notice. Let’s just say that when I saw the dollar amount, a plethora of 4-letter words spewed from my mouth. In a flustered fury, I ended up being late to leave for dinner. I didn’t think I would have time to get there walking, so I decided I would walk part-way and then hop on the bus.

I hurriedly took off up Divisadero street, my $2 bus fare folded up and in hand, and I planned to hop on the bus at the corner of Haight St. As I got nearer to Haight, I looked at my watch and decided that maybe I could still make it walking. Feeling somewhat lazy, instead of continuing up the hill to Haight, I took a last minute right onto Oak Street and started to walk west past the Panhandle towards the Haight.

Not even 5 minutes up Oak Street, I saw two women approaching me. I could not believe my eyes: I immediately recognized one of them to be Dara Poznar, the blogger with whom I had emailed. As she neared, I said “Are you Dara Poznar???” Shocked that a complete stranger seemed to know who she was, with a bewildered look on her face she said, “Yes, I am. How did you know?” I replied, “Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m bumping into you. It’s Jeannie from WordPress!” She immediately had the same look of disbelief, said hello back and gave me a hug. We briefly commiserated over the complete improbability of us meeting that way, and then we agreed that we definitely had to follow up on that coffee.

Now, bear in mind, that prior to this serendipitous meeting, we hadn’t yet set the coffee date. And while I knew she lived somewhere in the Haight, I had no idea where. And that evening I was completely focused on something else, on getting to dinner with a group of friends. I walked away from her completely in awe. Of course, throughout my life I have experienced these same kind of unbelievable, synchronistic events, the kind that seem statistically impossible. I mean, first of all, what were the odds that this 1 blogger out of 300,000 bloggers even lived in the same city as me, let alone nearby?

But beyond that, I was not where I was supposed to be that night. Thursday night is normally my yoga night, so I first had to make the decision to skip yoga to go to dinner. Furthermore, had I been on time that day, I would have taken a different route to walk. Had I not gotten a speeding ticket 2 weeks prior, I wouldn’t have been all flustered about the mail that day, and I wouldn’t have been late. And realizing I was late, I had every intention of continuing on to Haight Street and then hopping on the bus. If I hadn’t made that last minute decision to take a right on Oak, I never would have seen her.

If all of those things had not happened in that order, I would never have bumped into Dara Poznar, a woman I shouldn’t even know. And in a city of a million people, what are the odds of me bumping into this 1 specific person, in that exact place at that exact moment? And that is just my side of the story. How many decisions and actions did Dara have to take that day, in order to end up at that exact spot at that exact moment?

Now I know many people would argue that this was  just chance, that it was merely a coincidence. But I cannot concur. I’ve had too many magical moments and synchronistic meetings take place in my life, of the exact right person coming into my space at the exact right time in order to allow for other magical things to change and occur. And even though these events are rare, I have had enough of them occur in my life to know that they are more than mere coincidence. And each time, I am left in a complete state of awe. Each time I am reminded that we are all connected, that there are other forces at play, and that if we are open to it, certain things will align in just such a way, to allow other things to unfold.

So what’s the moral of this story? Open your eyes.. for you never know what magic lies just around the corner.

_________________________________________________________

To read the other side of the story, from Dara’s perspective, click here.

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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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