Sarah, an employee at the café I frequent, told me she feels stuck in her current job. She feels this job, in this city, is merely a temporary limbo. She's been applying for and interviewing for other jobs for two years now but no opportunities or paths seem to emerge. She described feeling she's on moving sidewalk, window shopping store-fronts of her potential future, and though she can clearly see through the glass barriers, she never can find the door… And she keeps rolling past her own potential. I asked a few pointed questions, including "What stands out in your mind as significant from two years ago?" She quickly volunteered that two years ago she visited a life-long friend in Boston and fell totally in love with the city, the lifestyle she experienced there; she came back to Tennessee knowing Boston is where she would love to live. She understands manifestation -- she has a vision board with pictures of her time in Boston. She looks at it every day; she feels strongly that the life she wants is waiting for her there…
"So, why are you looking for jobs here, then?" I asked her. She's obviously set such a powerful and clear intention, creating a new life in a very specific physical location that is not here. She continues to search for opportunities in a city where she doesn't want them, and feels increasingly frustrated that she can't find them.
"So, why aren't you looking for jobs there?" She responds with a laundry list of everything she has to have in place before she can move.
Sarah tells me she's resigned to stay here until she has all her ducks in a row, and then she'll make the transition. First, she needs to make sure.
Her co-worker, Lily, came at me the very next day, depressed about an energetically similar situation -- she applied for a competitive design school in New York City; her portfolio was one of a few hundred accepted out of thousands, for a special summer preparatory program that will likely put her at the top of the list for full acceptance and scholarship into the school in the fall. She spent the last six months of her senior year finding a door into her dream school; she saved her money and paid for the summer school registration and tuition; she paid for a plane ticket; she also managed to put away enough extra money to live in a youth hostel for the first two weeks.
She's depressed because she doesn't think she can go. She says she's going to have to cancel.
"What?!" I almost jumped across the counter at her. I've coached and supported her for months, confident about what her spirit guides are whispering behind her, for one, but then I've also seen the incredible portfolio she has to back it up in the physical plane. "Why can't you go?"
Lily says she only has the money for a place to stay for the first two weeks of the course; she needs to find another student to share a room with, but no one will commit to sharing a place with her because she's halfway across the country and communicating entirely by email and phone. No one will rent her a room or agree to let her move in without meeting her in person.
"I need to have a place to stay before I go all the way up there," she says, miserably.
I suggested to her that if she goes there she has two full weeks to connect with other students, face-to-face, not to mention the school faculty to approach with her needs and say "Help me." I recall when I went away to college at eighteen, and the absolute magic of making friends my first few days there. I went from knowing no one to, twenty-four hours later, spending time in a long line at the university bookstore with a girl who became my roommate and ended up being one of my best friends for the next decade.
Lily is here this morning, pouring my coffee, and looking apologetic, embarrassed, and quite frankly, pitiful; she's not supposed to be here. Part of her soul is no doubt in New York City this week, in an alternate universe where she took a small additional leap of faith and made her dreams happen.
One of the hardest lessons for me, as a life coach and spiritual advisor, is learning how not to give on-the-spot readings for everyone I encounter who's looking for guidance. It's hard to locate that fine line between friends and clients -- sometimes, I truly don't know when the Universe is sending me someone to minister to or a new friend. You don't life-coach your friends; you don't do intuitive readings for family without their express wish and permission.
Sarah and Lily both know "who/what" I am, professionally. One is very conservative and religious; the other is discovering the agnostic spiritual path of the artist. I have learned, when I'm clearly being asked for advice but in doubt about which role I am meant to assume, to wrap my input in casual conversation. I find that when you start sentences with "Your spirit guides are telling you…" that's the only part of the message that makes it through. Many people hear that and their mind hits a pot hole, and the message itself falls on deaf ears and the shocked eyes that stand in front of a mind digging its way out of "... spirit guides...?"
Looking at the professional readings I gave the same week, the theme or pattern is undeniable.
I'm stuck at A and want to get to Z. As soon as I know what Steps C through Y are -- as soon as I make sure Steps C through Y are there for me -- I'll happily proceed to Step B. That's the responsible, logical, safe way to proceed.
Tori Amos has a lyric I love:
"You say we're waiting on Fate; but I say Fate is now waiting on us."
Making Belief But I don't believe in Fate or Predetermination and in my personal experience if I tried to make sure instead of making belief and making opportunity -- creating them… Well, I'd still be a drooling infant.
I don't believe Step C and Step D even exist until you pick up your foot and take Step B. And yes, it does feel like you could be stepping off a cliff sometimes; Faith is a greater factor than Fate will ever be...
In other words, the Universe you're waiting on is waiting on you. Tell me again, what are you waiting for?