It's 3:00 am and I just woke from a dream. In my dream, I was looking at old advertisements and thinking that something I wanted couldn't possibly exist in my current time and place. After digging a bit further, I found out it actually did. Somehow this dream led me to answer a question that has plagued me all of my life: Does fate decide us or do we decide fate?
I've always read signs. Like breadcrumbs, I follow them to a destination and am amazed at how perfectly the path has been laid. Yet, I can't help but notice after all of these years, that the signs seem to be leading me back to where I began. The further I go, the more I realize that what I really need to find are the things I've left behind. I become confused. Am I heading forward or backward? Is my internal compass broken?
When one becomes a student of energy, he/she inevitably ends up learning about manifesting. It is the practice of putting energy into a desired result and waiting for it to come to fruition. The process is just as much about intention or belief as it is about action. We instinctively act on what we believe to be true and in so doing, we bring about the desired result. What has always confused me about manifesting is that I don't understand the difference between knowing something ahead of time (intuiting) and bringing it about with intention (manifesting.) It is like the old chicken and egg question that boggles my mind.
The more connected to the Divine I become, the more I realize there are no answers, only questions. The realm of Spirit is never black or white. It is gray. That is why religious stories pose questions and are told in parables. That is why we can't paint a clear picture of God in our mind. God cannot be defined. God is mystery. If we want to be connected to God, we must learn to dwell in uncertainty.
As for fate and the breadcrumb trail, my middle of the night “ah-ha" moment has led me to a new understanding. I believe we are active participants in deciding our fate which is predetermined at birth. It makes no sense, therefore, it must be true. If we are aware enough to recognize the signs that point us in the right direction, we realize they are simply the things that make our souls happy. The more we know ourselves, the more likely it is that fate will ultimately join our end to our beginning. Likewise, the more in tune we are with our own energy, the more likely it is that the world around us will seem to effortlessly manifest our bliss.
Sometimes things just fall into place perfectly. Without thinking about it, we say “yes” to a current and it carries us to the exact place we need to be. We recognize it not because the final outcome is overly extraordinary but because the pieces fit together so well. We follow our feet and they simply carry us to the next leg of the journey. Every one of us has a guide that knows exactly where we should go.
At a time in my life when my wheels were spinning and I was getting nowhere, a close friend asked, “Do you know anyone out west you could visit?” I had been wanting to visit my aunt in Tucson so I booked a flight on a whim. While I was there, we took a road trip to Sedona and spent hours hiking in search of a particular spot that was special to her. Just as we were about to leave, we found it. The next week when I was home and back in my routine, I pulled a random book off the shelf in the library. I realized I knew the author. She was a local shaman whose daughter had attended the school where I taught. Later that week when I was reading the book, it referred to a particular spot in Sedona that appeared to her the first time she meditated. It was the magical spot my aunt and I had found that day.
The story doesn’t end there but as I am writing, I realize that the details are not what makes an impression. The miraculous thing about it is that I was naturally receiving everything I didn’t even know I needed. I booked an appointment with the shaman and saw my own potential in her. My renewed relationship with my aunt became one of my only sources of support as I grieved the loss of an old life and actively created a new one. All of this happened because I said, “Why not?”
I have felt currents of flow which have been intense and addicting. There was a time when every song I heard on a four hour car ride spoke to my soul as though the universe was communicating with me directly. As I allowed myself to remain in that high, I nearly lost my mind quite a few times. I had to learn the importance of grounding in the moment. At points, it takes all of the strength I have to find what is right under my nose. Sometimes I have to narrate what is actually happening as I am drifting off: “I am getting laundry out of the dryer. I am putting it in a basket. I am carrying the basket to my room.” Just the conscious awareness of physical reality brings me back down to Earth.
The sweet spot is in the middle. There is a place between Heaven and Earth where we can reside and experience absolute perfection. Buddhists refer to it as the middle way. It requires awareness and letting go of a particular expectation as we recognize impermanence. I think of this place as a spot within each of us. Of the seven main chakras, the lower three allow us to have a more physical experience while the upper three give us a more universal or spiritual experience. The heart is what connects the two in the center.
Living a life centered in love, we say “yes” to every experience. In everything, we find something that holds hope and propels us forward. In the darkest times, there is always a tiny spark of light to be found. All we need to do is recognize it, focus on it and move forward. The current of love will always take us where we need to go. When we choose to embrace whatever comes our way, we find a perfect path where every step is a miracle.
This morning I woke hearing a message from the universe. It said, “ I will meet all of your needs, Shawna. All you have to do is receive.” I knew instantly that this truth soaked into me overnight, as I felt the pull of the moon so potently I could barely sleep. The moon represents feminine energy. She shines not because she toils to do so. She simply receives the light and reflects it back, illuminating the darkness.
I spent much of my life toiling. I felt I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders until one day, it was too much to bear. I had to put it all down. When I did this, I began to transform. I connected to something powerful and terrifying which lit up the darkest parts of me. I began to have very vivid dreams, one of the first being about the arrival of a goddess named Luna. And this goddess said only one thing, in a whisper so powerful that it shook me to the core. She said my name.
The years that followed were both painful and beautiful. In my dream, Luna announced the dawning of a new era of life for me. During this time, I existed in the dark and allowed the light to reflect off of me, illuminating deep craters of past trauma. I saw them and recognized their pain. I decided to wear them proudly, like battle scars, knowing I could never make them go away. This process took years of my life but in the end I realized the only way to achieve anything is to simply accept it.
There is a reason that the moon governs the flow of the tide. She doesn’t resist phases and change. She accepts that every day is different and she is wise enough to know that cycles repeat in perfect time. She doesn’t fight transformation, she embraces it. The ocean feels her pull and reflects its own rhythm, ever changing yet keeping a perfect pace.
It is time for all of us to simply receive. Receiving is paradoxically painful because it requires an inaction that feels vulnerable and uncomfortable. It requires a trust in the giver, whom we cannot see. It also requires flexibility and bravery in order to be able to accept what is given, unconditionally and gratefully. We must know that even if the gift doesn’t live up to our own expectations, the giver knows what is best for us.
I sit here in wait along with much of the world. Even though I know gifts are coming and believe this with all of my being, I needed a reminder this morning. To me, these days feel like Christmas. I want to rush down the stairs and see what is waiting under the tree. It’s still dark outside and my parents said I had to wait until morning. It will come. It always does.