I remember when I had finished my accounting qualification I told myself that I was never going to study again. At the time I was studying every evening and weekend as well as working full time, so when I qualified after two half years of solid hard work and doing very little else I decided I wasn’t going to do it again! The irony is that in life we never really stop studying and learning and over the last few years I’ve found myself turning to learning more and more, what I didn’t realise though was learning was a way of saving myself.
Learning has now become part of my daily habits, being the perennial student is now a way of life for me and each day I do something that helps me grow my understanding. As lifetime student I know that I will never have all the answers and therefore I look at the world each day with fresh curiosity.
The value in stories shared…
We have more information at our fingertips than we’ve ever had before and I’m grateful for the immense value I get from stories shared on how each of us are navigating this wonderful journey we call life.
The title of this post was inspired by someone else’s story, that of Gaby Bernstein, an author and speaker. I listened to one of her talks online this week where she shared her experience of trying for a baby and how trying to control something she had no control over became all-consuming in her life. It resonated with me so much, it was a familiar experience and it helped me really see that we all find ourselves at various times in life trying to control an outcome. Whether it’s trying for a baby, landing the perfect job, controlling how other people perceive us, getting into a relationship, getting a ring on that finger, losing weight, or perhaps controlling the outcome of a medical diagnosis. We fixate on that one thing and find ourselves enveloped in a thick fog that we then struggle to see past.
It was interesting to hear how she is navigating her journey and the steps she has discovered that have helped her clear her fog and appreciate the view. I hope by sharing that we can help each other clear our own fog and see more clearly.
She calls them the five steps to spiritual surrender and I for one will certainly be putting them to practice.
Step 1: Take your hands off the wheel through prayer. Forget what you think you need and instead ask for what is the highest good for all.
How amazing does that feel? It takes the pressure off for sure, and helps us to connect to a higher purpose than ourselves. I know if had used prayers to ask for what was best for the highest good of all, the pain of not getting what I wanted for myself would have been so much easier to bear. This helps me trust that there is a greater plan and that sometimes we get in our own way by fixating on what we think our life should look like.
Step 2: Focus and appreciate what is thriving in your life
How easy is it for us to focus on what’s not gone right in our lives and compare our actual lives to the expectations we’d set for ourselves. By now I had thought I’d be happily married and have three children! Now if I continued to measure my life against that past expectation then I’d always fall short. Instead I appreciate all the new hobbies I enjoy, the freedom to explore a wonderful new country that is now my home and the deep and meaningful connections I have with new friends.
Step 3: Recognise that obstacles are detours in the right direction
When my marriage ended the fact that we had not been able to conceive ended up being a blessing for me. I was able to move myself across the other side of the world and realise a dream I’d had of living here in Australia for a very long time. Whilst at the time I didn’t understand why things weren’t happening for me, perhaps this was always the plan the universe had for me. Divorce certainly lead me to loving myself, not finding the right next role in my career has lead me to get in touch with my creative side and set up this website – both of which have connected me to who I really am.
Step 4: Ask for a sign for the universe to show you that you are on the right path and listen carefully
How often have you thought about someone and then let go of the thought only to find the next day you receive a phone call from them? I’m convinced the same principle applies here. The key is to ask and let go, don’t go searching high and low for the sign, let it come to you. You’ll know it when it comes, because you’ll feel its presence and both your heart and mind will be aligned with no conflict about the direction you should head. Trust you’ll get the sign but remember to pay attention and listen to what its saying.
Step 5: When you think you've surrendered surrender some more
I start each New Year with a word for the year and my word for this year is surrender. Accept everything and expect nothing. But somewhere along the way I’d forgotten, I’d set myself three goals for this year, 1. land a new finance director role in a company aligned to my values, 2. be granted permanent residency in Australia and 3. find the guy that wanted to do life with me, and not necessarily in that order. As usual, the more I tried to control achieving these goals the further away they got. What I realised was whilst I could take steps to help myself be in the best place for achieving these goals I wasn’t able to fully control the outcome. I realised had no choice but to surrender, it’s nearing the end of this year and I haven’t achieved any of these goals so guess what, I’m surrendering some more.
In her talk Gaby shares a quote from a course in miracles 'those that are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety.'
It helped me realise that the presence of certainty is available to us all, if we allow ourselves to accept where the universe is guiding us and trust that what is meant to be, will be.
I’m choosing to truly surrender, to trust and acknowledge that ultimately, the universe has my back. The question is will you allow it to have yours?