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peace

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Living Serendipitously

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Serendipity occurs for us even when we are not paying attention…

In my early 20’s, while trying to figure out what I was meant to do, I felt stuck. I was studying psychology in college, and it didn’t feel right. My initial passion to learn what makes people tick began to dwindle the more classes I took. The college I attended was focused on research, and the theories presented seemed to make simple processes unnecessarily complicated. I was frustrated and discouraged and unsure if I was on the right path for me.

I had a strong drive to help others but not in the way I was learning. I felt alone in my struggle and confused by the direction. The summer before going into my senior year of college, I wondered if I should change my course as I neared the end of this phase. Since I was good at keeping my fears to myself, it came as a surprise when my brother suggested I read a book that inspired him. That was the first time he recommended anything to me. I took his advice and read the book… the book I had unknowingly been waiting for.

In the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl, a renowned psychologist, wrote of his accounts as a prisoner in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. He shared the horrific stories of the violence he witnessed and how he survived. He also shared the theory he developed that there is a purpose to all of our experiences and we can find meaning in just about anything.

A focus on the good. The gifts in the midst of chaos. The opportunity to grow and prosper from whatever we are faced with.

This was how I saw life, and this man who had experienced so much trauma saw it too. It was this book, his experiences, and views, which reminded me I was headed in the right direction for me. It was the serendipity, the unexpected gift, the reminder I needed to keep going.

Life is serendipitous. It is filled with unexpected pleasures, gifts, and opportunities. Our experiences are meant to be. And we are supported in these experiences, even the ones that feel like they are tearing us down.

Our lives are designed for us to learn, grow and experience joy. All of us. We are given opportunities through our relationships, our jobs, our children, our playtimes, our accidents, our illnesses, our losses, our chance meetings with strangers and a whole host of other ways, to learn about ourselves and how we give and receive love.

We are given choices and hints and whispers and sometimes shouts of which direction to go next and it is up to us decide how we want to live our lives. Each decision we make creates new opportunities to learn and grow. Sometimes these opportunities feel challenging and painful, and sometimes they are so filled with ease we wonder if they are real. They are all real, and they are all for us.

How do we know this? How can we trust it? By creating the proof. By practicing awareness that hope and grace surround us. All we have to do is open ourselves up to it and receive.  

Each day listen to your inner voice to create some of the joy you are looking for. Start to take note of the good things that are happening to you and around you. Notice when someone compliments you when you least expect it and how it feels. Notice when your children give you an extra hug and tell you they love you. Notice when you thought you couldn’t pay your bill and the money showed up at the last minute, or you were given an extension when you asked. Notice the opportunities that appear “out of the blue.”

Notice the ideas that are repetitive in your thoughts and how good it feels when you follow through and trust them. Notice that when you take care of yourself, your mood starts to shift quickly, as does your perspective.

Notice how when you felt grief over loss, your friends and family stopped what they were doing to lift you up. Notice how the disagreement that was long overdue with someone you love allowed you to start communicating more openly and honestly. Notice all the things that bring you joy and see how they multiply. Not in how often they occur, but in how often you let them into your heart with awareness.

The more you focus on the good and see the gifts in every day, no matter what is going on, you train yourself to see the temporariness of situations, especially the uncomfortable ones. You begin to recognize....Keep Reading 

 

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There's Purpose In Pain and A Gift In Every Loss

“There’s a bit of magic in everything and loss to even things out.”- Lou Reed
 
“Although I have spent years training myself to reverse my own anxiety, I have only left survival mode in the last couple months and am learning what that feels like and to be comfortable fully trusting that I am and my children are taken care of. I am at my goal of better than fine- but I’ve never been here before.  And while I know my work is in the interim of where I’ll end up, I am learning to appreciate where I am in the journey. It’s a wonderful and foreign place and I know this appreciation is also a practice, but it feels incredibly important.  I don’t want to just say I am grateful, I want to fully feel it. I am whole without more, just as I am. I create as I choose.  Peace is happening now if I allow it. Big revelation.”

I sent this text to one of my closest friends one morning after a particularly empowering meditation.  Our daily conversations were always this deep, introspective and growth oriented.  It felt good to write out my inner thoughts and fears and I was excited for every one of her heartfelt and insightful replies.

Her response…”That is incredible! I understand the angst of living in the now. Took me years of working hard at trying to change my patterns and reactions that I picked up as a result of living so many years with fear, angst and chaos. So Lynn, live it, breathe it, be it! You earned it! I’ve only known you a short time, but this has been the best year of my entire life. A year of learning, understanding and clarity, it’s been incredible sharing my thoughts, dreams and sorrows. Thank you.  Thank you for what was, what is and what will be.  I am so grateful for you! For your friendship, for your support, for your love, I’m the luckiest girl in the world.”

Five days later, after many more texts, and one evening of sharing our joy through our growing pains in person, my treasured friend died in her sleep.  Unexpectedly for those who loved her, her soul exited peacefully and left an enormous hole in the hearts of her son, family and friends who relied on her unwavering strength and glowing light to keep us comforted and inspiring our own power.

I, for one, was devastated.

The peace I had felt a week prior was shattered. I felt nothing but shock, anger, confusion and a deep, deep sadness. But worst of all, I felt alone.  Keep Reading...