I had grown accustomed to my nomadic life, having lived in various environments and enjoyed a few relationships along the way. The between-relationship periods were becoming more enjoyable and less lonely as the years ticked by. I was relaxing increasingly more assuredly into my ever strengthening faith in the reality of divine providence. It was becoming harder to deny that a greater force was at work in my life. There was no other way to account for all the “coincidences” that had already occurred in my very adventurous journey thus far.
I discovered many spiritual truths during this sabbatical from work, but two inner messages and the subsequent unfolding of events stand out for me as being particularly worth sharing.
One day as I lay on the carpet of my living room, I was thinking of the men who had graced my presence and taught me so much, and I felt a surge of gratitude. I was feeling emotionally stable and ready for another chapter to unfold in that area of my life. Lying there on the floor, I asked myself what sort of relationship I would like to experience next. Just as quickly as I had asked, I received an answer: I would be getting involved with someone I already knew. Now, this answer wasn’t experienced like a jolt of energy. I didn’t hear a voice from outside of me. The answer came in the form of me simply talking to myself, the way I often talk to myself. But, as this answer came as what seemed like a regular thought, the feeling that followed it was the feeling that is was right. I felt myself say ah, yes. In that moment my mind was clear and I felt an excited but peaceful certainty radiating in my chest and abdomen. This calm clarity, however, was quickly followed by another question which began a movement away from the peaceful center: who are the single and available men you know? At this point, I enumerate a mental list, which was painfully short. In my mind’s eye I visited each of these men, but got a clear inner NO on every one of them. I stood up from the floor, shrugged off these thoughts and moved onto something else.
The second noteworthy message I received during my time there at Jacksonville Beach came to me on another day while I was sitting on my couch looking out the window. I had been deep in contemplation about living life more authentically than I had dared to up to that point and was feeling the sting of pain at the thought of returning to nursing. I reminded myself I had a pretty large sum of student loan debt from ages before that still needed paying off. I also reminded myself of the fact that a life of working an unfulfilling job just to pay bills is a dreadful life. Then I thought, well, what sort of job in nursing would be ideal, given your preferences and aversions regarding these things? (I wasn’t yet able to get my mind out of the box of nursing) Then the answer came. It came as the previous answer had come regarding the relationship topic. The answer was: I would like to be able to come and go from home. I imagine being called out to see patients who are in need of a nursing visit. I want to work only a few short hours per week but still get paid like a full-time RN. My services would be highly appreciated, thus warranting the high pay-per-hour. I also considered that it would be an additional satisfaction if alongside this dynamic of working and paying off loans I might become engaged in a project during off-work hours that would truly benefit someone else, a project like no other volunteer stuff I had done in the past. Something clearly meaningful for someone else. Something that would have a measurably positive affect on another person’s life. I sat for about a minute, imagining how nice it would be to be able to continue reading and contemplating as I had been doing over the past months, only leaving the comfort of home occasionally to make a patient visit or to engage in a deeply meaningful volunteer-type activity.
After that minute of entertainment, another voice, a derisive one, spoke in my head. It said, “Yeah sure, as if there IS such a job out there! And even if there were, why would YOU get it?! You’ve been out of work for many months now! You’ll be lucky to get anything at all! Don’t be an idiot!” These thoughts were followed by images of a restricted life, working hated night hours in places like nursing homes. The emotions were disappointment, sadness, and fear. The sensations in my body were shallow breathing and constrictions in my chest and abdomen.
As quickly as I had had the fantasy, I had abandoned it. And I didn’t think of it again.
Fast forward a couple of months. I had just presented a class at the local Unity Church on the metaphysics of A Course in Miracles. Thoughts of an ideal job or a relationship with a man I already knew were no longer anywhere in my mind. I was exploring nursing possibilities in areas close by, and remaining “realistic” about it. Nothing was turning up. I decided to make a trip to Naples, Florida, to attend a workshop led by very inspiring mystic named David Hoffmeister. The woman who was hosting him at her house invited me to stay that night at her house, too. The next morning while the three of us were sharing breakfast, David invited me to come and stay for a month as a volunteer at his retreat center in rural Utah.
This was a very exciting proposition! My mind and heart were shouting YES!
Over the next few weeks I struggled to make up my mind, weighing all the practical considerations (mainly financial) against what my heart was deeply wanting. I finally decided to take the leap and accept David’s offer to go to his Utah retreat. My lease was up at my apartment at the end of July. I paid that last month’s rent, got rid of everything but what would fit into my car, cleaned the apartment until it sparkled, and headed west for my next adventure.
While I was doing some inner forgiveness work at David’s Utah retreat center, the thought occurred to me to contact a man I had been in relationship with years earlier. I had met him in Salt Lake City in 2005 while attending a nursing convention, and after graduating from nursing school in NYC, I came back to SLC to be with him and explore the shared potential. Well, things didn’t work out. In fact, they ended so badly that I fled and vowed to never be in contact with him again. Reminiscing about this painful episode, I contacted him via email to see if he would be available to chat. I wanted to visit with him, perhaps over lunch, and share my thoughts and feelings, hear his thoughts and feelings, and hopefully heal an old wound.
Long story short: I ended up falling in love with him, getting married, and engaging in the very important project of helping him get a green card.
And as for the next nursing job: I joined a nursing employment agency and accepted a few work assignments here and there while keeping my ears open for the possibility of finding a good-fitting position. I accepted assignments only as they felt right and said no when they didn’t. This seemed at the time like risky behavior, since the agency people were not exactly pleased at all by my rejections of many of their offers. But, the resulting design of events placed me on the path of meeting a nurse who knew of a position and gave me the manager’s number. I showed up for an interview for what was to be a part-time, as-needed nursing position, but was told that just the day before one of their full-time nurses had resigned and the manager was wondering if I’d be interested in accepting that re-opened position. The job description included visiting patients around the city as the need arose, and doing so by using my home as my base. I would come and go from my home, making infrequent but highly important visits. The hours would be very part time, but I’d receive full-time pay and benefits. Was I interested?
I accepted the job.
How does one explain this sequence of fulfilled wishes? In neither example did I work toward the goal. I simply had the stirrings of thoughts and feelings that emerge from the wellspring of desire and then I let them go. The universe orchestrated the rest, sending me in a direction that was ultimately toward the realization of these desires, but without me having even the tiniest idea that that was what was happening. I thought I was just going to a retreat located in Utah. I had no plans as to what to do after that. I obviously didn’t need any.
Some people might conclude that manifestation—in the spirit of Law of Attraction—was at work, that the desires were the things themselves put forward in embryonic form, and that I was participating in a manifestation process without being aware of it. Others might tend toward the idea that I was having premonitions about the future and there was some sort of psychic prophesying going on as I was having those earlier thoughts and feelings about what I wanted.
But maybe the either/or dichotomy is just a reflection of the limitation of our binary-thinking minds. Maybe manifestation and premonitions of the future are not separate poles as we tend to think they are.