There's lots of stuff I know...trust your gut, there are no such things as coincidences, things show up for a reason, you are what you eat, to name a few. And yet I don't know what this little game I play with myself is all about -- I frequently pretend that I don't know this information and then get surprised by the outcome, all tangled up in my own spiritual platitudes.
For example, I recently booked a flight out to California to see a friend. She was dealing with a life hiccup, I hadn't seen her in awhile and thought the trip would be the perfect antidote. That is, until I began to be met with closed doors; none of the planning was falling into alignment easily. One thing after the other felt like yet another challenge. But I trudged on willfully, I was determined to make it all work. Then suddenly it dawned on me (hello), pull the plug on the whole thing. I felt a bit deflated as the visions of warm California sunshine on my shoulders and late night conversations with my girlfriends faded away. Questioned by those around me, I held my ground. he timing didn't feel right. I couldn't fully explain it -- it wasn't about the evidence to support my decision -- I just felt it.
Check off one for the home team! Because within a few days, the universe supported my gut and backed me up, and it all became clear. One friend I was going to stay with had a prior engagement and the other suddenly booked a trip out of town. My supporting documentation ducks were beginning to line up. I can't help it, the literal side of me just can't dance in stardust all of the time...it thrives on physical proof. Suddenly it all made sense -- but the reality is that it had made sense deep within my soul from the beginning. So how do we amp up the voice of our inner compass and realign with it? How do we implement these shifts into our lives?
The magical thing that happens when we do this, is that more alignment shows up. Things start to click. The stored up strain and tension in our necks and backs ease up and we begin to flow again. Accepting that we are where we are for a reason at any given point is a good place to start.
So in terms of that above-mentioned trip -- I took a hit on the flight cancellation fee, yet I know that I will reschedule early next year when the winter blues have me aching for transition (and girl-time). In the meantime I'm hunkered back down to work and carrying on, letting all disappointment subside and disappear upon the wings of surrender.
Sometimes we just don't know the divine timing of the universe. When I booked that ticket and tried my darnedest to make it all work, shoving a square peg into a round hole, there was no way I could've known that I would be needed elsewhere. I had a different divine appointment.
In fact, during that exact time that I was to be away, I was chatting away on the phone by my fireplace one evening as the other line clicked in. It was my mother. She didn't typically call me this late. My heart skipped a beat. "Uncle Bruce had a stroke today," were her words. All kinds of thoughts scrambled through my head -- Thank God I went to see him this past summer, he just lost his daughter less than a year ago, Oh my God. We waited through the night for news. It wasn't good. By morning, everything had changed. It hadn't been a stroke, the diagnosis was much more grave -- he had 72 hours to live.
Delivering that news to my mom was a tough call to make. Her big brother, the one who had supported her and been her advocate throughout her life, the one she had long phone calls with - wouldn't make it through the weekend. "What do you want to do - what do you need?" I asked her. There wasn't time to book flights and deal with airports, security and traveling BS. "If you want me to get in the car and drive you, I will." That was Friday morning, and by 2pm that same day, I was in the car driving my parents nearly 700 miles across the country to get to my Uncle's bedside.
Hold on a minute -- this is terribly inconvenient timing. I had planned for a quiet weekend. I was going to catch up on so much work and writing. How in the world was I going to get it all done? Where does the kid go, the dog, and I just left the chiropractor -- my back is barking already just thinking of the drive.
But these are precisely the times we have to show up. No judgment -- no right or wrong -- simply asking ourselves, what feels right. What felt right was to get my mother to her brother's bedside. What felt right was to surround my uncle in love, to see him alive, to say good bye, to support his son through this, to help my uncle make this transition and to not worry about the other "stuff."
See the magic unfolds in the alignment with self - not in the evidentiary, fact-finding mode. Sometimes, we just need to listen to our gut rather than wasting time analyzing the data of the external world.
As I drove the 700 miles home just a few days later, I'd be lying if I didn't disclose that little gremlins of "when are you going to meet this deadline and that one," darted about my head, but I swatted them away like flies. My heart was full. I had just experienced a bit of grace, I had to trust that the rest would fall into place. And just to prove my point, I even took a detour on behalf of my father and added another hour to the drive, to visit a family gravesite. When I glanced into the rearview mirror at the face of my father in the backseat, I asked him, "Do you want to make a stop in Mt. Carmel?" His eyes instantly teared up, "I'd love that."
My wonderful uncle passed away three hours after we left his bedside that Sunday morning. That crisp late fall day, as we drove home through a flurry of memories, knowing we wouldn't be returning for the funeral in a few days, I was reminded that life was for the living. To be alive means to be fully available to your feelings, your human experience, to the things that make you well up and feel something profound. These things are found in small moments.
Shortly thereafter, I turned off the highway -- driving through mountain roads, sun streaming through the windshield -- we returned to the coal mining town of my father's birth and to the cemetery where my grandparents were buried. We hadn't been there for years, but had visited often throughout my childhood. Memories met me. I wasn't sad, I simply reached down to touch their gravestone, "Hi Grandma and Grandpa."
We arrived home a little later than planned, but it was well worth the detour. If the focus of our fast-paced, driven lives is to get somewhere on time, we may miss the divinity along the side of the road...all the little moments where your heart is rocking out.
Are you showing up for yourself? For others? If you can't show up for yourself, there's no point trying to do it for someone else. Start with asking, what feels right in my heart? What do YOU need?