Starting Inspirational Fires

This is the blog post that almost wasn’t. And it is one of those twisty, turny journeys that needs a bit of backstory to make sense. Bear with me.

In July of this year, I felt drawn to create what I dubbed Inspiration Starters. Read about those HERE. I wrote creative ideas, with the intention of challenging myself, on 32 slips of paper and dropped them into a container. I randomly selected one of those Inspiration Starters a few days later. And then, totally forgot about them, as in, they passed from time and memory. Until this past week. Decorating for Christmas I opened the ceramic jar and thought, oh yeah!

I had 31 slips of paper left. December, with its 31 days, was about to begin. I decided what a great way to finish this Year of Inspiration, this time of living with a focus on creativity and treating others with kindness. I could draw a slip of paper each day, beginning December 1.

I was excited to draw the first folded slip today. When I played a similar game last year I was amazed by the synchronicities, the Divine guidance, the remarkable alignment of perfect conditions that appeared around each of those slips of paper. Drawing them randomly takes me out of the equation and opens my heart, spirit and creativity to a power greater than me.

What would I select? Honestly, I had created the Inspiration Starters five months ago. I had forgotten all that I came up with, which was good. I could be surprised.

I drew:

My first thought was, Well…even though this is Friday, and this Inspiration appears perfect, it won’t work this weekend. I have an out of town family birthday party tomorrow and an open house Sunday. There would be no get away this weekend.

My second thought was, This one is a miss. The timing was off. And, there was more to it than that.

I have been thinking much about a weekend get away lately, just me and a journal and a pen. As this year winds down, I feel drawn to go off by myself and think and dream and plan, a releasing of 2017 and an anticipation of 2018. I want time to commune with the Divine and meditate and go within. With that desire in mind, I asked the Divine to arrange the get away weekend, guiding me to the right place, at the right time, by way of signs, symbols and synchronicities.

To make it an even more fun and challenging quest, I asked EL-LE (my personal name for God, pronounced like the letter L), for a very specific sign. I would know it was all EL-LE’s doing in two ways: The weekend away, alone, would cost me nothing, or very little, allowing me to be open to all kinds of opportunities beyond simply staying in a hotel somewhere. And, I would know which place was the right one because it would have a particular symbol attached to it, that is significant to me.

Drawing that slip of paper today threw me. Nothing appeared to be in place for the weekend get away. It did indeed seem to be a miss, timing wise. I decided to keep a weekend away in mind during this month, and just see what unfolded. I left the slip of paper on my writing table in my studio.

I’ve had other things going on today. I’ve been busy and didn’t dwell on that Inspiration Starter. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about this evening but I trusted the right thing would come along at the right time.

It did. And it connected back to the weekend get away paper that I drew.

As I was finishing my last task for the day, I was offered an amazing, and surprising, gift. This person, who wishes to remain unnamed, did not know that I have been asking EL-LE for a weekend away, or that I had drawn that slip of paper earlier in the day. I was gifted with a check, for a generous amount, and instructed to get away for a weekend, to have some time alone. I was told that the thought suddenly came to my gracious benefactor late today, seemingly out of the blue, accompanied by the urge to give me this gift.

I am undone. I am so grateful. A miss? No. The slip of paper I drew earlier was a wink from the Divine, a hint that it is almost time for that weekend get away I have been longing for. And as I hoped, as I trusted, all is being arranged.

I am looking at the end of the month for my special weekend. Or perhaps the first week in January. I have no doubts that I will know which weekend is perfect, and where to stay. I am being guided. I am involved in an ongoing conversation, an intimate dance, with the Divine.

The December creative game is underway. This must be why I completed my Christmas decorating early this season. I needed to be free. Something bigger is unfolding. I am going to finish out this incredible year by starting 31 fires that will ignite my passion, creativity and imagination. I am setting my heart aflame.

Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright

The focus of today, and indeed, of much of the last couple of months, has been real estate. Summer is a busy time for realtors. Families move while kids are out of school. Out of town buyers come in to look at properties while they are on vacation. Continued low interest rates make it a great time to buy. And low inventory, creating competition for housing, makes it a great seller’s market as well.

Into every realtor’s life comes challenges that pop up during a transaction. It’s my job to handle each issue as it arises, in a manner that is satisfactory to all parties concerned, which typically includes my clients, another realtor, their clients, and various affiliates.

Such was the case with a transaction that was scheduled to close today. There were a few bumps as my clients and I journeyed toward closing. Those were dealt with and we kept moving forward. However, late yesterday, on the eve of closing, one of those bumps quickly grew to become a wall that appeared to be immovable. It was the kind of grave situation that left the other realtor and I standing together saying, initially, “I’m not sure…I’m not sure how to handle this.”

This is not the story of what went wrong. This is the story of what went right.

What I am incredibly proud to say is, that after a time of shock and understandable reactions, everyone came together and talked…and talked…and brainstormed about how to proceed. My clients were open and gracious. The other clients were open and gracious. Both compromised to reach an agreement.

The agent on the other side of the transaction stepped up and waded in, putting in long hours and going above and beyond without a word of complaint. I did the same.

And this is where my attitudes and thoughts about being a realtor have shifted dramatically these last few years…I do all I can to take care of my clients in a conscientious way, and stay open and in communication with the other realtor and all parties involved. And then I open to the Divine and ask for guidance. I ask for grace and compassion and love and kindness to surround each person involved and all situations. I ask for angels to surround us all. I listen for and look for inspirational nudges and Divine messages. I express gratitude each step of the way as I act on what I am given. What I have stopped doing is worrying, fretting, struggling, resisting and coercing.

This morning I met my clients at the title company at 6:15 am, thanks to an extremely accommodating closer. We closed our sides of two separate transactions. The sun was just coming up as the final documents were signed. They went on to work and I went to my office. As I drove to Keller Williams, during the dawning of a new day, I expressed deep thanks to the Divine, whom I call El-le. El-Hebrew word for God, elle-French word for she…both pronounced “ell” and together reminding me that the Divine is neither male nor female and yet encompasses both male and female.

I was grateful that we had made it this far, grateful that people came together to find a solution. Was it perfect? No…everyone involved sacrificed something. And yes…because nothing happens by accident. For myself, there were lessons to learn and opportunities for growth. Trust has been a big lesson for me the last few years. This experience was the next exercise in trusting that all is unfolding exactly as it should, even if I can’t see what’s around the corner or explain all the whys about what is happening.

I was very aware that even though my clients had closed their sides, things could still go wrong. However, I chose not to focus on that. I chose to trust. I chose to let everyone else do their jobs. I chose to express gratitude, aloud in an empty car.

As I walked into the office a little after 7:00, I felt settled and centered and at peace. We have background music that plays in the office during the day. Perhaps it plays all night too. As I walked down the hall, the song playing literally overhead suddenly caught my attention. Bob Marley was singing out, at that precise moment…

Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright. Rise up this mornin’, Smiled with the risin’ sun, Three little birds, Pitch by my doorstep, Singin’ sweet songs, Of melodies pure and true, Sayin’, (this is my message to you),

Singin’ Don’t worry ’bout a thing, ’cause every little thing gonna be alright.

I stopped to listen, amazed. I laughed. I teared up. Oh sure, it was Bob Marley’s voice but it was El-le speaking…Don’t worry. Every little thing gonna be alright.

The Divine didn’t say it was going to be easy or simple or without challenges. It is big stuff, to all of us working through it, yet in the end, three sets of clients will have ended up with what they ultimately wanted…new homes, fresh starts, stories to tell. I can only speak for myself, but for me this time also includes lessons about trust, growth, gratitude, higher awareness, intuition and deeper faith.

I’ve been singing the words all day. Every little thing gonna be alright. And so it has been and so it is and so it shall be.

Journey 7: Off the Beaten Path

Today’s surrender, at first, seemed so small, so insignificant, that I wasn’t going to write about it. But the relatively minor incident has stayed with me all afternoon and evening, returning to me again and again, until I spent time unpacking the experience, to see what was there for me. 

 

I traveled with Greg to a community near Kansas City today, so that he can spend time with a cousin painting house interiors. We enjoyed a quick lunch together and then I headed back to Joplin, driving alone. The weather wasn’t the best, with rain that bordered on wintry mix up near KC, and low visibility, but I knew I was fine. 

I declared the drive home an adventure and I felt total peace as I drove, listening to The Hobbit soundtrack on low volume, taking my time and using caution. 

The temperature grew warmer as I drove south and the rain became intermittent and then stopped completely as I reached Ft. Scott, KS. I had an hour to go and I felt the exhilaration that comes from entering the homestretch. 

  
And then I had a funny thing happen. I was still driving with my iPhone’s map feature on, which includes GPS and Siri’s delightful voice giving me instructions. Even though I was back in familiar territory as I approached Pittsburg, I had left the GPS on because I like the heads up warnings about upcoming turns and the handy little ETA feature. 

Suddenly Siri told me to turn left as I approached an intersection. I knew that wasn’t right. I should go straight, and circle around Pittsburg, before turning east toward Joplin. Siri insisted left and I had to make a decision…go the way I thought…or trust what I was told and go a different route. 

I’m not that familiar with the back roads around Pittsburg. I was currently traveling on a major highway. Straight ahead or left? The known or unknown? 

 

I chose to turn left and go toward the unknown. After all, I am surrendering to the flow of life. I’m open to new experiences. How much more guidance can I ask for than a voice audibly telling me “Turn left”? I traveled down narrow two lane back roads. I saw farms and fields. And very few cars. I knew I was heading in the right general direction. I trusted. 

And yet…I wondered where I was. I wondered why Siri thought this was the best route to take. I wondered if I had mistakenly entered the wrong destination into my phone’s map. I kept going. I kept relaxing and bringing myself back into trust, and into the flow. 

In 15 minutes I turned left again and knew exactly where I was. I had completely bypassed Pittsburg. I was a few miles from the Missouri state line. Thirty minutes later, I was home. 

As I further explored that amusing experience I had these thoughts:

* This is what being in the flow is all about…heading into the unknown with trust that I will be taken exactly where I need to go. 

* I make the decision whether I will heed the guidance I am given, or retain a semblance of control. 

* Adventures often happen off the beaten path. Life lessons certainly do. 

* I don’t have to know the whys, as I surrender to the flow. I’m still not sure why Siri diverted me off of the main route. I’ll never know. I may have avoided an accident. The way Siri took me may have been faster. 

* Life offered me a chance to walk my talk. I want to be faithful, even in the seemingly small matters. 

I’m grateful for the experience of not knowing where I was or where I would end up…and for trusting that as I surrendered, all would be well. I’m glad I turned left.