Friday, 22 July 2011

Learning to Go with the Flow

Ever notice how water running down hill flows and winds effortlessly around obstacles? It’s helpful to remember this natural law, for in life, as with water, the most direct route to a goal is rarely a straight line. And as tempting as it is to label things “good” and “bad,” they are all just bends in the river.

Here’s a great example.

I had one goal this past Christmas: to fly to Seattle on Boxing Day with my son to join my big extended family for their holiday gathering. (Oh, and I also wanted an upgrade.) Being super organized – as I am – I was patting myself on the back for accomplishing all the usual travel prep plus making fresh turkey stock (boiled, cooled, strained and in the freezer) before our ride to the airport arrived. (GOOD!) Unfortunately, it was a pat too soon, as I forgot one crucial thing - passports. (BAD!)

I was too stunned to react when I realized my mistake, but things quickly went from bad to worse as I reached for my phone and noticed a flashing picture of an empty battery. Now my brain began to race….I thought I had charged the phone overnight, but apparently I had plugged it into a dead outlet! No phone meant no phone numbers to call those who might be able to help out. (BAD!)

Realising that the only thing panic would accomplish was grey hairs, I decided to consciously test one of my favourite pieces of philosophy: Events have no meaning except for the meaning we give them. I reminded myself that perhaps everything was actually in perfect order, and if so, then forgetting the passports was not a tragedy. With this in mind I mentally sifted through a few scenarios and decided that the best option was to call my neighbours (who keep a spare key) to ask them to locate the passports (on my desk where I’d left them!) and put them in a fast taxi to Terminal 5.

Meanwhile, my son was freaking out and the agent for the airline was sceptical that she could get us anywhere near Seattle on a different flight if our passports didn’t turn up soon as there were blizzards raging all over the country and many flights were being cancelled. (BAD!) I reminded him (and myself) that we were in the hands of fate and all we could do was “keep calm and carry on,” as they are fond of saying in the UK. I also mumbled a few favourite affirmations such as, “all of life comes to me with ease and joy and glory,” and, “how does it get better than this?” (Well doesn’t it?!)

It was a nail-biting hour as we waited and paced and eyed the clock, but in the end, my superhero neighbours did find the passports (GOOD!) but could not find a taxi (BAD!), so they pulled their Boxing Day roast out of the oven and drove like the wind to deliver them to us (VERY GOOD!) They virtually threw the travel wallet at us as they passed by, then we sprinted to the check-in desk.

Of course the flight was already closed (BAD), but I begged the woman at the desk to “Just see what else is possible.” She tapped away on her computer and shook her head. “They’re not letting me check you in,” she sighed (BAD). But just then her phone rang. “Uh huh,” she said, “Yes, two passengers…I know but they forgot their passports. Okay, thanks.” She looked at me and said, “Well this is your lucky day – the flight’s delayed and they’re letting you check in. They NEVER do that!” (GOOD!) My son and I jumped for joy and ran through Fast Track security (thank you very much) and had a leisurely hour at the gate before the flight finally boarded. When they called our row we were so happy and relieved that it wouldn’t have mattered if we were at the back of the bus, but guess what? Upgrade! (GOOD!)

We made it to the family party (only a couple of hours late) and enjoyed a really nice holiday. But the most valuable part of the trip was learning that staying neutral in the face of adversity is the most powerful thing one can do.

The moral of this story is pretty simple: keep your sights on your goals, and don’t let the twists and turns of life derail you. For when you truly learn to go with the flow, you just might get an upgrade when you least expect it!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Give Less, Receive More

I just had a birthday, and while planning a small party with my closest women friends I very nearly wrote “NO GIFTS!” on the invitation.  Luckily I paused long enough to ask myself, “why no gifts?”  Do I enjoy giving gifts to my friends?  Yes I do.  Would I feel slightly disappointed if they told me not to bring a gift?  Definitely.  So what part of me was contemplating saying “NO GIFTS” and why? 

This got me thinking on the subject of giving and receiving.  Forgive me for assuming that this is more of a women’s issue, but why is it so common for many women to be able give, give, give, and yet be so wishy-washy when it comes to receiving?  Think about it. How many times have you flicked away a compliment with a self-effacing retort?  Or refused help when it was offered because you really didn’t want to bother or inconvenience the other person?

Women, we’ve got a problem.  The root of this issue is much deeper than I can dig up in a few hundred words, but when I think about being offered help, two images emerge: First, my inner child raises her chin and asserts, “I can do it myself!” And second, she feels embarrassed at being the center of attention as the recipient of a gift or help, even though, paradoxically, this is also what she craves. Could it be that we have unconsciously martyred ourselves on the altar of Self Reliance, thinking that this is what true equality means (it does not), and have hardened ourselves to our innate feminine receptivity?

I came across some material on love and relationships (an interest of mine, being a newly single woman) by intuitive Jennifer Hoffman ( and these two questions really struck me:   “Are you going to be the healer or are you willing to be with someone who does not need your healing?  Are you open to receiving the love that you are so prepared to give to someone?”  Ouch!  Tough questions.  And it’s not nearly as easy to say “yes” to them as one might think.  When I cast my eye around for single men I am no doubt still drawn to the fixer-uppers.  Why?

We’ve all been wounded in a thousand ways and have learned to refuse “gifts” all the time by closing our hearts.  Then we battle like hell to compensate for being “incomplete” by being self-less, giving, helpful wonder women…doing everything in our power to make others feel our love. The irony is we must risk being vulnerable and open to receiving if we are to reclaim our wholeness.  Give less, receive more, as it were.

When my birthday rolled around and my friends gathered, I was indeed showered with some beautiful gifts.  But more than the things themselves, I was really moved by how each item reflected the giver’s sense of who I am.  By opening my heart to receiving I felt known, and loved, and truly connected to my friends.  And that, it goes without saying, was the best present of all. 

Friday, 11 March 2011

Everyday Magic

The other night I was telling as story about something inexplicable that had happened when my friend piped up and said, “weird stuff always happens to you!”  I laughed and heartily agreed with her.  It’s true!  Apparently I was able to navigate growing up with my wide-eyed inner child still very much in tact.  As such, I am prone to magical happenings.  Perhaps, as someone else once suggested, I am a “powerful manifestor.” Or maybe crazy things happen to everyone but go unnoticed. Whatever the case, here’s the story.

Someone very dear to me has cancer, and I recently spend several weeks in Seattle helping to take care of her.  Part of being sick is accepting that everyone has an opinion about what you should do.  Amongst the flood of suggestions was one that she consult with Dr. Michael Lam - a Los Angeles-based physician who uses natural healing methods in synergy with allopathic oncology.  However, too many cooks in the kitchen tend to ruin the soup, so she settled instead for a local clinic that also uses an integrative approach. 

Meanwhile, back in London, another friend was having an interesting experience.  She had purchased several copies of a book written by a psychic she knew, including one for me. One evening she picked one up, opened it at random, and was surprised and confused to find that it was a book about healing cancer naturally – she thought it was going to be the author’s life story!  It didn’t take her long to work out that the wrong book was in the right cover – a mistake by the publisher.  In a panic she phoned the psychic author and asked, ”Is this a sign?  Do I have cancer?”  She was assured that she did not, but was told that obviously there was a reason that she received the wrong book.  “Hold onto it,” she was told, “and you will know whom it is for.”

The next day she learned that I was in America with my friend.  “Ah ha!”  She thought,  “This was Tricia’s copy all along!”  She phoned me, told me the story, and promised to send the book tout suite. 

Several days later it arrived.  I was full of anticipation as I ripped open the package.  The paper cover was indeed for a psychic’s memoir, but when I got to the title page I broke out in goose bumps as I read the words, Beating Cancer with Natural Medicine by Michael Lam, M.D.

I was, and still am, amazed!  What do you suppose the odds are that a psychic in Great Britain would have her book mixed up with one written by the very same doctor in California that had been recommended, and that it should just happened to make it’s way to me in such a round-a-bout way?  A million to one? 

That, to me, is the definition of magic.

As adults it’s easy to turn cynical and dismiss such occurrences as mere coincidences.   But where’s the fun in that?  The flip side of cold logic is the stuff that makes life juicy – the miraculous, the unexplainable, the magical. 

Mind-boggling things happen everyday in a thousand ways, but unless we view life through the eyes of our inner, magical child it's easy to miss the wonders that abound.  May this tale remind you to peek at the world through his or her eyes from time to time. I’d love hear what you see.

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Want to welcome more magic into your life?  Check out Ursula James' new book The Source:  a manual of everyday magic.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Love 55: Life's Perfect Score

I like to think that life (for want of a better term) is constantly communicating with “them who have ears to hear and eyes to see” through coincidences large and small.   Once you get used to this way of thinking, it’s amazing what you start to notice.  For example, you might have read my piece about the number 44 (See: May the 4’s be with you Nov ’09) and learned that for a long time I seemed to be surrounded by multiples of the number 4.  I decided these 4’s were a sign from the powers that be that I was on the right path in life.  But all things change and it seems my numbers have as well. 

Last summer it dawned on me that I was seeing fewer and fewer 44’s and more and more 55’s.  It started out on license plates – suddenly there were 55’s everywhere.  And when I say everywhere, I’m not joking:  If the car in front had a 55, there was a good chance that so did the car behind; looking up I’d notice that the car waiting to turn also had a 55, as did the bus that just passed; and driving down the block to my house I’d count four or five 55’s on my street.  Sometimes the frequency of 55’s was downright disconcerting.  (I have witnesses!) 

I honestly had no idea what theses numbers could possibly mean until one day the thought popped into my head – it’s not 55, it’s 50/50.  Five plus five equals one – a whole, complete one!  This was a thrilling revelation because it fit with the philosophical point of view that I was fascinated with that all things are part of an imperceptible yet perfect whole… it’s only our distorted perception that labels things and events “good” and “bad.”  (See:  Master Ugway and the Broken Leg of Life Jan ’10)

So, as I interpreted it, 55’s everywhere were reminding me that duality is an illusion and all is perfect.  Fantastic! That’s when the universe threw in another coincidence to cement this lesson – the letter L.  Now I was seeing licence plates with 55 and an L – everywhere!  What could it mean?  L for Listen?  L for Learn?  Then it hit me:  L for LOVE.  As Dr. Demartini (a modern day philosopher and teacher whom I greatly admire) says, “Between positively and negatively charged particles is a center point of LIGHT; and between positively and negatively charged emotions is a center point of LOVE. 

So that’s what all the fuss was about!  Love it ALL – the 50/50 – for it is ALL love.  My quest to embody this philosophy in my own life has been met each day with affirmations from the universe in the form of L55.  What’s beautiful about this little communication is that it seems to be just for me – a personal conversation between me God.  (And can you imagine what it takes behind the scenes to coordinate all these L55’s?  It’s simply Amazing.)

Now that I’ve “cracked the code” I wonder what little coincidences will catch my attention next?  Who knows?  It will be hard to top L55 in my book, but you can be sure that I’ve already got my ears and eyes wide open.  

(PS...I typed this on Word and, coincidentally, the finished document has 550 words.)