deep in prayer

My face fell as the shaman declared, “I can’t give you the answers and plan you seek.” Where was my vision for the future? Where was the course of action I could tackle after departing the incense and candle-laden shop? I will admit feeling a little disgruntled at the cash I had plunked down to hear these words, she was a shaman, after all!  Begrudgingly, though, I knew she was right. 

Now I sit with a koan, a paradox not solved logically.

After prolonged dedicated action, I simply need to surrender?

Where is the balance between manifesting and stepping back to allow and receive? 

I recently delighted in a month-long course.  Each day we received a journal question prompting us to describe an aspect of our perfect special someone.  This course encouraged specifics… I had a beautiful blueprint for everything from what she’d be wearing when we met to how we would handle conflict.  And then the course ended.  I held such excitement and readiness for all I have to give and receive.  And yet, now that I’ve put it out there, I’m just supposed to trust that she’ll find me when the time is right?  It all feels a bit anticlimactic. 

We’re taught that when we stop looking for something it appears.  I know many times when this is the case, and many times when hard work and perseverance yielded exhilarating outcomes.  If great leaders and inventors and advocates just sat back to allow and receive, we would remain stuck in the Dark Ages.

I am a dedicated manifester--going after what I want, creating vision boards, pasting my aspirations on the bathroom mirror, and setting goals.  These practices bring an expansive mindset, but our mantras don’t always materialize.  Over-eager energy does not yield fulfilling results.  Expectant energy doesn’t get us anywhere.  In fact, the more we clench around a particular yearning, the more we emit distrust that it will emerge.  Our impatience collects mental evidence that we are in lack. 

On the other hand, excited and enthusiastic energy is contagious.  Expansive possibility welcomes. 

Where is the balance between the practice of magnetizing our visions and not trying too hard?

Divine Source, what are you inviting us to learn here?

Consider two trees in a storm…the mighty old oak is unyielding and cracks against harsh winds.  The young sapling is nimble and bends with the gusts around her.  She is part of the wild untamed flow. Immersing herself in the current, she delights.

Divine Mystery, help me to stretch with the gusts.

I avow that things will happen when they need to and I trust that there may be other the pieces waiting to come together. I am just a little stuck on how we both manifest and allow?  

Maybe my lesson is about openness to new possibilities and receptivity to what we never expected?  Often what eventually comes to us is so much more than we ever imagined. If we start thinking about what something should be, we are only limiting ourselves. Coach John Divisi reminds us that part of the practice is surrendering just a little more to an unknown timeline each day.  As the Sufi poet Rumi reminds us, “The moon needs time to become full.”  In these moments, I say to the Mystery/Transcendent/Source, “Show me something I have not yet experienced.” 

Can we trust that our desires arise because they are for us?  There is something we need to learn in them and through them.  For me, affirming the ways my life is brimming with love and all the ways I relish showing love to others is part of this lesson. And yet, while recognizing all this love, I still sit with impatience.  Our discomfort is one step is our soul’s evolution.  At each stage, there is something new to learn returning us to greater wholeness. 

I will play devil’s advocate for a second to simultaneously declare, sometimes life’s unfolding is not about us (outraged gasp from the ego)!  My shaman also informed me that it wasn’t time yet, there was healing that needed to happen for her before we could meet.  I’ll begrudgingly admit to thinking, “If you could hurry a wee little bit, that would be fantastic.”  My patience is a work in progress!  No matter how things unfurl, the lessons are mighty.

One of my favorite Jewish theologians, Mordecai Kaplan, describes the Divine as “Process.”  He holds that God is the power or Process that makes for self-realization or self-fulfillment.  Using Kaplan’s understanding, can I feel the Mystery/Source/Transcendent by my side as I sit with impatience or frustration?  Can I expand my faith to trust that growth will flow from this in vital ways I will summon in the future?  Can I throw my passion into other pieces of my life in the meantime?  Can I sense the Divine Process surrounding me so I don’t feel so alone?  Can I know that there are so many others sitting with similar struggles? 

Let’s also be real here--it’s okay to say, “I trust you Universe, but you’re driving me bonkers!”  Those moments are an important part of our spiritual process.  We need times of struggle to come out on the other side.  Moments of impatience or exasperation are when we call our tribe in.  I have a friend on standby to remind me, “Patience, Jess.  You got this.”  Or even to affirm, “I know it’s not the same to share big news with a friend instead of a special someone, and I’m still really glad you shared it with me.” 

It is only by sitting with the discomfort that the miracle can show up. It is here that the practice of staying present is vital.  Let me recognize all my blessings, let me be gentle with myself when I struggle, let me feel all of the love that is present now, let me approach life with curiosity, receptivity, and acceptance. 

I hold all of these truths in my heart—intention around actualizing a specific future, trusting enough to let life unfurl, and openness to an unseen path, an unknown possibility.  

Divine Mystery,
May I find excitement in not knowing how the future will unfurl.
May I delight in this moment.
Immersing in the current, I surrender to this or something greater.
May I receive all that is present, 
And find wisdom in not knowing.
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