Gifts Wrapped in Barbed Wire

When the swirl of the world has you entangled in its grip, know that the tornado is yours. It ain’t easy to understand, but these moments are your life unfolding.

We make plans. We set goals. Sometimes it works out. Sometimes it does not.

Those lovely blueprints we design are based on the assumption that we comprehend the landscape completely. But even though we may be great map-makers, the bumps are there, often unforeseen. Grumpy bosses, miscommunication, disagreements, silent clients, ailing pets, hormonal teenagers living under your roof – they are all a part of the Grander Scheme. They are the gifts wrapped in barbed wire. It sometimes hurts to hold them in our hands. We may cry or shout as we unravel the wire. But if we find the courage and stamina to do so, we will be rewarded with the brightest of beauty that life can bring.

(c) 2005 David Merrett, used with permission.

(c) 2005 David Merrett, used with permission.

Just when I think I’ve understood that lesson, something else happens to test my resolve. Not only do we create maps, we also create meaning along the way. Locked in our own mind’s tower, we hold on to that map and insist that this is the way without listening to the Universal Power that is telling us differently. It is only when we accept the Universe’s GPS signal that we can release our attachments and the wire loosens.

Retaliatory action is the least powerful avenue, celebration the most.

The other day a flash mob showed up on the Grand Place in Brussels. They decided to celebrate life, not cower in fear at the recent terrorist attacks on their city. Their encouraging and life-affirming act of joy shot tears to my eyes. Dancing in the square, they exuded all that is good in this life. We are not victims, their actions said. We are decision-makers. We choose to dance.

Every day we get to decide anew as to whether we hold on tight to that which we expect to happen or to accept what actually does. We are dancers. We are creators.

Yes, we are.


Wishing, Wanting, What?

The best laid plans often go astray. There have been countless occasions in my life in which I have drawn strength from that saying. Imagine if we could control everything that happens in our world. We would know exactly, to the minute, what would happen next. Mystery would die on the vine. Synchronicity would fade. Spontaneity would disappear completely. That which makes life so incredibly magical would no longer exist.


Everything happens for a reason. It isn’t random Universal cruelty, although we may feel that way sometimes. And sure, it’s easy to say that things are meant to be when those things are going our way. The true litmus test is when they don’t.

In those moments, my trust in the Universe is required. Sometimes unwillingly, I force myself to call it forth and listen closely.

My innate sense of optimism is as much a part of me as the air I breathe. Whenever I experience a misstep in my life, I have to ask myself where the golden nugget in all of it is. Because it is always there. If you don’t believe me, remember what you thought you wanted as a teenager. Then you attend your 20th high school reunion and thank the gods above that you didn’t get what you wished for.

I’m not talking about positive thinking, although that is a byproduct of optimism. It is more about understanding the broader vision. What is the sense of it all really? Gifts are frequently wrapped in barbed wire. The unwrapping part hurts, but to get to the gift, we sometimes have to put on those gloves and uncoil it.

We may bleed. We may cry. We may stomp our feet in a blind fury. Until we start to see the sparkle underneath the rusty metal.

It’s not easy taking that step toward unraveling the truth. But if life has taught me anything at all, it is that love can heal those wounds.

It starts with loving ourselves. To others the act of self-love may not be understood. It’s not important that others agree with you. It is far more important that we are in agreement with ourselves. Oh yes! It takes a truck load of courage to step out and be who we are. Having the confidence to stand up for ourselves in the face of immense opposition can be scary. But so is public speaking. Both are well worth it, if you are willing to take risks toward a brighter future. For yourself. For those you love. For your truest purpose in this world.

So if you find yourself wishing for something to happen and it doesn’t, try a touch of gratitude. Believing in the omnipresent goodness that the Universe supplies will turn those thorns into roses.

Life can be beautiful. And it is. If you are willing to consider what’s humming beneath it all.


Get Lost and Return

We all have Lost and Found stories. It is a part of life that things — and people — come and go in our lives.

But have you ever had an item mysteriously disappear only for it to return under equally mysterious circumstances? As with most everything, we have a choice about how we view such losses. In my mind, things are never really lost. They are merely in movement. Sometimes they travel to far ends of the Earth before returning to you.

Whether it is an inanimate object or a living being, we are one massive gyrating ball of energy. We undulate to the pulse of the Universe. When we play by its rules, the most incredible things happen.

I once lost a camera in a New York taxi. Someone from Venezuela found it and returned it two months later.

Losing my camera in a NYC taxi was the first real lesson for me in the Universal Law of Loss and Return. After I discovered the camera was missing, I fretted interminably. It didn’t help. So I decided I needed to release my emotional hold on it. I went into full acceptance that it — and all the memories I had captured on it – was gone. And then a young Venezuelan woman left a comment on my mother’s blog, claiming she had seen a picture of her on the camera in front of her newly created blog and if the camera might belong to her.

She left the comment on my birthday.

Releasing our hold on things and fully embracing What Is So is the key to energy’s return.

Another example of this is how I learned to accept that my most precious necklace (aptly named My Power) feels the need to travel. About five years ago, it mysteriously disappeared. Just when I had finally come to terms with its lost, it showed up in a pocket of a jacket I hadn’t worn in a year. Recently, I misplaced it again, but having been through this before I knew it would show up when I least expected it. I found it in my gym bag a week later.

Last year I accidentally left my wallet in a Freiburg taxi. As I was about to get upset, my friend reminded me of the Universal Law I was getting to know so well. I admit I entered a state of doubt, but decided she was right. Five days later I got a call. The wallet’s contents (including all credit cards!) was found in a garbage bag at the central train station. The angelic man (whose last name meant angel in German!) insisted on driving to my doorstep to return it.

My son accidentally dropped his bus pass somewhere between school and home. An anonymous person returned it via mail without a trace of identification.

When things like this happen, it feels like a hug from the Universe.

Just yesterday, I lost my calendar. I have no memory of it slipping from my hands. But now it too has delved into the ocean of energy exchange. I allowed myself to fret for a moment, then entered the space of acceptance and anticipation. I’m looking forward to its journey and possible return – in whatever form the Universe decides it will be.

The Reason

Why is a child’s favorite word. Why do birds fly? Why does the rain fall? Why? Why. Why…

We never stop asking ourselves that question. Later, as life progresses, we ask ourselves “Why me? Why now? Why not?”

We are the reason seekers. We look for reasons why things happen as they do. Or why they don’t happen at all.

When we stop asking why, that’s when the fun really begins. Because the truth is not all reasons reveal themselves in the way in which we can see them ~ at first.  We often lose sight, in our own reasoning, as to the real reason life turns out as it does.

But do you want to know a secret? Your life, as it is, is exactly where you are supposed to be. Believe it or not there is a plan.

If we were to embrace acceptance that the Universe has the reasons in its trustworthy hands, we would be better off. We’d be happier. We’d no longer feel the need to control outcomes. We could bathe in the beauty that is life’s mystery.

Because in reality we have very little control over things anyway. Take action? Yes. Accept what happens thereafter? Definitely.

The confluence of our life’s events unfurl like sails, yet we often fight against the wind, as if we were stronger than Nature itself.

We are not.

What looks like a bad thing, such as disappointment for not getting what we want, is actually a necessary step in our path of life. We often skew our vision, wishing things were different. But what if the Universe listened to our every demand? Where would we end up?

We would verge from the path down a forsaken road. Life would be completely in our hands ~ and I have a feeling we wouldn’t be happier for it.

So the next time you experience an unexpected turn, be thankful, then stop, look and listen. The reason will show itself in good time.

And you will no longer have to ask the question: “Why?”

With trust in your heart that everything unfolds as it is meant to, you will be free ~ free from the sadness that holds your heart hostage.

The Why of things is the Universe’s business. Our job is to deal with it the best we can, with faith that our imagined destiny pales in comparison to our truest purpose for being here.


The Universe is Like a Supermarket

The door to creativity swings wide open when you make space for it. In fact, anything you have ever desired is just waiting for you to create the room for it to enter.

Sometimes we forget where the key to that door is. Although it resides in our truest selves, we tend to ignore that deep, intrinsic part of our being, which, when abandoned, wilts like a dying flower in the sand. Drowning in information, obligation and frustration, we tend to lose ourselves along the way if our focus is on how we think we should be. We build walls of ‘shoulds’ and ‘have-tos’, lying to ourselves and others about what is real.

Universal law states that what we think is what is so.

Let’s look at an example.

If you are searching high and low for something and are convinced that it is lost forever, what are the chances that you will actually see it? The desperation and fear we feel about having lost that thing block us from actually finding it again.

But, have you ever noticed how things resurface after you have let go of your attachment to it? I have a travelling necklace that is so powerful it sometimes does a deep dive into oblivion, coming up for air once again when I need it most.  My best friend has the same issue with hers. We have learned to accept its ways and wisdom.

Want to know a secret? We never really lose anything anyway. It merely changes form in time and space.

You can actually call things into being by merely shifting your perspective on something.

We’ve all experienced a moment in time when we’ll be thinking about someone and he or she will suddenly appear or call. That’s our internal GPS drawing us together with the person we need to meet. It’s cool when it happens because it reminds us about how much intelligence we really have within us.

The Universe is like a supermarket. Find the right aisle and fill your cart with what you need.

The key to its entrance –which goes through each of us — is merely having the eyes to see.



The Law of Attraction

If you have ever been to Venice, you know that it is one of the most beautiful, crowded, tourist-infested cities in the world. It has so many bridges and narrow passageways that you simply have to let go of any expectation that you’ll ever find the same place twice.

Foto-5It is also extraordinarily expensive. So my budget-conscious travelling companion and I decided we’d simply manifest the perfect place for dinner by making a request of the Universe.

It had to have outdoor seating, away from the suffocating foot traffic. It had to offer a good meal, but under a certain price. And the wait staff needed to be really friendly (we had met several who were not).

Within thirty minutes we had found the perfect place. It even had free WiFi!

Throughout our four-day journey, we continued to manifest experiences that we wanted to have, learning from each of them and experiencing the pure joy of being one with the Universe.

It was marvelous.

If you truly want something, define what it is. Don’t be shy. Remove doubt. Go for it whole hog.

You have to be clear and specific. When you are, you will be surprised about what, and who, will show up to take care of things for you.

At another place we wanted seafood. We opted for some on our pizza. But the waiter was reluctant to serve it because, in his words, it wasn’t good for him. A French couple at a neighboring table ordered a huge pan of seafood on a bed of spaghetti. After thirty minutes, our food still hadn’t arrived so they offered us the rest of theirs!

The Law of Attraction at work.

It helped that we spoke French with them. At least, they understood what we said. And they were kind, even if the waiter wasn’t.

On the final night, we approached a restaurant that we just knew would give us the dining experience we were looking for. The waiter spoke incredibly good German, which was astounding.

It turns out he lived in Freiburg for 17 years. I’m moving there this summer.

He is the third person I’ve met in recent months who is in love with the place where I am about to live.

It is a sign. It’s the law of attraction, and all the Universal goodness that is supporting our path as we continue this journey called Life.

Open yourself up to gratitude. Declare that your life will be amazing. How could it not be, my dear friends? You are in it!


The Prison in Our Heads

In the past two days I have watched two movies. It’s been one of those rainy weekends where staying indoors seemed like the best solution.

The Life of Pi, an epic Ang Lee film about a young man’s journey of perseverance and survival, was not only a 3D delight, but a soulful one too. In the end, the viewer gets to decide which version of the man’s shipwreck story is true. It was a visual rendering of our journey as human beings, the stories we tell ourselves to survive and the projections we create to convince ourselves that the decisions we make are valid. But most of all, it is a story about the triumph of the human spirit. No matter what life throws at us, we can lead happy lives in the end.

Eat, Pray, Love was the second film I saw. This time it is a woman’s search for herself. Through several failed relationships (including one with herself), Elizabeth Gilbert discovers that imbalance is indeed a part of leading a balanced life. Even toward the end of the movie, love scares her the most as she seeks a new narrative for her life. Will she lose herself once again in the arms of her Brazilian lover? The movie has a hopeful message that one needn’t lose oneself to share a life with another. In fact, one can come closer to the person one is through the sheer presence of the other.

In both films, the theme is clear: we are prisoners of our own thinking about God, the world, and our part in it. Our belief systems, the way we are raised and the decisions society makes for us keep us locked into ways of being that often go against who we really are. In one heart-breaking scene in Eat, Pray, Love, a young Indian woman is betrothed to a man in an arranged marriage. The viewer is left thinking her life could go either way, not exactly a great comfort for those of us seeking our higher truth. She is bound to tradition in a life not of her own making.

The good news is most of us, like Elizabeth Gilbert, have the choice to free ourselves from our internal prisons if we choose to take that path. It is not an easy one, but a road that can lead us to an impermeable inner peace.

If you embark on a breakout from the prison in your head, know that you are not alone. I’ll be right there with you to remind you that the greatest pathway to your freedom is the pathway to yourself.


Travels to Myself

Whenever I board a plane, train or automobile to a new place, I am guided by my internal GPS. Every interaction I have or person I meet opens my eyes in new ways. I am informed by the novelty of the situation, but also by the ever-unfolding plan of the Universe that places me right in the middle of whatever I need to experience. It is particularly astounding to me how many cool people fly on airplanes.

Waiting at the Dulles International airport with Husband, I noticed a cute young couple in the corner, sharing food and body warmth as we waited to board our five-hour flight to San Diego. Husband and I had to change seats at the gate to ensure we sat together so our once randomly assigned seats were once again rearranged for that purpose. In other words, I wasn’t supposed to sit where I did, but I am so glad it worked out that way. I met the most fascinating doctor-in-training who laughed with me across the continent. When we got up to stretch our legs, I noticed the cute couple was right behind me in the next row. That’s when the girl engaged me in some small talk. It turns out she and her husband were returning from their honeymoon cruise just in time to miss Hurricane Sandy. Then, to my delight, she asked me if I might go to lunch with her.

“I just love your light,” she beamed. I beamed back and we made a date. A few days later we spent a lovely few hours together, chatting over lunch then walking on the beach. We revealed that neither one of us was supposed to be in the rows we were sitting (she was supposed to be on a different flight altogether). I shared with her the mystical-magical that we all possess. She already knew that. What impressed me most was when she said we already have everything we need. At 24 years old, she knows who she is. I was encouraged that the next generation’s consciousness will be higher than ours.

Travel brings us closer to who we are, guiding us to people of all ages and backgrounds. It shows us that no matter where we are on the planet, we expand a piece of who we are when we are engaged with each other, just like the Universe itself.

Dance in the light, my friends, wherever you are. Know that everything will work out just as it should. And that you are not alone.  Ever.

Planting the Seeds of Joy

Merrily plant the seeds of your vision. As with any living being, those seeds grow in their own time. In my experience, planting seeds and leaving them to grow does indeed take time.

Patience is a virtue I was not born with. It is an acquired skill. But when we truly surrender to the process of sowing good ideas, it comes back to us tenfold when left to breathe and grow.

Oftentimes I receive intuitive thoughts that I call “messages from the Universe” that come floating into my brain and stay there. Last year on a walk, for instance, I kept hearing “You are a healer”. I was on my way to my twentieth college reunion and was in no state of mind to hear such things. But there it was. And for a year I’ve been grappling with what that means. Slowly, but surely, as I meet new people who come to me with their stories, I realize that indeed listening to them is a part of their healing process. In essence, I needn’t do anything but be who I am.

How often do we think we have to take this class or that, prepare ourselves formally for what is ahead or strive to achieve things that we think we must, only to find out we have all the resources we need at our disposal, right here, right now? I have come to believe that these sacred messages I receive are merely gentle reminders of what I already possess.

You can hear them too. We are all capable of listening to know which seeds of joy to plant. It might take a few years for you to see the results of your efforts, but the wait is well worth it indeed.

What’s in a name?

A recent discussion with friends at breakfast got me to thinking. Why do we use nicknames?

One of the couples said they are calling their baby daughter by her name only. They don’t believe in pet names for whatever reason. I, on the other hand, use pet names to express a closeness and contextuality.

For instance, my husband is Andreas to the rest of the world. I only call him that, thereby lumping me together with said world, when I’m either mad or other people are within earshot. Otherwise,  I have an array of names to express the situation. The same applies to him. I always know he’s about to ask me something a tad tenuous when he addresses me with ‘Babu’ ~when he had a business trip to Malta, for example, he called me that (I ended up tagging along! )

My kids have a variety of nicknames as well. To protect the innocent, I won’t, well, name them here.

Words have great power and how we choose to use them makes a difference. Just looking at all the names for God gives us pause to think about the meaning of names.

I always know when I let someone into my heart ~ it’s the moment  I find a nickname for that person. It usually unfolds naturally. My dear actor friend is ‘lovey dovey’, for instance.

Words are the ties that bind. And names matter. As Shakespeare’s Juliet so rightly said, ”

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

So, what’s in your name?

In my book, everything that makes you special to that other person.