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Carol's Column
START A BUSINESS

Stay in The Flow

A year ago, realtor SUE CHRISTENSEN had no idea that she would be starting a whole new life. I first met Sue at a writing retreat with Tom Bird in Sedona in July, 2001. Sue's dream at that time was to write a novel. She kept describing herself as a novice at fiction writing. As I listened to her, my intuition told me something different. This woman was so vibrant, so focused, and so interesting, I could not see her as a novice at anything! Finally, I asked her, "If you could write something about real estate, what would that be?" She laughed and said, "Oh, I would write, "How to Make a Six-figure Income on Your Terms!-Without working nights and weekends" No hesitation. No explanation. She just said it. Little did she know that she was setting in motion the driving force for her coming career as an author and workshop trainer.

The Call and the Crossroads

Sue, fifty-five, has been a real estate agent for twenty-five years. She has also been a married woman for thirty years. Her marriage ended a few months ago, and suddenly, life has other things in mind for her. "I have been dealing with my personal struggle for some time, but in February I came to a crossroads. I needed to move out of the problem and into a solution." Like many of us, she felt a call to something "else," but didn't have a clear idea about the form it would take. "I decided to visit my sister in Tucson for the weekend," Sue told me. "By this time I had already written my book on how to earn six figures in real estate and still have a balanced life, but I didn't have a clear idea of what to do with it. My sister and I went to lunch at the Congress Hotel, which is a beautiful historic building. I have had a lifelong fascination with historic architecture. As we were sitting there having lunch, I was not in a very happy emotional state, but in looking around, I had a flash-probably the most profound synchronicity of the past five months. I heard myself saying to my sister, 'What if I moved to Tucson, and what if I bought a historical home that could provide space for workshops for 20-35 people?' I went on to tell her that maybe I could use my book as an instructional guide for these workshops. It's been my observation that most realtors are either working too much or working without direction, and not making the money they want to make. I want to show them another way. The whole focus of my interest is how to be very productive but not at the expense of one's personal life.

"This stream of thoughts," said Sue, "came as a huge shock to me. At the time, I was married and it did not seem at all like a realistic projection that my husband and I would move to Tucson, or that I could move ahead with this idea. And yet, it was so clear I felt it was a distinct possibility for me. It was a one-of-a-kind experience. My sister told me that my whole face and body language changed when I told her this vision. She said I talked with great animation, but the minute I started thinking about 'reality,' my whole demeanor changed."

Taking Action

Soon afterwards, Sue returned to her home in Flagstaff. She and her husband had a long talk about where they were in their marriage. He said he was ready to let go. "That was a turning point for me," said Sue.

Two weeks later, Sue came to Tucson with her vision in mind. Within two days she had bought a house. "I decided that the practical thing to do was buy something relatively inexpensive and easily maintained. I felt this new place could be an investment property because I still wanted to find the historic home of my vision. The one thing that has remained crystal-clear is that I want to do the workshops. However, as I looked into the area of historic homes, I found that parking for large groups would become a huge issue."

Let Your Questions Take You Where You Need to Go

Like many of us who have a partial vision of a new business or project, our mind takes over and wants to know the plan. Sue's burning questions were: How long will it take to establish my business? Can I fill all the workshops I have scheduled? Is my audience likely to be local the first year? How and when should I expand? How do I meet the right people?

Since Sue was new to Tucson, natural curiosity prompted her to explore the real estate community via the Internet. She found the website for the Tucson Association of Realtors and their calendar of events. "The Real Estate Expo on September 24th jumped off the screen to me. I wanted more information about the Expo, so I went to their office, and told them I was new in town, and had just joined the Association. I introduced myself as an author, speaker, and trainer, and asked them if this Expo would be a place to promote my workshops. They jumped at the idea and said it would be perfect.

Sharing the Vision With Others

"In our conversation, I mentioned that ultimately I would be looking for a historic building, and described my vision of the workshops where people would go away with written affirmations, a written business plan, and a twelve-month marketing plan. I mentioned that I could see people sitting at round tables actually working on their plans, not just sitting and taking notes. I also said I wanted to do a nice lunch and have an afternoon break with a Victorian tea. The woman I was speaking to said, 'Oh, Sue do you know about the Manning House?' I didn't, but it turns out to be a lovely mansion with a number of meeting rooms. I saw it online and fell in love with what I saw. It was exactly what I had envisioned, and obviously it bypasses the risk of my buying a property and running it myself. I made an appointment to meet the woman who owns and runs it.

"But my story gets better and better," said Sue laughing. "I had been invited by a real estate friend to attend a meeting of the Women's Council of Realtors-which turned out to be at-you guessed it--the Manning House! Here again I met new people in real estate, to whom I introduced myself by saying, 'I am an author, speaker, and trainer.' I let everyone know that I will be offering workshops in the fall. I also mentioned that my book would be available in a few weeks. Everyone responded very positively, and three other really great things happened.

Clear Intention and Sharing the Vision Creates Effortless Unfolding

"The first great opportunity was meeting a woman who is not only the incoming president of the State Council for next year, but also the person who arranges for speakers at the national level. She asked if I would be available for state and national speaking presentations! Secondly, she then gave me the name of the person at the Tucson Association who could walk me through all the requirements to get my workshop certified for continuing education credits. This was a step I would not even have thought of. During this one event, I became aware of opportunities I had no idea existed. I have saved so much time in discovering these possibilities and finding the exact right person to contact!"

At lunch, Sue's third new opportunity unfolded. She was seated next to a woman who asked if she expected to become active in committees. Sue responded, " 'Of course. What committees do you like to work with?' She said she was the chair of the sponsorship committee. It turns out that for a small fee I can sit at a special table as people come into the meetings. I can promote my books and workshops to my target audience! I could not have imagined how perfectly effortless it would be to market my new business. I am astounded!"

An Open and Optimistic Attitude Creates More Flow

As Sue stayed in the flow of exploring new information, she set up a meeting with the owner of the Manning House. "I was already practically euphoric. At that meeting, the owner and I had a wonderfully personal conversation. She was very generous in her desire to help me get my business going, and even offered a small storage place for my workshop materials at no cost. So now I have the exact location for the vision I had of my workshop setting."

Finally, Sue told me, "Since the theme for this year's real estate Expo is 'Get Away for the Day,' I wanted to give away a weekend in Santa Fe (my husband and I own a hotel there.) as a drawing prize for my booth. When I mentioned this to the woman who was processing my booth application, she said, 'Oh, would you want to pay for that prize yourself, or would you rather have the Association award it as a Grand Prize? Then we could give you your booth at not cost."

Isn't that incredible? Never in a million years would I have thought of a trade-out. Another synchronicity!

The Power of Affirmations

Last year at our retreat, I clearly remember Sue saying to the class, "My affirmation is that 'I feel like the whole universe is engaged in a big conspiracy to help me achieve good things.'" It seems the Universe is.

 
A I M

A simple acronym can help us stay centered when we are at a crossroads.The idea came to me as I was preparing material for seminars based on my new book, When Life Changes, Or You Wish It Would: How to survive and thrive in uncertain times. I wanted to give students an experience of knowing that the unconscious — or intuition — will direct our attention to something we need to know—when we ask! The word AIM, as a mnemonic device, popped into my mind.

First of all, when you focus your attention on something—such as AIM—you tend to see it everywhere. We’ve all had the experience of wanting to buy a certain kind of car in a particular color, and then suddenly seeing those cars everywhere on the highway or in parking lots. As you read this article about the word AIM, you are sensitizing your conscious mind and programming the unconscious mind to notice this word. Therefore, tonight when you listen to the news, read the newspaper in the morning, pick up a book, or talk to a friend, somewhere you are going to see or hear this word AIM. It will be a gentle reminder that you can “put yourself on assignment” to find something you need, meet someone, or receive a new opportunity.

What message will AIM remind you of when you see it?

The word AIM will be an acronym, which answers the five most common questions that people ask when facing Life Changes or finding their Life Purpose:

 

1) How can I get clarity about what I’m supposed to do? 2) How do I choose between several options? 3) How do I know something is right for me? 4) How do I deal with the fear of making a change? 5) How do I stay focused and on track?

In this context, let’s look at the words that AIM might represent:

A = Authenticity, Attitude, Assignment, Awareness I = Intention, Imagination, Intuition M = Motivation, Moment

Each of these nine words is a reminder of how to move forward during times of uncertainty, so let’s define what they mean...

AUTHENTICITY is the feeling that who you are and what you do are one and the same. Authenticity is feeling that the inner and outer You are consistent.

The feeling of being authentic—that is, acting in tune with your values—automatically provides courage and confidence. A woman named Shirley from Las Vegas told me, “I went through some difficult times with my divorce, but because ‘I knew who I was,’ I could weather being stripped down to my core, and come out of the experience shaken but okay.” The suffering did not strip away a basic knowledge of who she knew herself to be—a survivor with a keen intelligence and a sense of humor who would inevitably spring back. When you make a choice, make sure it’s in alignment with who you really are. You’ll know you are on the right track if your choice makes you feel good about yourself.

ATTITUDE is your best chance of taking change in stride—and of course, that means having a Good attitude! You aren’t going to be able to stop your life from changing, and you are not always going to be able to change the things you want to change. However, it makes all the difference in the world if you have an open, curious, and optimistic attitude. Remember that old Zen story about the farmer who tells the Zen master that his horse ran away? The Zen master says, “Hmmm, who knows if it’s good or bad?” That’s having an open attitude.

ASSIGNMENT is the process of stating what you want to have or what you need to know, and then watching for it to show up. I have a good friend, Cori, who writes travel articles. She once had an assignment to write an article about golf courses from A to Z. She easily found a golf course for every letter of the alphabet except X. She kept searching for an X, but couldn’t find anything. Just before her deadline, she was driving somewhere and noticed that the car in front of her had a bumper sticker advertising the Winchester Mystery House near San Jose, CA. It said, “X Marks The Spot!” Since her intuition was highly attuned to “X,” she saw this bumper sticker as a possible answer. She decided to investigate golf courses in the San Jose area and found a noteworthy one, which allowed her to finish the article on time. Similarly, you, too, can put yourself “on assignment” whenever you are facing a decision or need to gather new information. Stay alert to whatever catches your attention.

AWARENESS of the potential gifts within a seeming obstacle helps you to stay open to all kinds of information, even when at first something seems to be an impediment or setback. There are no accidents, and everything happens for a reason.

INTENTION is the state of mind where you intellectually and emotionally deeply desire something. This goal or person may not be in your life at present, but you intend to do it or have it. If you don’t specifically know what you want (and many of us don’t know or are afraid to ask for what we want), concentrate instead on describing how you want to feel. You may not know where your next job is going to be, but make a list of feelings you’d like to have (e.g., “I want to feel excited when I get up in the morning.” or “I want to work with a really good group of people where I feel comfortable and creative.”) By your intention, you set a direction, while remaining open to something even better coming along.

IMAGINATION is that act of setting the intention and visualizing something that matters to you. Imagine eating a piece of chocolate mud pie with whip cream on top and a sprinkle of finely chopped walnuts. Imagination is the powerful radiating message that you send out to Life. It’s the magnet which starts to attract good things. Some teachers believe that daydreaming or imagining what you want, even for as little as 60 seconds a day, starts a mysterious chain of events that attracts into your life what you need or want.

INTUITION is the messenger that tells us something we need to hear that will move us in the right direction. At a crossroads, we tend to get caught up in fear, paralysis, depression, rationalization, or procrastination. These negative states tend to block true intuition. The good thing is that intuitive thoughts tend to be persistent. For example, you often think to yourself, “It would be good for me to go to graduate school.” or “It’s time to start my own business.” Usually the message keeps coming back.. Although you may feel a slight amount of fear about starting the new direction, intuition is usually not warning you about something as much as it is encouraging you to move outside your comfort zone in order to develop new or unrealized aspects of your life.

MOTIVATION is your reason for doing something. If you are making a choice for the wrong reasons (e.g., you feel desperate, you feel needy, you want to be taken care of, or you think you can get something for nothing), your project will ultimately bring you some form of failure or suffering. If you want to know if something is good for you, take a moment to ask yourself, “Why would I be doing this? Why do I really want this?” You may not get a completely clear answer, but your intuition will be your best source of guidance, even if it takes you twenty years to see that clarity in retrospect!

Staying alert and present as you participate in the MOMENT is a good way to surf through the chaos of being at a crossroads or uprooted chaotically. You cannot control events. You cannot control other people. Synchronicity happens when you work with what life presents to you. When you are worrying, you are either thinking about what you did in the past, or feeling anxious about the future, which cuts off your intuitive and rational process. Accept what’s in front of you, and stay alert for synchronistic messages that validate your positive intentions—for now. For example, I received an email from a client whom I am coaching in order to help her land a position in a certain company. She wrote,

 

I had the most wonderful experience today... I was driving home from a meeting and I passed the Organized Living store. I didn't really need any more organization stuff but I felt like I should stop anyway. I walked through the store, up and down each aisle and there really was nothing I needed. Then I came across the clock aisle and there it was: a clock with three clock faces on it: Minneapolis, Sydney, and London. I have been visualizing my new job as VP of Global Relationships, reporting to the President of the division who resides in Sydney and keeping tabs on a big project the company is working on in London. Of course I purchased the clock!! Now I have something else to keep me in the VP of Global Relationships mindset.

This story shows: 1) she is enjoying the present moment after her meeting; 2) she is listening to the small voice of intuition even though she doesn’t know where it’s leading her. 3) Her previous intention creates the attention and awareness that immediately recognizes the three-faced clock as a synchronicity that validates her interest in the globally-based company. 4) By buying the clock, she further increases her intention and her confidence so that she can continue to enjoy the process of how her goals will manifest.

So….until next month…Take AIM!

 
LIFE THE WAY YOU LIKE IT

If you are looking for the next step on your ongoing journey, try imagining some fascinating scenarios just for fun. Focus your attention on something that fascinates you and bring it closer into your life-through learning more about it or taking a class or practicing one of the spiritual principles that you have read about. As you know, my new book, When Life Changes, Or You Wish It Would: How to survive and thrive in uncertain times is now available in bookstores. I continue to gather stories from students, clients, and readers about how they are making changes that align with who they really are. It's important for all of us to see and acknowledge how synchronicity works its seeming magic in everyday life. Change is going to happen to you, and your attitude about it will make all the difference in the world-and it's your world!

I first met MARIA MUJICA when she attended a retreat in Mt. Shasta retreat I co-led with my friend Donna Hale about two years ago. Maria keeps in touch by email and had hinted at some big changes in her life, so I wanted to find out her secrets for creating more flow and synchronicity in her life. She told me that her intention to know herself and her life purpose had been very strong when she attended our retreat, and that she came to the weekend with a desire to use the focused group energy to help jump-start new options. Maria writes, "That was two years ago and my feeling of joy and discovery has increased tremendously since then. Last year I was feeling more grounded and knew that I had made some improvements, but still felt something was missing. I felt that it was time for a huge shift. I had a feeling of wanting higher education, deeper Spiritual work and an adventure."

Maria, in her early thirties, said she wanted to take advantage of this period in her life when she has no obligations through partnership or children--or even debt! She says, "I explored the idea of teaching English abroad, living in a monastery, going back to school, and taking a walking tour across Europe. Then I came across an ad for the University of Santa Monica with a Master's Program in Spiritual Psychology, which was advertised as Education The Way You Always Wanted It To Be. I had no idea what it was about, but something inside me was drawn to it and I attended their open house. It spoke to me on some level I couldn't mentally process. I had no idea how I would be able to undertake this program, but through synchronistic events it all became clear rather quickly. Within days I made the decision to enroll and it is literally changing my life. It is exactly what I was wanting--higher education, deep spiritual work, and an adventure. The best thing is that I no longer feel that ache of 'what am I going to do with my life?' I'm doing it. Finally! I am learning to completely trust my inner guidance and this spiritual process. I was scared to death but I enrolled anyway. I had to trust my inner knowing more than my fear."

Maria's story is a good example of how our inner knowing directs our choices in order that we can develop ourselves in the next appropriate way, even though the direction may be-- and usually is-accompanied by no small degree of fear and uncertainty. Whenever we move out of our comfort zone, we can expect a shiver of terror/anticipation, but there is usually some little voice that says, 'Go ahead. It's worth it.'

Listen to Your Heart-and Trust It Knows More Than Your Mind Does

Maria goes on to say, "I have particularly enjoyed synchronicity. It's like Spirit is shouting 'This Way'! For example, when I wanted to apply to USM I needed $450.00 to hold my space for the first weekend and my first thought was 'I don't have that kind of money just sitting around.' Then I remembered that I had two uncashed checks made out to me just sitting in my drawer that totaled $450.00. Staying in touch with my inner guidance and trusting it has been so important. My heart knows if a move feels right or not.

Take Care of Yourself and Find the Joy of Life Every Day

A big part of following our path has to do with staying open as well as balanced, so we'll be rested and ready to accept new challenges and opportunities when they show up. It's important to create ways to help counteract the negativity that comes through setbacks, listening to other people's complaints, and the media's attention to constant crisis. This can set such a low tone-particularly when we are tired or already depressed, that we begin to feel hopeless and helpless. Maria says, "I know it's important to process setbacks and negative feelings, but on the other hand, I try not to indulge in feeling sorry for myself for too long. I try to focus only on what brings me joy in a situation, and don't let negative thoughts be my dominant state of mind. I also have a healer and mentor who is a resource for me to work through issues, and she helps keep me focused on joy. Right now I go to school one weekend a month, which gives me the opportunity to be with people on a similar path. The spiritual principles are repeated not only through the teaching sessions, but also in the informal conversations with other students. I feel that it is tremendously important to create a community of people that support my values and interests. I also have what I call an 'emergency joy book.' It is full of my favorite children's photos, letters, and pictures of the kids who made it for me. I use it in emergencies when I need a little lift. I also highly recommend renting videos of comedies. Laughing helps turn around negative thoughts and reminds me of another perspective. I have also learned through my spiritual program to use self-forgiveness on a regular basis, since like most people, I am most judgmental with myself. I almost always set the stage for the day by starting with a prayer.

"I hope this helps, and thanks for asking me what I did to create this new stage of my journey. It's been good for me to see what I actually do!"

 
WHEN LIFE CHANGES OR YOU WISH IT WOULD

In keeping with the theme of my new book, When Life Changes, Or You Wish It Would: How to Survive and Thrive in Uncertain Times, (available in bookstores this month) I am sharing some recent stories about life changes from readers of this column. The key principles in all the stories are: having the courage to be who you are, keeping the intention of what you want, and letting the universe handle the details.

FACE THE PAIN OF INAUTHENTIC CHOICES

Soren Wolf writes, "The biggest change occurred soon after we bought our house in Tulsa in December of 1999. My partner and I were both very depressed and unhappy with our lives. I was working in a job I really didn't like, and Rob was doing occasional freelance illustration work. Tulsa was a very painful place for us to live for many reasons, but although we had been trying to leave the area for about four years, we were afraid to move and didn't know where we'd go--we just felt trapped."

Soren and Rob almost parted after eight years, but decided to try to make their relationship work with the understanding that things would have to change. "We had set ourselves up in a very safe situation, aspiring to all the things that we were told would make us happy, only to find it that it didn't bring us fulfillment. We realized we had taken a hard turn from our authentic selves around the time we graduated from college five years earlier. We both decided to throw out other people's views about how our lives were supposed to go and start living intuitively."

Simplify and Take Action

Around the New Year, Rob and Soren set in motion their desire to live authentic, intentional lives with a simple, but meaningful ceremony, incorporating a special handmade candle given to them by a friend. "Within two months of lighting the candle," says Soren, "our whole lives had changed. In that short time, job offers came pouring in from the Bay Area (where I had believed it was impossible to actually move). We put our house on the market, sold every item in our lives that didn't have deep importance to us (which was about two-thirds of all the things we owned), and moved to Berkeley.

We found an apartment the first day we were in town during the tightest housing market in decades. Shortly afterwards, Rob started school at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Since then we have learned more about ourselves and accomplished more than we had in the entire first twenty-eight years of our lives."

Things were going very well for Rob and Soren until the events of 9/11. Like many of us, they felt life had gotten beyond any sense of control, and the idea that we create our own reality seemed unrealistic. "We are just now starting to believe again that we can handle things, and that we are responsible for creating our own way, even though our world leaders - especially our own leaders - are behaving so thoughtlessly.

"I've only mentioned a small sample of the remarkable things that have happened to get us where we are," says Soren. "We're continually being challenged to view every situation as an opportunity to have a better understanding of ourselves and our place in the universe. At this point, I can do nothing better than to just take a moment to stop and listen and pay attention to what the universe has for me... to actually see the helping hands instead of slapping them out of the way because they are new or unknown."

Pick Up the Phone, Life is Calling

As I was writing this column, I synchronistically received a call from a reporter from a New York newspaper called The Staten Island Advance, Lisa Ann Williamson, who was researching an article on numerology. As it turned out I was fascinated by how her life and career were also advanced by helping hands-people showing up at just the right time and giving her just what she needed to pursue her innermost dreams. Lisa Ann told me that a few years ago she was working in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in production for a popular television show. At a colleague's going-away party, she met a woman who was leaving her job as a reporter at the Cedar Rapids Gazette. The woman asked Lisa Ann, "Have you every thought about writing? You should call personnel, and take my job." Lisa Ann, assuming the woman was merely being polite in her offer, never made the phone call. "I had never thought of writing for a living, and I just forgot about it, until I ran into her again. She asked me if I had called, and I said, No, and she said, 'Oh, you must call. They're waiting to hear from you.'" Unable to resist the obvious hand of synchronicity a second time, Lisa Ann called and set up an interview with the newspaper. "The only example I had of my writing was something I had done for a hospital newsletter. As it turns out, they didn't even ask for any samples of my writing. They had seen the television show and liked that I had worked there, so without even the right resume experience, they hired me! At the time, I thought working as a reporter would only be temporary, but it's turned into a great career that gives me lots of flexibility to pursue other interests such as acting." Lisa Ann's experience is a good example of how we might miss the first signal of synchronicity at work, but, if it's meant to be, we'll get a second wake-up call.

Also, notice that Lisa Ann changed careers without having to have a perfect resume with exactly relevant experience. So often our logical mind insists that we don't have what it takes to make a change, or that we need to go back to school or take some other overt action before "getting ready" for a new direction. Be open to the idea that your life can change in the blink of an eye. Keep talking about what you want with people, and eventually, someone may give you a great lead. The conventional way isn't always the quickest or necessary route to success. Anything is possible.

The Zig Zag Route

But Lisa Ann's story unfolds further. When a friend-knowing her aspirations for acting--suggested that maybe it was time for her to move and pursue opportunities outside Iowa, Lisa Ann didn't have a clue as to where to go. Her friend helped her set up some interviews with The Washington Post and The New York Times at a job fair. Feeling somewhat exhausted after her interviews with editors from these newspapers, she sat down at a table to catch her breath. The table, it turned out was part of the booth for The Grand Rapids Press located in Michigan, and they asked for a copy of her resume. She says, "I didn't even remember having given them a resume when they called for an interview. I had my heart set on going somewhere in the East like New York or Washington, so Michigan didn't have any appeal to me. However, once I talked to them I was so impressed with the boss and how willing he was to help me fit together my interest in theater with the reporting job that I wound up taking the job. I had a great time reconnecting with theater during the time I worked there."

Lisa Ann's interest in acting kept growing, and once again, her intuition told her it was time to move to New York. As it turns out The Grand Rapids Press has a sister newspaper in the East, The Staten Island Advance. Her boss contacted the editor there, and they were delighted to offer her a job on whatever terms she wanted. "They were very flexible and willing to let me work either full-time, part-time, or free-lance," says Lisa Ann. "In addition, they will let me be off for three months while I do summer stock in Muskegon, Michigan. Not only that, but I only work half- time and I get full benefits and receive 401K matching funds just like full-time people. None of this has been a struggle. I'm sure that if I had come to New York on my own and took a direct and conventional route of applying for a job, none of this would have unfolded. I could never have figured out to have everything turn out so perfectly."

One last story is from Lisa in Los Angeles. An events planner, she had been sending out resumes for months, but wasn't getting any calls for interviews. "I was invited to a housewarming party, and started talking to a friend about looking for work. She immediately told me of a friend of hers who was leaving a job working with the Academy Awards organization. At that same moment, the person walked into the party. When we told her we were just talking about her, she said, 'I had no idea you were looking for work.' And then she said those magic words, 'Call me in the morning.' I went in the next day and they hired me without even looking at my resume!"

So there you have it. God is moving you in the right direction. Just tell her what you want.

 
SYNCHRONICITY IN ACTION

Getting clear about what you really want is the first step to paving the road you want to travel.

During March I taught workshops at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, at the Learning Annex in Toronto, a writer's retreat in Florida, and a private gathering in Nashville, Tennessee. Hello and congratulations to all of you who made those events so much fun and productive! Reports from many of you are coming in by email--stories of big life changes that have happened as a result of fine-tuning goals and intentions and following up on synchronistic opportunities.

JUST DO IT

At Esalen, Mariella Krause, an advertising copywriter, told the group that she has been deeply wanting to teach improvisational comedy. Funny by nature, she cracked us all up with her quick insights as we explored what we wanted and how we could go about creating those dreams. Her comedy teacher had told her, "Just find a space, put together a group of people and do a class." As it turned out, our workshop room was empty in the afternoons, so Mariella remembered her teacher's advice, invited a few of our workshop people to play with her, and lo, she created her first class. Not only was this effortless unfolding fun, but it boosted positive feelings and gave her experiential knowledge that showed her "I can really do this!"

FOLLOWING UP ON AN INTUITION

Last week, Mariella wrote, "Wow, wow, wow. I've got news already! You know how Carol said to declare your intentions and the universe will start making things happen? I believe that, but have only ever experienced it in really small ways. That said, I didn't ever think the universe would be dropping a great big Christmas present into my lap. So.... guess who's going to be teaching improv at the San Francisco Comedy College? Yep....me! And it just fell into my lap in a lovely, universe/synchronicity way.

"Last summer I took a standup comedy class at SFCC, and I'm still in their e-group and get all their emails. Last week I got an email from them saying that there wouldn't be improv classes this session. I wrote the owner and said, 'Hmmm, are you lacking enough students to make it happen or are you lacking a teacher?' He called me back and said, yes, they were lacking a teacher. We talked and he said, "This was clearly meant to be. Come up with a curriculum. You're our new improv teacher!" "I knew that intention was part of manifesting, but I was frankly skeptical about it, thinking it can't be THAT easy! But it was literally about eight hours after I put it in writing that I got the offer! Also, getting hired to be an improv teacher is really rare. I thought the path I would be taking would be to come home, find a space, pick dates, advertise, hope I could find students, et cetera. Having someone hand me a class was way more than I could ever have hoped for, because that just doesn't really happen! It's not like you see lots of ads in the employment section saying, Wanted: Improv Instructor. So, everyone else--declare those intentions!!"

DAILY PRACTICE

Linda from southern California shares three commitments: "I intend to...follow my bliss. I'm getting ready to paint a 6' x 7' canvas...a big screen version of an oil pastel that I did titled 'Meadow Explosiva.'

"I am going to...draw and write every day and dance twenty minutes every day. Well, I am writing most mornings and/or doing art most days; dancing in a 7' x 9' kitchen is a challenge, but I boogey a little if not every day...also, behind the wheel in rush hour traffic--does that count?

I am eliminating...dwelling on negativity. This is a practice. I have been reading Thich Nhat Hanh's book, Anger, and highly recommend it. It's a very good book for the practice of embracing any strong negative emotion and working through it. Also, reading Pema Chodron's When Things Fall Apart.

"And, just to add to the mix, Susie Bright's Full Exposure...Opening Up To Your Sexual Creativity and Erotic Expression! I'm learning something from each one, and opening the heart chakra!

UNFOLDING AND ALLOWING

My purpose is: I am loving and lovable. I am (going to)...open to intimacy with myself and others. I am eliminating...snap judgments and hyper-criticalness.

"I am clear that I want to find a partner. I plan on getting out more socially and am seriously seeking opportunities to meet other uncoupled women. As 'hard' as my work in your workshop was, following up is difficult too. I am glad you suggested "check-ups/check-ins" with fellow travelers from the group. Good idea!

THE FIVE COMMITMENTS THAT GET YOU MOVING

how you want to feel if life were really good--if you felt you were fulfilling a meaningful purpose. As people in the workshops got more and more clear about what changes they'd like to make now (for the moment leaving alone the big question about What Is My Life Purpose?), we came up with five commitments that set the stage for the unfolding of the path. It helps to do the preliminary work of self-analysis (if you can't get to a class, you might enjoy doing the exercises on your own in my book, Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life). But, don't wait. Go ahead and answer the following statements right now and see if something changes in the next few days.

1 - My purpose is to... (Make a statement about how you can have more fulfillment now. For example, you might say: My purpose is to be in the flow of my life's work. My purpose is to find a partner and start a family. My purpose is to create more freedom and simplicity.)

2 - I want... (Be as specific as you can while still believing in the possibility of this thing happening. For example, if you say: I want a million dollars by the end of the week, but your inner voice is saying: Yeah, right. That's a crock of baloney. It will never happen, then make a more general statement that you can believe has a chance of happening, such as: I often receive unexpected money.)

3 - I intend to... (Set an intention to change your thinking, take some new actions, change a behavior, or learn something new. Your intention needs to have a strong emotional charge behind it.)

4 - I am going to... (Okay, this is where you put your new commitments on paper, in your calendar, and actually do them!)

5 - I am eliminating... (Identify what you have outgrown, and what is not helping you move in the right direction. Become aware of the limiting thoughts and language that keep you in the same old rut. Be ruthless with people and activities that waste your time. Eliminate clutter everywhere.)

Speaking of clutter, I also visited my friend, Nancy Rosanoff, on this trip (she's the author of several books on intuition, including her newest one coming out next month, Knowing When It's Right).

Her husband John has started collecting some important pieces of ancient Middle Eastern art--stone Buddhas and carved stone vessels. As we sat together in her living room filled to the brim with various paintings, assorted vases, family mementos, CD racks, and souvenirs from their many travels, we realized that the new art was catalyzing a need to simplify and organize the space. The next morning, John gave us his blessing on the reorganization and left for the day!

We decided to take down everything and box up the "good stuff" so that she could make a final decision on it at a later time. This allowed us to work quickly without having to agonize over every item. The stuff that was obviously not worth keeping went into a Goodwill pile. We had a great time working together. Soon the living and dining rooms were stripped bare.

I talked to Nancy this morning. "I can't tell you how much this purge has changed my life," she said. "I have literally pushed myself into the void so that I can see what I really want in here. By not having to decide on every item when we moved it, I didn't get hung up on the process. I feel such a release from attachment to any of my stuff. It's freeing me from old identities so that I can get in touch with the new present me. John and I can see our space for what it really is--not masked by all that stuff that didn't fit together. I can even do Tai Chi and yoga in here while it's cleared out. I've got painters coming next week. I want richer, more vibrant colors now.

"So much has started happening with my cable access TV show since we cleared the space here. I'm working on a World Peace project and will be meeting Bill Clinton when he comes to town for a fund-raiser, as well as several other celebrities, whom I am hoping to interview on the show. It's moving me to a whole other level!"

As I've always said: Ask for what you want. Start anywhere. Listen to your intuition. Take action. Watch for feedback. Get set, go.

If any of you readers have similar success and synchronicity stories to share, please email me at carol22@sonic.net. More to be revealed next month!

 
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