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Carol's Column
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!

 
SYNCHRONICITY IN ACTION--AGAIN!

Last month Steve Cooper, our band leader friend from Chicago, related stories of how he picks up information from license plates that seem to answer questions he is currently holding in his mind. Just as I was preparing to write this column, Steve emailed to report more "breaking" synchronicities that show how our intention does produce results.

SETTING AN INTENTION

"James Redfield was recently appearing for a book signing sponsored by Transitions Bookstore in Chicago. As I walked to the Learning Center where the event was happening, I made a mental note that I would like to meet James one-on-one so I could share with him that my stories were on the CelestineVision website in February. As I was walking through the shopping center, I had an overwhelming thought to go to the men's room even though I really didn't need to use the facilities. I turned away to walk toward the Learning Center, but something pulled me back and I went to the bathroom in the shopping center anyway. As I opened the door, who was on the other side of the door but James Redfield! I got to tell him about the website and ask him some questions.

"I then walked to the Learning Center. As I approached the door, a shuttle car with James Redfield pulled up, and for the second time in five minutes, I opened the door again for him. I thought - what a coincidence.

THE PERSON SITTING NEXT TO YOU IS THERE FOR A REASON

"After his lecture, James asked everybody to, 'Talk to the person next to you - maybe you'll notice a synchronicity.' I looked at the guy next to me and noticed some music paper in his hand. I told him the song he was holding was a wonderful jazz tune that most people would not be familiar with. He said it was for his wife. It turns out that his wife is the #1 jazz singer in Chicago, someone I have great respect for and someone I always wanted to meet. He's the head of her recording company. I had just made a new CD with my band, and he was able to answer some technical and legal questions for me.

"I had also asked James a question about the Harmonic Convergence in 1987 (when my life changed dramatically for the better), and the gentleman sitting next to me had all the answers I was looking for. We became good friends right away. He asked me if I had ever heard of a certain author or speaker. I turned white when he said that! I told him - 'Not only have I heard of him - I just happen to have a cassette tape of him in my shirt pocket!' I pulled it out and showed him. I had taped an Art Bell [radio talk show] show a week before, and put it in my pocket to listen to in my car! He couldn't believe it. Then I told him about a book I was writing (about music) and he knew a perfect publisher for me and gave me the address. I guess James was right - the person next to me had some synchronicities for me!"

IN THE FLOW WE GIVE AND RECEIVE INFORMATION EFFORTLESSLY

"After the book signing, I walked back to the bookstore. I thought I'd get a hot chocolate. I was walking to the refreshment counter, and walked by a table with three people engrossed in a conversation. I heard them mention the 'guy at the lecture who asked about the Harmonic Convergence.' I went up to them and said - 'Hey, that was me,' and they invited me to sit down. I did and found them fascinating. We were all on the same wavelength. I was able to answer their questions about various things they were talking about (all related to topics on the new age and human potential movement). Then...someone mentioned the name of another researcher and author and wanted to know about him. I reached into my pocket and pulled out another cassette tape I had brought along from a different Art Bell show. I said, 'You won't believe this, but I have a 90-minute tape of the very person you were asking about.' The funny thing is, neither of the two people I was able to surprise with a tape ever listens to Art Bell! Then they started talking about several different books. It turns out I had recently read every book and was able to tell them a summary of the books.

"I drove home and told my wife about all the coincidences and synchronicities. We were talking a lot, and then I told her I had one more thing to say to her - it was about the article of me on the Celestine website. She said, 'Wait, I want to tell you about a coincidence I had.' I cut her off and said, 'I just wanted to tell you I guess I had my '15 Minutes Of Fame'. She gasped, and said 'That's what I wanted to tell you about.' Her coincidence was that there was a reference question at the library that day (she's a reference librarian) about the '15 Minutes Of Fame' quote, and then when she got home there was a trivia question on the news about the '15 minutes.' She thought that was a great coincidence, but when I cut her off and said it first, I guess it became a triple coincidence.

STAY RELAXED AND OPEN

"There were lots of other small things that day, but I didn't write them down. I did have a feeling of 'lightness' all evening. James said that happens when you're 'in the flow.' I really was. I wish I knew how to turn it on and off, but I'm glad it happens and that I have learned to notice it."

Another reader of this Journal site, Rachel, wrote about similar feelings that came over her one time when she was browsing the new age section of a Barnes & Noble bookstore. She says, "I felt I was specifically looking for something in particular but didn't know what. I just knew that it would come to me when I found it. Sure enough my eye landed on a bright blue book. It was the compilation of all twelve of Alice Bailey's books on discipleship in the new age that she wrote under the guidance of the Adept, Djwhal Khul. I read the book over and over, but couldn't find any more like it. About a year and a half later I was on vacation and at a bookstore. For some reason I just thought of the book and looked for it, and the exact same feeling came over me. I knew it was there, and it was almost as if my eye just caught the binding. After months and months of crossed mail and returns, I gave up hope on finding any more of the books until I forgot about it and then one day I got a package from Lucis Publishing in London. I never really thought about all of this until I read The Celestine Prophecy and The Tenth Insight and saw your website. If you know of any links to the books, my address is rzavarella@yahoo.com; I'd really appreciate any additional information. As fascinating as they are to read, it's difficult to take in the information without having feedback from other people." Since many of you readers are very involved with metaphysical studies, I thought I would include Rachel's request for more contact with Alice Bailey fans or her books.

CLUES TO OUR LIFE PURPOSE APPEAR EACH DAY

We follow our life purpose whenever we respond to interesting information and take our curiosity one step further. We don't know where all this might lead us-and the end result is no more important than the journey -- but the Universe is furnishing clues to lead us into fruitful new areas. What have you been following lately?

 
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