Being a “Signs From The Universe” junkie has its charms. How can I resist making a wish upon the sight of 11:11 on the clock? Or, when a streetlamp goes on or off above me, I cannot help thinking that I must be vibrating at an optimal frequency. And sure, there are lovely moments of synchronicity—like, say, when you’re musing about the best way to get your book optioned by a movie studio, and you are working on the film treatment, and you happen to find yourself sitting next to the COO of a major movie studio in the chilly outskirts of a suburban Chicago Starbucks.
Yeah, things like that.
I gong bath often. That helps, too.
My atheist friend says I should be on 10 milligrams—of anything. I say, I’ll just keep vibrating along. Life has been magical thus far … why would it stop being so now?
Ah, but here’s a twist.
What happens when we suddenly find ourselves at a major turning point in our lives? What happens when we find ourselves vulnerable to the changes taking place and the changes we sense must be identified to make in order to keep moving on? What happens then? Do we cave into the fear and doubt or do we keep moving along, taking the hands of Trust and Faith? (Fine, sometimes I grab those hands and, yes, even I know that’s kind of needy and actually smacks me back down to another frequency.)
All of this comes to mind for a few reasons. For starters, it’s 2016 and I sense that many of us out there are making shifts, and maybe Shifts are making all of us into new humans. It’s the New Year. It’s that time of regrouping and moving into new realms and possibilities. It’s that time when we are faced with something so easily understood yet, at times, so curiously funky to implement and that is this: That inevitably we will reach a point in our lives when the THINKING that got us to where we are currently situated may not be the THINKING that will move us beyond it. What do you do when the YOU that you knew yourself to be is no longer the YOU your soul is nudging you to be?
What then? How do we maneuver through the terrain of vulnerability and significant life change?
Several years ago, it was clear to me that I was to pursue finishing a memoir about my Polish’s family’s mindbending odyssey during WWII. (The book was released in 2015.) I didn’t know it at the time, but by following that path, I would step into an epigenetics playground of unresolved family trauma and, oddly, be thrust upon a nomadic journey that eerily mirrored my family’s plight as refugees during the 1940s. That’s not to say it hasn’t been luscious at times. It has. But upon reflecting back on it, it’s clear to me that something deeper within me has been attempting to turn the SHIP that is/was ME around.
The list of happenings still intrigues me. I lost a longtime job in 2014 (yet was OK with that). I left a community I had known for more than a decade. I traveled across the U.S. and landed in places like Menomonie, Wisconsin! … and gaggle of house-sitting gigs in and around Chicago … while the book was about the be launched. I found myself hosting a vigil in Chicago for the 75th anniversary of Stalin’s mass deportation of Polish people. I passed up an opportunity to get back into the conventional workforce because The Universe gave me a sign to be a caretaker and head to Maui to oversee baby olive trees in a freshly planted olive grove. After 90 days, I returned to the Midwest for more booksigning gigs and came out the other side of 2015, realizing that I cashed in my 401ks and lived off my savings to make it all happen.
I also realized this: When you’re suddenly convinced that the phantom ghosts of your ancestors absolutely LOVE the idea that you are a creative receptor and you can be tapped in, tuned in and turned on like a radio, there’s no telling how many of them want to come out to play. Needless to say, all of this does something to one’s concept of home and place, yet it has offered me a tremendous opportunity to practice the art of Being Vulnerable.
Would I do it all again? In the same way? In a heartbeat. Well, perhaps I’d Doubt less and Faith more.
Why? Well, there’s something quite powerful—if not perversely comedic—about vulnerability. As humans, we want to push it away; go back to the familiar; feel safe. We want to make sense of EVERYTHING. We have this need to FIGURE IT ALL OUT and MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN. But can we also experience a kind of victory by simply admitting the truth about where we are when WHERE we are doesn’t feel anything like “home?”
Wouldn’t that open the doors for new possibilities?
Recently, I caved into pressure and attended a Christmas service at my Polish mother’s megachurch. Truth be told, I think she’ll always be a Catholic, but for the sake of her marriage and such, why not gather in an arena filled with 7,500 Christians? I digress. They looked and smelled nice and that’s a good thing. The writer in me saw the dark comedy in all the Go To The Light business. Besides, for me, life is a spiritual smorgasbord, anyway, so I can find some Divine Truth just about anywhere. Needless to say, I asked for some guidance and a sign prior to heading into the service and I was pleasantly surprised when the pastor revealed the topic of his sermon: Home.
Coincidence? I think not. (Especially since I have been regrouping and determining where my next home will be.)
But the theme of the service was more than “home.” It was about those moments in our lives when we feel as if everything is being rearranged on the inside; times when Faith and Trust and Surrender are the best paths to take. I guess it’s akin to a kind of cosmic renovation—when our interior walls are being gutted and the insulation has come apart at the seams. It can look and feel messy, but ultimately, something new is being constructed.
To that end, like seeing our own exterior homes through their own renovations, I sense there’s something empowering to be experienced when we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable during a major interior remodel.
Maybe that is the one of the quickest ways to feel as if we’re back home—or, at least in the right neighborhood.