As you go through and experience life, you often reach different levels of understanding with each lesson you encounter. The process of learning and understanding these life lessons unfold differently for everyone. As an example, here is something that happened to me:
In late 2019 and early 2020, a series of blessings rained down on me. In this short period, I found three things: the perfect new office for my company, a new car that I love completely, and a new romantic relationship that is still going strong! The thing is, I wasn’t searching for any of these things. Instead, they seemed to come to me through a series of inspirations that unfolded for me.
So yeah, that brought me up a few notches in terms of my understanding of How Things Work. I was amazed by the subtle power of inspiration and I’ve been a rapt student ever since. Don’t worry; I’m still a normal computer nerd, but I’ve developed enormous respect for simply trusting life.
It has been almost a year since I started this blog - a year of tremendous upset and change for all of us. Yet for me, it has also been a year of wonder, excitement, and creativity.
Back at the start of 2020, I had some experiences that awakened me to a new skill: how to recognize and act upon intuition. That led me to discover Mel Robbins’ brilliant The 5 Second Rule. At that same time, I also encountered two amazing books: The Alchemist, by Paul Coelho, and The Surrender Experiment, by Michael Singer.
The teachings in these works opened me up to three important ideas:
- The Surrender Experiment revealed to me the astonishing cooperation of the Universe that brings fulfillment when we accept whatever comes our way. I had always thought I must act according to a well-thought-out plan, one my own intelligence had devised. I thought I had to avoid being distracted from my careful strategies. However, this real-life biography showed me how incredibly rewarding life can be if I commit to being open to inspirations as they happen.
- The Alchemist is a fable, a long-beloved story about traveling to the ends of the world seeking treasure, only to discover that the treasure has been within you all along. Like Singer’s experience, Coelho’s tale maps the progress from fear and longing to confidence and peace.
- The 5 Second Rule further confirmed the concept that life is rich, inspiring, and generous – as long as you are open to it.
As I’ve worked with these ideas over the past year, I’ve developed a more specific way of using them that I would like to share with you.
Practicing the Rule
Talking about The 5 Second Rule is easier than implementing it in real life. We’re so full of fear, so committed to being safe and “right.” We avoid risks and embarrassment at all costs (Ellen gives a perfect example of this). We’re well trained to be polite, not to rock the boat, and to exclusively think inside the box.
Sincerely adopting The 5 Second Rule is a big challenge. I’ve spent many months focused on making a solid habit of taking inspirations seriously. I’ve learned to write down any and all ideas that come to me whether crazy, silly, amazing, or seemingly insignificant… No matter what! Even ideas that seem impossible to forget are forgotten. I guess my memory does not discriminate.
Following through on every thought, every whim, every idea – at least to the extent of making a note of each one no matter how major or minor – is a discipline that takes practice. This practice has shifted my awareness to a new level of receptivity and given me a new appreciation for the natural abundance of life.
Giving Up Expectations
A big part of living according to this concept of flow is learning how to listen to inspiration, leaving space for multiple opportunities with their accompanying outcomes. In other words, being open to all options.
Normally, we operate according to our agenda for the day, for our relationships, for our lives. And sure, it’s fine to have a to-do list. The hitch happens when things don’t go according to expectations.
Because responding to anything in terms of expectation can end in disappointment, I’m finding it is much better to simply experience, forget preconceptions, and accept what happens with equanimity.
It’s contrary to what we’re usually taught: instead of setting a goal and forcing reality to conform, we can set an intention and see what comes. Instead of imagining a specific outcome, we can embrace all possibilities.
It may seem easy to see how this shift in perspective can lead to calmer and more enjoyable daily experiences, but believe me, it’s not easy to train the mind to do this. We’re truly masters when it comes to spooking ourselves, worrying, and imagining all sorts of horrors. This paranoia makes us think we can succeed only if we are smart and lucky enough.
Giving up expectations is giving up control. Scary stuff indeed.
Letting It Be
I have been practicing The 5 Second Rule (even practicing it both ways) and working hard to forego expectations, but sometimes, I feel disappointed. When you think about it, though, that disappointment is evidence that I am still subconsciously expecting a specific result.
Without a preconceived outcome fixed in my consciousness, I am fascinated and keenly involved with the actual outcome, no matter what form it takes. I am an active participant in the flow of the Universe, not just my preconceived result.
Here’s a recent example of this: when I needed to find a new sales manager, an old friend who was suddenly out of work became a great candidate. Thinking he was the answer, I hired him part-time – only to have him resign a week later when he found full-time work. Was this a failure of my intuition? I had felt that his availability was a gift from heaven. Then heaven reneged?!
But Heaven had responded with a blessing! Yes, I still had a position to fill, but the situation with my old friend was an essential part of the process, not the end of the process. The time spent working with him provided incredible insight and value on a specific project and put me in alignment to post the position at just the right moment to find the right person for the job. It simply took time and my trust in the process to see that yes, it was a gift. It just wasn’t the one I imagined at the time!
In the end, it’s a process of developing the firm conviction that the Universe is my co-conspirator, providing an endless flow of opportunities. It’s setting fears aside and understanding that I am happiest, safest, and most productive when I listen to my intuition and the Universe.
Ultimately, it’s learning to trust myself.
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