Let’s talk a bit about the term enlightenment. Is that the goal of all the mental work that I am doing? I begin each day with gratitude—I appreciate the beauty of the light filtering through the shades, the bird’s songs, that I wake up naturally, without an alarm, that I look forward to my morning writing session, that I can hear a happy dog padding in the bedroom to greet me. I affirm every morning that I will look for opportunities to see beauty, love, and just about anything that will make me feel good. And, only then, do I get up and begin my day.
I have seen the power of just doing this step—how that started to transform my life—and how it continues to direct my life into a wonderful flow. But, is my goal to attain enlightenment?
Well, I never really thought about that. That word seems bigger than life. Reserved for advanced spiritual masters and Buddhist monks. I still curse—not as often as I used to—but, I still have to watch my mouth around my mother. I’m guessing the monks don’t have to think about that.
Taking a sharp left from the trend in my life up until now—I don’t have a goal for this “work” that I do. I really am starting to ‘become’ this way of life. I’m not just positive in the morning. I pay close attention to what I am feeling. I listen closely to my heart. My actions follow-suit. I am responsible for how my life goes; I’m not just lost at sea paddling madly and hoping to bump into an island.
My life has completely transformed in LESS THAN A YEAR. As a society, we are a drive-thru, supersize, digitally driven, instant-satisfaction seeking group of people. A year is a really long time to that group. But, this is my life that I am working on, I am in it to win it - whatever it takes. First of all, if I go back one year, I didn’t have the knowledge, experience or confidence to make all the changes at once. I would have lost my mind. But, bit by bit, I could do it. Wayne Dyer says that you don’t have to figure ‘the how’ out, you just need to be willing to contemplate it. That, I can do.
The signs you receive along the way, can be subtle. I was walking through our neighborhood last week and drinking in all the different beautiful scents. New trees and bushes are blooming and the smells are amazing. It got me to thinking about lilacs. I grew up in the same small town that my dad did, and his mother lived about a mile from us. My grandmother had lilac bushes in her yard and each Spring when they would bloom she would cut branches off and place them in vases around her house. Any time I smell lilacs I am taken back to that happy place and am reminded of that wonderful woman. The next morning, my boyfriend comes back from running errands with a bouquet of flowers for me—and there are lilacs in the bouquet.
He had no idea of my love for lilacs or what they symbolize or that I had just been thinking about it. He was driving by this flower shop and it just pops in his head to stop in.
That is how the universe speaks to you. I know I’m on the right track. That was a beautiful pat on the back. You have to be paying attention or you will miss the subtle signs. And the subtle signs make the trip so much more fun.
So, I’m not doing the mental work in my life with the goal of attaining enlightenment. I’m going about my life the way I am because I enjoy it so much. I’ve lived the life where I tried to make everyone happy, where I stayed in relationships because I thought you had to compromise enough until you made it work, where I figured out what teachers and bosses needed to earn the praise.
But I knew there was more out there. I had a feeling in my heart that what I was doing didn’t have to be the only way to live. And once I started listening, it made all the difference.
A few years back, I was going through the raw emotional time that you have after a relationship ends. I was tired of the endless analysis and guilt that was going on in my mind. Something inspired me to just walk to the bookstore and wander through it, just to get my mind off things. As I am wandering through the store, a tiny book catches my eye called The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. She had written a poem by the same title and then wrote this little book to explain what she meant, what emotions she was translating, in her poem. The first two paragraphs of the poem, spoke directly to that space in my heart that needed attention.
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive …”
It was the perfect book for me at that very moment. It spoke to me on such a personal level that it turned around that negative spiral that I was letting spin uncontrolled. At that time in my life, I thought this event was sheer luck. Now I know that my desire to have more peace in my life, my desire to have a partner that supported me, was starting to be answered by the universe. That book was a road sign that I was on the right track. I’m so happy that I paid attention—it has made all the difference in the world.