07/25/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Everything Happens For a Reason

The Universe talks to me even when I'm too busy to listen. Fortunately, even when my life is hectic the message still gets through; it just tends to get a little louder and sometimes requires the use of a figurative sledgehammer to get my attention.

A few years ago I was at a point where I needed to make a major life decision, when I was literally broadsided by another vehicle while I was waiting at a stop sign. My life was already too busy and this was the last thing I needed. Or was it? It was almost as if the Universe was forcing me to take a time out- because I was too busy to schedule it for myself.

I had a litany of reasons why this experience shouldn't have happened, but it did anyway.

After the experience when I looked for meaning behind the experience, it all started to make sense. It was clear that the path I'd been on was unfulfilling but yet, I was reluctant to make a change. The accident literally shook my reality.

Did this accident happen for a reason? As crazy as it sounds, I believe it did and that life is not a haphazard roll of the dice, but rather, an intricately woven tapestry of experiences of great significance. Each event in our lives is important, from the most inspired and enlightened to the seemingly unexplainable, inequitable or incomprehensible.

However, sometimes when we're in the heat of the situation, this is difficult to understand. I was too stuck in the "accident" experience to even consider that there could be a bigger plan at work.

When we look for the meaning, we can find the gift in what could be perceived as a negative experience. By seeing these experiences as lessons and opportunities we find greater purpose in our lives.

When we believe that there's a reason for what happens, we can also avoid blaming others or ourselves. Blame is often our first instinct to try to make sense of a tragic event, but it only exacerbates the situation by creating a feeling of impotence to do anything about it.

Imagine for a moment that you believe everything does happens for a reason. No matter where you are, what you're doing, or how big your problems may appear to be, everything is unfolding exactly as it should. Everything.

This means that any uncomfortable experience in life is happening for a reason. How does that change your perception, if you believe that everything happens for a reason?

For me, suddenly life becomes lighter and much less judgmental. Criticism of others and ourselves is diminished. There is a comfort in knowing that we are part of a bigger plan.

Life comes at us quickly and isn't always how we thought it would be. But therein also lies the beauty. Sometimes the curveballs of life can end up being not only our greatest teacher, but also our most wonderful blessings.

In retrospect, if I hadn't been in that accident, I wouldn't have taken the time to rethink my life. That situation was the catalyst from which blessing came from adversity.

When we look back, we can all find examples in our own lives, where positive results only came from uncomfortable change. Getting fired from a job, the break up of a relationship, losing money in the market- all may appear to be tragic in the moment, from the limited perspective that we have. But in hindsight, all may bring incredible opportunity and gifts to us.

Steve Jobs said it best at the 2005 Stanford Commencement address, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future."

My friend, Shannon Foley is a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. From seemingly random experiences leading expeditions in Kenya, running a boutique hotel, working with a Big 5 accounting firm, doing graphic art and even dealing with her brother's cancer, she can now look back and connect the dots. These tools were all needed to enable her to combing her love of music and service to create concerts on the world's highest mountain peaks to benefit cancer patients. She found blessing in her life by finding meaning in her experiences.

If you look for and discover the meaning in the random events that happen in your life, everything will change. You will be empowered in a new way, feel a greater connection to the Universe and will step forward with confidence and clarity to live the life of your dreams, knowing that everything does indeed happen for a reason.

We invite you to listen to today's FREE Inspired Interview with host, Gail Lynne Goodwin, Ambassador of Inspiration from and today's guest, Shannon Foley of