Creativity, Meaningful Work, Spirituality

Letting my intuition be my compass in business

honest and authentic

This morning my intuition spoke to me, clearly.

It was unexpected, while I was doing something else, as is often the case.

I was making coffee and thinking about what I want to achieve today. I was thinking that I should write a blog post, that proper bloggers post regularly and share helpful things like ‘Five ways to ditch self-doubt’ and ‘How to get more energy in three simple steps’, and my inner creative self just shriveled up at the thought of it.

I hate the pressure I sometimes feel as a blogger. Don’t get me wrong – I love writing. It’s one of my main passions. I love putting words on the page and expressing my deepest feelings. Actually, most of my journaling is written. But I hate feeling like I should post, and like I should share something that is catchy, useful, inspiring, entertaining… because most of the time I don’t have things like this to share.

I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions about life coaches – that they have it all figured out – that’s why they are coaches. Not at all: coaches aren’t experts, and if you come across one who claims to be, please don’t give them your money. Coaches don’t have the answers – not for you. They have the tools to help you find your own answers inside.

And that’s one thing I am good at – listening to my own answers, from my own inner wisdom inside.

As I was making my coffee, I thought, I wish I could just blog like I write in my journal: tune into my intuition and let it flow, see what it has to say. Just as I trust my intuition to offer answers in my journal, I wish I could blog in much the same way.

And then my intuition spoke. It said: you can.

I’ve been longing for more authenticity in my work. I’ve been longing to be seen more, to share who I really am, to let my guard down.

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed about how I’m just one tiny voice in a massive sea of people all clamouring for attention, and feeling like I will never be heard. Every time I open my inbox there are another 15 emails from people launching a new course or product, asking for my money. I don’t want to be one of those people, but at the same time I want a flourishing business and I want to help people. I also need to, you know, buy food and stuff.

I recently read this fascinating article about how to make your business and brand stand out and it spoke to me:

As the face of your brand, you have an automatic advantage because you ARE inherently different. You bring to the table a unique perspective, a different set of life experiences, a distinctive personality. You are what makes your business and brand distinctive – and so by bringing more of YOU into your business and brand, standing out becomes second nature.

After doing some work in my journal I realised that what makes me, me – that is, what makes me unique – is my sensitivity. The reason is this: I have very strong feelings about things. I care a LOT about things, I am extremely passionate and opinionated, easily excited… but I seldom share this passion and excitement because I am (most of the time without even realising it) trying to construct a certain image. I’m trying not to offend people. I’m trying to remain palatable for everyone. But of course, this means I’m not really being my whole self.

While I’m busy trying to write blog posts that are catchy, my own voice is lost. I’m never going to be heard this way.

my truth

So when my intuition nudged me this morning to try writing from the soul, instead of writing what I think people want to hear, I was curious. This is the result: a piece of writing that is true and honest. Because, what’s the point if what I’m writing isn’t true to me?

This is how I want to blog: in the same way I journal. Show up, let my intuition speak, see what it has to say. Some days it might offer ‘three simple tips’ for something, other days it might ramble and make little sense.

But I am SO SICK of trying to fit into the online business world and be something I’m not. One of the main reasons I chose to grow my own business and work for myself is to work in a way that honours who I am – not to find another mold I need to try and fit into.

If I can’t be authentic in my own business, where can I be? If I can’t let my soul speak in my creative work, if I can’t just be myself in my online space and in the way I interact with others online, then what’s the point? I may as well go back to a more stable paycheque as a teacher!

Really I think this comes down to trust – trusting your intuition. Trusting what it has to share. This is all fine and good in your own journal, when no one else is going to read it, but what about in a blog post? What about online, in my business, where I’m supposed to be ‘professional’?

What if I really leaned into this?

What if I trusted my intuition to share worthwhile content and messages, not just for me in my journal, but here, on my blog, in my business, with others?

What if my intuition doesn’t just have something that is necessary for me to hear, but for others too?

What if I really let this be my compass in my work?

The advice we are given is that we have to find a way to stand out, that people are more distracted and busy than ever, that unless we write something catchy we won’t get their attention.

But what if I just write what my soul wants to share, regardless of whether or not it gets multiple pins? What if I trust that being authentic, speaking from the heart and sharing my truth is enough?

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Creativity, Spirituality

Depression, journaling and your soul

Depression and your soul

A friend of mine – who is also a coach and healer – recently said to me that depression is simply when we become disconnected from our soul.

My first response to this was to feel a little angry. As someone who has experienced depression on and off for nearly two decades and isn’t afraid to get help in the form of medication and therapy when necessary, I felt that comment was a little unfair.

I know I’m not alone in experiencing depression – I’ve watched family members and many friends experience it too, and I know all too well how painful it can be when we are in the midst of it.

I nodded along with her comment, unwilling to rock the boat. In my graduate diploma in psychology we looked at various causes for depression, primarily chemical and behavioural – but not once did ‘disconnection from soul’ come up. Unsurprising, really.

A few days of letting that comment sink in and I began to wonder – what if it could be true? Western Medicine has many chemical, mechanical, logical, scientific and rational explanations for depression (although there still exists debate within the scientific community around what causes depression). But what our Westernised culture fails to take into account is spiritual explanations.

In fact, our culture in general keeps the spiritual at a distance, because it can’t be ‘proven’.

And we are more depressed than ever. Could it be that connection with spirit – in whatever form – is the missing puzzle piece?

Here’s my experience: the more I listen to my soul, through journaling, meditation, being in nature and just turning inward more often that I turn outward, the less I experience depression. The more I act on what my soul guides me to do – that is, moving towards my purpose by sharing more of my true self with the world, expressing my creativity and letting go of what no longer serves me, the more I begin to forget what depression even felt like.

For me, this always starts in my journal. On the page I can let out all my worries, concerns, fears, hopes and dreams – and my soul responds with wisdom, guidance and support. I’ve been doing this steadily for two years now and I have never felt more on purpose, in alignment and Divinely supported in my life.

For two years I have not had a depressive episode and I attribute this to regularly connecting with my soul and letting it guide me in living my life ‘on purpose’.

I’m not saying that a disconnection from our soul is what causes depression – I’m no expert. Even the experts can’t agree on what causes it. I’ve also not ruled out other more conventional forms of treatment for depression – namely medication and therapy.

But of all the things I’ve done in the past, this feels like the ultimate remedy, for me at least: daily connection with my soul in my journal.

Meaningful Work, Spirituality

Owning my spiritual truth

I haven’t been entirely honest with you.

Or rather, there are some things I just don’t mention all that much.

You see, I’m a hippie. And I don’t just mean in a let’s-love-each-other-and-save-the-planet kind of way, although I definitely am that kind of hippie too.

No, I mean in the incense-burning, crystal-holding, oracle-card-pulling, dream-manifesting, inner-Divine-connecting, meditating, chakra-balancing, energy-clearing, past-life-regressing, kind of way. The ‘woo-woo’ kind of way.

I have sort of alluded to these things before. I’ve talked about my belief that we can connect to the Divine within us through journaling. I’ve mentioned manifesting and using oracle cards. But…

I’ve always kind of watered this side of myself down. I’m very aware that everyone has their own belief system, their own understanding of the truth. I don’t want to be someone who says that what I believe is the one truth, that my beliefs are the only right thing. Because I think it’s important that each and every one of us finds our own understanding of what rings true for us.

But in trying to please everyone, I’ve let myself down. I write a lot about the importance of vulnerability and being authentic, but I’ve not been fully walking my talk.

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A few of my favourite things

So here goes: I’m coming out of the spiritual closet, so to speak. I’m claiming what I know to be true for myself, I’m owning my own power. I’m no longer watering my message down in an attempt to please everyone, because I know that in doing that I am doing a disservice to those who really need to hear my message.

I don’t want to get lost in the noise of the internet because I’m only offering a luke-warm version of who I am. I want to set the world on fire with my message, with being 100% me – my weirdest and most wonderful self.

Because I believe there is so much more to this world than meets the eye. I believe we each have inner access to the Divine – we are not separate from it but part of it. We can access this inner Divine if we choose to tune into the whispers of our soul and tune out the ranting of our ego.

You might call the Divine something else, for example God, source, spirit, the universe – the language doesn’t matter. I believe we are not separate from it. In fact, most of the great spiritual teachers tell us that the Divine is within.

I believe that we each have a soul – the inner part of us connected to the Divine wisdom, above and beyond what we can logically comprehend. I believe this soul has been through many lifetimes before and will go through more after our body is gone.

And I believe that in connecting to our soul, we can find out our own unique purpose in this world, in this lifetime. That’s certainly what I’ve done, and I’ve seen others do it too. Unsurprisingly, I believe that journaling is one of the best ways to connect with our soul, but there are others – meditation, prayer, guided visualisation (another powerful tool I’ve been using a lot lately), to name a few.

I also believe that we can consciously manifest and create a life that brings us pure joy – if we know how. I always thought manifesting was little more than vision boards and affirmations, but I’ve since learned there’s a lot more to it. I’ve created a lot of wonderful things in my life in the past and with my new-found knowledge I’m excited to create more.

Because lately, I’ve been really diving deep. It’s funny how the universe sends us exactly what we need right when we need it. I’ve somehow stumbled across books, teachers, concepts, situations – you name it – designed to guide me further down my path. I’m letting go of what no longer serves me and committing wholeheartedly to the person I am meant to be and the purpose I am meant to serve in this world.

I believe I am Divinely guided in bringing this message forward (we all are, if we choose to allow ourselves to be).

And I’ve really clarified what the ‘wild’ in Journal Wild stands for: it’s our soul. It’s the wild within us, the part of us that is connected to the greater energy, to the Divine, to the power of the universe. When we tap into our inner wild – our soul – we realise our true power, our true purpose.

I hope I haven’t lost you in this post – it has simply poured out of my heart onto the page. From now on, I’m wearing my heart (or rather, my soul) on my sleeve. I’m being my most authentic self, sharing what I learn and what I know to be true. If my message doesn’t resonate with you, that’s fine. I wish you love and light nonetheless. And if it does resonate with you, I look forward to sharing more wild soul connections with you as I head further down this path.

Thank you for joining me.

Spirituality

How my word for the year chose me

It’s quite a popular thing to choose a guiding word for the year. I’ve done this for the past couple of years, but this year I decided not to choose a word.

Mostly I haven’t found choosing a word to be very helpful.

Now I wonder if that is because I was too much in my head. After letting go and deciding not to choose a word for 2016, a little word chose me: MAGIC.

Perhaps that sounds silly – and quite honestly, I don’t know if I would believe it really if it hadn’t happened to me. How does a word choose you? In my case, a few nudges from the universe and I realised I already had a guiding word, despite not wanting to choose one.

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I named the free course I created right at the end of 2015 the Magical 2016 Yearbook. I don’t know why – it just came to me and sounded quite cool. I honestly didn’t give it a lot of thought.

I named the course before I put most of the content together, but as I created each lesson I came to realise just how magical the process is – especially the visioning section. If you read lesson 8 you’ll see what I mean – the images I used in my own visioning and the things I managed to manifest last year just show you how magical it can be.

The day before new year’s eve I felt pulled to go to one of my favourite spiritual stores in the local town near our beach house (we went down to the beach house for summer – don’t forget I’m in New Zealand). When I got there I found a deck of oracle cards I’ve been wanting for ages and also came across another deck of oracle cards I’d never seen before (but which totally spoke to me). I grabbed both and headed home.

In truth, I don’t totally know how to use oracle cards. Sometimes if I’m feeling conflicted I might ask them for guidance. Other times I pull one for direction on a project. But otherwise they sit on my shelf as gorgeous little packages I don’t often touch.

But I took my two new packs of oracle cards back to the beach house and didn’t think much of it again.

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A couple of days later, I got up to watch the sunrise on new year’s day on the beach – I saw it as symbolic of starting the year afresh. It was quite windy and cloudy. I was tired after a late night of seeing in the new year, and I spent a good 10 minutes debating whether or not to even go down to the beach or just crawl back into bed. Eventually I pulled on my jacket and stepped out into the wind to greet the new year.

I found a spot on the sand and settled in. After sitting for a few moments, watching the world slowly wake up around me, I noticed a necklace hanging on a small wooden post nearby. It was a single piece of rose quartz on a black cord. Rose quartz has always been ‘my stone’ – it has always resonated with me, so much so that when my fiance proposed he got me a custom made engagement ring with rose quartz in the center.

At first when I noticed the necklace I was reluctant to take it, but my intuition told me it was ok. I felt like it was a gift to me, for the new year, from the universe. It was so odd – out of the whole beach, of all the places I could have chosen to sit down… there I sat, and there was the necklace. The beach was totally abandoned. I took the necklace and slipped it into my jacket pocket.

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When I got home, my conscience kept bugging me. What if someone was looking for the it? It wasn’t expensive by any means, but I didn’t want to take it from someone who cherished it. I pulled some oracle cards from one of my new decks for guidance and the answer was clear. The cards assured me that it was ok to trust my intuition and that the necklace was a gift for me. Later that day a violent storm began, which lasted for several days after. No one would have gone to the beach. I’m certain the necklace would have been lost in that time if I’d left it on the beach. It was meant for me to take on that windy morning.

It was a strange and magical start to the new year. I’ve worn the necklace everyday since and will continue to wear it for the year as a reminder to trust my intuition, and to accept the gifts offered to me from the universe.

Shortly after returning home from my little holiday, I received an email to let me know Susannah Conway is about to launch a new course called Daily Guidance. In this class she teaches how she uses oracle and tarot cards in her daily life. I took this as another sign from the universe and signed up right away.

Slowly the word ‘magic’ began to crystallize in my mind. As I settled into an afternoon of vision boarding for a new space above my desk, the word kept jumping out at me from magazines. I noticed posts about magic in my Facebook feed and I reflected on my finding the necklace on the beach in my journal. I didn’t want a guiding word for the year, but one seemed to be staring me right in the face: MAGIC.

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And so it is. Little nudges here and there from the universe to embrace magic in my life in 2016. In hindsight, there was some great magic for me in 2015, so now that I’m consciously opening to it and cultivating it I’m excited to see what 2016 will bring.

Have you chosen a guiding word for 2016, or has one chosen you? Share in the comments below.

Creativity, Spirituality

Journal prompts: Faith

I guess this could be a bit controversial, but I want to include it anyway.

For me personally, it has been absolutely essential that I have faith in something bigger than me.

It has taken me years to solidify what I believe, to make sense of all the different ideas floating around in my head and to put a label on my beliefs. Even now, I still don’t like the idea of putting something as big as this into one box, but it can make things easier.

I don’t intend to cover any and all things spiritual/religious in this post. Obviously, that is a major topic that goes far beyond what I can cover here. I simply want to share my journey.

I was raised in a secular household. lesson 24As I mentioned earlier, I have always felt a bit different from others, and have spent a lot of time looking for answers – everything from different religious practices to self-help books. Yes, I’m that person.

This lead me to try a variety of different religions on for size. I know that’s not exactly how religion works – you don’t just dabble until you find something you like. But I was experimenting to see what made the most sense for me.

For a while I tried Wicca, which, with its connection to nature and the belief that we can influence what happens to us, came pretty close to being just right for me. But it still felt like something was missing.

One of my best friends was a Christian, so I went to church with her and spent time reading passages from the Bible, learning about Christ. I’ve always been fascinated with religious art from the Renaissance and earlier periods, so I thought this could be it. But that didn’t quite fit either.

When I went through a period of deep depression I turned to Buddhism, which helped me to understand the nature of suffering and ways to detach from situations. Once again, though, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it didn’t quite click.

It was around this stage that The Secret was released, and I spent a lot of time learning about the law of attraction and the idea of creating our own reality. I also read a lot of Eckhart Tolle and Wayne Dyer around this time too.

One thing I loved about Wayne Dyer was the way he incorporated many spiritual beliefs into his teachings – he  quotes the Bible, refers to Buddha and others, as well as drawing on the idea that we do indeed create our own reality. So far, Wayne Dyer’s approach had been the one to most closely match mine: there are so many different spiritual practices and beliefs, all of which hold value.

Perhaps, I wondered, I didn’t have to choose. I do believe that every religion and spiritual practice holds wisdom for us. I started to see that there was something to learn from each and every one of these spiritual viewpoints.

imageThen I heard the term ‘New Thought’ from the wonderful Andrea Schroeder, and my world blew right open. Finally I had a term for the spiritual approach I had been taking for years. I still don’t fully feel comfortable describing myself as someone who is part of the New Thought movement, but it is the closest I have come to finding something ‘official’ to explain what I believe. I haven’t yet done enough research to say I believe in everything in the movement in its entirety.

Regardless, having a belief – no, having a knowing – that there is something bigger in this world than myself, something that looks out for me, has helped me through many difficult times. You may choose to disregard this, and that’s fine. But this has become essential to my well being.

When I talk about having faith in something bigger than ourselves, I think there is a universe of possibility here. You may choose to think about religion or spirituality, or you may be more scientific and facts-based. You may believe in things that aren’t as clearly defined. You may feel connected to something that you can’t easily name, or explain. That is fine. Whatever you choose to believe is fine – it is whatever matters to you.

So what do I believe? I believe that the Divine is in each and every one of us. I believe that one of the best ways to connect with the Divine is in nature. For me, spending time in nature is spending time with the Divine. I believe that everything happens for a reason, that I am guided ways that will help me to learn what I need and grow. I believe that I can control my own life and that I create my own reality. I also believe that what I think I want is not always what I need, and I trust that when things don’t go according to my plans it is because there is something bigger and better waiting for me that I couldn’t possibly imagine.

And I also believe that it is up to each and every one of us to decide what we want to believe, for ourselves.

>>> Prompt:

What do the words religion, spirituality and faith mean to you? Do they have positive or negative associations?

What do you believe? Take a blank page in your journal and head it up with ‘I believe…’ and write everything that comes to mind, big or small.

What don’t you believe? Sometimes it can be easier to figure out what we do believe by eliminating what we don’t believe in. Try the same exercise above, but using the heading ‘I don’t believe…’

What are you unsure about? What do you want to believe, but you’re not sure you can?

What has lead you to believe and not believe in the things that you do? Have you been raised that way? Have you had certain life experiences that have lead to that?

When do you feel most connected to the Divine? It might be in nature, at church, with other people who share your beliefs, when you perform on stage, when you write, when you paint – whatever most speaks to you. How can you bring more of this into your life?

Note: this post was originally part of a series of 30 life lessons and journal prompts for my 30th birthday. You can access the rest of the lessons and prompts here.

Creativity, Spirituality

Journal prompts: Create your own reality

This idea started to become popular after the release of The Secret, but some people have known it for years (see, for example, Napolean Hill, or the New Thought movement). And others think it’s nonsense.

But I have seen, time and again in my own life, that it is true.

Life isn’t a random series of events  that occur – we draw the events, situations and people to us with our own thoughts, words and actions – our energy.

I can’t fully explain the science behind it, but like attracts like. Everything in the universe is made from energy, including us. That means that we are part of everything else, and everything else is also a part of us.

lesson 10If we change our energy, we can attract more of the things with similar energy. I really like the way that Wayne Dyer explains it in his book, Manifest Your Destiny. This is a great article on the Law of Attraction too.

In case you think I’m getting all woo-woo on you, let me just state it as this: I believe that we are each responsible for our own lives. If we are not happy with how our lives are, then it is up to us to change them. If we work on changing our thoughts and beliefs, then our words and actions, eventually our lives will change too.

I think all too often people feel victims in their own lives and allow themselves to be powerless. Once we realise that we have control of our thoughts and actions, we realise we have control of our lives.

>>> Prompt:

To what extent do you feel in control of your life? Why?

In what ways can you see your thoughts, beliefs, words and actions shaping your life?

What thoughts, beliefs, words and actions are having a negative impact on your life? What, if anything, would you like to change?

What thoughts, beliefs, words and actions would you like to have from now on?

Note: this post was originally part of a series of 30 life lessons and journal prompts for my 30th birthday. You can access the rest of the lessons and prompts here.

Self Empowerment, Spirituality

How I deal with doubt

 

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Sometimes, for some reason, I’ve feel doubt about things in my life.

Not doubts about whether or not I want these things – in fact, I’ve never felt clearer about what I want – but doubts about whether the things I dream of are possible.

I go through periods of believing that anything is possible and that really, we can all have whatever we truly desire.

But then it feels like I spend too much time in the ‘real world’ focused on mundane, day-to-day tasks, and lose that lovely connection to whatever it is that helps me to believe.

What is it that allows me to feel so powerful, to believe that anything is possible?

God? The universe? My higher self? The divine? Some would argue these things are all one and the same.

Whatever it is, it’s like an almost magical part of myself that just knows anything is possible.

It’s not even believing – it’s a stronger sense of knowing.

And it’s a feeling too; a physical feeling in my body that there is so much more to this world than meets the eye, than we could possibly understand. A feeling of something greater that is looking out for each and every one of us, on our own paths.

When I start to experience doubt I know it’s because I’ve lost that sense of connection with the divine – with my highest and wisest self.

For me, doubt occurs when I’ve turned away from my spiritual side to my worldly side.

I know that doubt comes from a place of fear and scarcity. It is from a belief that something cannot happen, that there isn’t enough – whatever enough means: money, time, skills, talent, luck, beauty, love, energy.

This is just a faulty belief that is reinforced by our dominant culture of scarcity and fear. In choosing to turn away from this belief, I can turn back to the knowing I have within.

It sounds simple enough, and really it is. I do know, deep within me, that anything really is possible in this world. It’s a feeling that comes from my heart, or my soul, not my head. It’s when I spend too much time in my head, worrying about money or work, or feeling guilty for not tidying the house or angry about sitting in traffic, that this knowing starts to feel more like a distant memory, a silly dream I once had.

Simply put, I need to spend more time in the knowing and strengthen this connection to the wisdom of the universe.

I need to spend more time trusting, and less time worrying.

When I start to feel doubt creeping in, here are a few of the ways I regain my trust in the process:

Reading spiritual material

This won’t be for everyone, and that’s okay. I’m not a religious person, but I certainly believe there is more to life than we can comprehend. The more I read books that open my mind to the wonder and possibilities of the universe, the more I feel in alignment with my true self. You may choose to read The Bible, or a book about science, or consult a tarot or oracle deck, or refer to the zodiac, or delve into a piece from your favourite spiritual teacher (I love Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, Eckhart Tolle, The Dalai Lama and many others). I also like to watch documentaries and films that remind me of the wisdom of the universe – documentaries about space always make me feel part of a much larger whole. Whatever makes you feel that expansive feeling of being connected to something bigger. Document any ‘ah-ha’ moments in your journal.

Being in nature

To me, the divine and nature are inseparable. Each and every time I’m in the forest surrounded by trees, or on the beach staring out to sea, or staring up at the stars, I feel connected to something so much larger than me. I marvel at the universe – something so vast and powerful – and can’t help but feel that I too am part of the power. I remind myself that we are all made of stardust, and that really means anything is possible.

Surrounding myself with spiritual artifacts

These are things I keep around myself that, for some reason or other, remind me of the magic of this universe. They remind me that I’m connected to something much bigger than myself – something so much stronger than my fears and doubts. Some of these things include crystals, little Buddha statues, feathers, dreamcatchers, certain images, oracle cards, and shells.

Journaling

I believe journaling has so many different benefits, especially when dealing with doubt. It can allow us to mentally process things and rationalise faulty beliefs, but I think it has a deeper benefit than that. Journaling allows us to tap into our own source of inner wisdom. It allows us to get past the logical mind by dumping things out, then getting below the surface of that. The more I journal about my doubts, the more I continue to come to the conclusion that they are just fear in disguise and the stronger and more faithful I feel. Why does journaling work to dispel doubt? Because we connect to our wisest selves and to the divine on the page.

Yoga and meditation

I’m going to come right out and say I don’t meditate. I want to; I love the idea of it, and it’s supposed to be amazing, but I guess I just haven’t gotten around to it. I like to think that one day it will be part of my daily routine. For now, I use yoga in a similar way. When I’m on the yoga mat (or, in truth, my living room carpet) I slow right down. I feel parts of my body I had forgotten were there. My body feels a sense of relaxation and my mind is at peace. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that yoga is so strongly associated with many spiritual traditions. It allows me to once again feel that connection beyond myself.

Visiting museums and galleries

When I see the artworks and artifacts that other people have created, when I witness the traces of our history and the people that came before, I can’t help but realise that life is magical. I am reminded that I am not alone, that I am part of a large group of people who came before me, people who dared to dream. I am also reminded of the transient nature of life and how important it is to give it all I’ve got, right now.

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I know that doubt is a natural part of life and the creative process. I know it will never fully go away, and I guess I don’t really want it to.

Each and every time doubt visits, I am reminded of the importance of my connection to the divine and to my true self. I am reminded to trust in the wisdom of the universe.