Our New Zealand summer has been fantastic. I think it's been one of the hottest summers I can remember since moving here 6 years ago.
A challenge that exists during self-employment in New Zealand is keeping yourself "floating" when pretty much all forms of business stop from Christmas week until the middle of January. So, that is what I did over the last month... chase high tide and "floated" in the water pretty much every day. We certainly have a great in life in New Zealand.
During this slow and restful period, I was asked if I wanted to be considered for a role in Los Angeles, which would have obviously taken me back into the corporate world with the schedule that most people keep. I will say it was tempting, especially the idea of earning a guaranteed salary again.
To be honest, even if everything wasn't perfect about the situation (such as the location in Southern California), I probably would have jumped on it and relocated back to the USA without a second thought, however, my courage, strength and determination prevailed! I'm still in New Zealand and continuing the journey that I have been on for the last year. As you can imagine, my thinking at the time had already leapt forward to being in California, which is why there was not a January blog article and email update.
This situation really got me thinking. If I wanted an easy way out, I could have made this change happen. My life as I know it now would have just been temporarily on hold for a few years, and I could have built it back after this assignment ended.
When we are handed an easy option in life, how often do we take it, instead of riding the bigger challenges that are and will continue to come around our choices?
In NZ, there is a Maori saying, "Kaua rawa e tahuri koutou hoki i runga i te Atua o Tangaroa te moana". In English it means "to never turn your back on Tangaroa, God of the sea". There is also a similar saying in Hawaii, "Mai Huli oe I Kokua o Ke Kai" (never turn your back on the ocean). The question I'm asking is what happens if we do turn our backs on the sea and take a hit from a big and unexpected wave? Would we be any different or better?
I think in many ways it is life's hard experiences and unplanned agendas that ultimately teach us the many life lessons we need to build our inner strength and provide us with courage. A friend's fortune cookie recently had a similar message, that there are lot of options in life, but taking the easy one or the first one that comes is not necessarily the answer.
So the key message I'm telling myself and very much cultivating is that if we don't face our fears and take the hit of a wave, we might truly never build the strength and skills needed to face life's continuous challenges. The universe provides us with what we need and when we need it, but the test is knowing how to listen to what the universe is actually telling us. Is it to face the ocean and go with it, or to turn our backs blindly and experience the journey that this will bring?
In my personal story, I did turn my back from the sea and I'm taking the lessons and life experiences that will come from the decision I made (even though it's likely not going to be easy).
So, how does one listen to the universe when there are so many options and choices to make and information coming your way? That is a good question, and to offer some advice around it, I recently read an article from Gaia. A quick google search will pull up their site and their article titled "4 Steps to Knowing What the Universe is Telling You". It will certainly give you some thoughts and insights to consider if you are interested. At the very bottom of my article, you will find their four steps directly taken from their article - enjoy!
My final words... The universe is very forgiving and understands that we are only human. It operates and demonstrates love, peace and compassion in many forms and ways. Even if we make mistakes, the universe will continue to help and guide us throughout our journey.
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"4 Steps to Knowing What the Universe is Telling You"
1. Be clear on where you need guidance. Make sure your questions for the Universe are clearly stated, so there’s no room to question. Be specific in where in your life you need support, when you’d like to see the answers, and the meaning the guidance has for you.
2. Release it to the universe. Once you have the question in your mind, stop toying with it and worrying about it. Send your thoughts to the Universe and place your trust in the fact that it has been heard.
3. Engage in the present moment. Now that you’ve sent off your worries and concerns, it’s time to fully commit to being present. Pay attention to your body, your relationships, and your environment of the present time, rather than worrying about the future. Take care of all these things, particularly your body. This is a vital step, as your intuition lives in your body; if you want to be able to receive your answers, you must make sure your body is engaged rather than your mind.
4. Stay Open and Receptive. Here’s an important clue, if you have to think about whether or not something you notice is a sign or guidance from the Universe, it’s not. You’re forcing it, which is not going to help you understand anything any better. However, if you hear something or your radar catches something that sparks a physical reaction — a clear sense of truth — you have your answers.