“Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.” ~Jose Ortega y Gasset
Something magical and wonderful happened to me over Christmas. For the first time in my life I was able to make sense out of a string of seemingly random events that made no sense at all, that is, until I bothered to stop, listen, and check in with my heart.
My family and I were staying in a hotel in Brisbane, Australia, for three nights over the Christmas period. It was a special Christmas this year because it was my big fiftieth birthday on Boxing Day.
The first event happened at breakfast on Boxing Day morning as I was opening my gifts. My husband had bought me an original Women’s Weekly magazine from December 1963, and my two sons were curious as to what it was all about.
My husband said it was a memento for me to cherish, to keep, and to see how much the world had changed since then. He explained that his mum had bought him a Life magazine for his fiftieth and how much he loved it.
We then went to the cinema to watch a movie called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and, lo and behold, the whole movie was set around Life magazine.
We couldn’t believe it. Surely it wasn’t a coincidence that we had just been talking about Life magazine (a topic that had never been discussed before), and there it was larger than life on the big screen.
The movie also centred on travel and photography, something that my husband absolutely adores.
The next day we went for a walk in the city and my husband took his camera with him. I walked and talked while he scanned and clicked. I remember thinking to myself at the time how much joy he gets from taking photos.
On our last day we were having breakfast in the hotel restaurant, and as I stood waiting for my toast to pop, up a lady came up to me and asked if I my name was Claire and if I used to live in Lismore, Australia.
I said yes and frantically tried to remember who she was. It came to be that our two eldest sons were childhood friends and her son would often come around to our place to play. This was twenty years ago.
She said that she was here with her husband in Brisbane for only a few days visiting their son, who was doing an international photography course at university.
I sat down and finished my breakfast, reflecting on why at this hotel, on this day at this time did I connect with a lady who I had not seen, heard, or thought of in twenty years. And then it dawned on me—this was no coincidence!
I believe that the world is always sending us messages, prompts, advice, hints, or whatever we need to steer us in the direction of our heart’s desire.
Sometimes these maybe personal messages meant for you and sometimes they may be for another person. In this particular case I knew without a doubt that I had a wonderful insight to pass on to my husband.
How did I know this?
Life magazine was given to my husband; it wasn’t given to me. My husband has always had a passion for travel, he loves taking photos, and he has a talent for writing. If the movie wasn’t enough to convince me, then the interaction with the lady from Lismore whose son was studying photography at university was the fait accompli.
My husband has been struggling for many years to try and find some meaning and purpose in his life.
We have discussed this conundrum so many times and have always ended up with the same result. Just keep doing the job you are doing, be grateful that you have a job, be grateful for the other great things in your life and be hopeful that one day you will connect with what your soul’s intention is. Well that day came over Christmas!
The clues were loud and clear. Photography was what he needed to pursue. Put this together with travel and writing and bingo, there was his meaning and purpose.
When I revealed this to him it was as though a great weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He sat with it for a few days and let it wash over him. He reflected on what he used to love doing as a teenager; he remembered times when he was fully engaged and they all pointed to the camera.
He found photos of himself trekking in the Himalayas just like Walter Mitty had and it all made sense.
We agreed that it didn’t have to be a dramatic career change but just a step in the direction of following his heart and allowing himself to shine at something that spoke to his soul.
He now has a new camera, he is booked in to do some photography courses, and he is joyfully creating a life with meaning and purpose.
While I believe the universe sends us signs to help us grow and flourish, you could also see it it as your higher self—an inner knowing that helps you hear and follow your heart’s calling.
Even if you believe everything is random, you can benefit from listening to the moment instead of getting caught up in your own world. This world is usually the one that exists in your head between your ears.
When you get out of your head and start to live in the present a whole new world will unfold before your eyes.
If you are wondering how you can do this, here are some tips:
1. Consciously and deliberately be grateful for all of the wonderful things in your life.
If you are struggling to think of any, let me jog your memory; be grateful for the water that runs freely out of your tap, the lights that come on when you flick a switch, the freedom you have as you walk out your front door, the food that you have on your table, the bed that you have to sleep in, and the technology that you have to read this blog on.
By doing this, you bring your focus out of your head and to the present moment, where magical things happen all of the time.
2. Be mindful by concentrating fully and intently on the present moment without any form of judgment.
When you enter this space and let go of all thoughts about the past and all thoughts about the future, you are truly living in the moment. This moment in your life is all that is guaranteed. Enjoy it, embrace it, and practice it every day. By doing this, you will be creating the space for messages to enter your consciousness.
3. Have an open mind and don’t shut yourself off to anything.
I could have easily let all those “coincidences” pass without a second thought, but because I was open to new possibilities, I chose to listen. The result was such joy.
Become aware of how much you live and experience the world in your head. When you catch yourself thinking about the past or the future, bring your mind back to the present moment, breathe deeply, take in what is happening around you, check in with how you are feeling, be thankful, and keep your mind open.
You won’t know what your intuition is telling you unless you stop to truly listen. This is when life really happens!
Photo by Eddi van W.