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The free monthly email readings were first offered from April 2016, and were only intended to continue to the end of the year. I've decided to extend this until December 2017, as it's been fun to offer a free reading each month, and feedback from the winners suggests that many others have been enjoying this too!
So for your chance to win a free email reading in 2017, please send me your name and complete the sentence: “I would love to win a free email reading (one question only) because ...”
A new winner will be chosen each month using an online random selection tool. If you have already entered your name for 2016, then there's no need to send me another email as your name will be kept on the list for next year.
This time last year, my aim for 2016 was to trust and act on my intuition as often as possible, not just when it suited me or when it made sense. I wanted to resist challenges less and to go with the flow more.
Ironically, after setting the intention to embrace any and all intuitive guidance, my own resistance and fear about this was highlighted, and it became obvious that there were several areas of my life where I was not open or trusting. Far from going with the flow, I felt like I was struggling and fighting.
I'm actually grateful for the confusion and pain (both emotional and physical) I experienced this year because it became obvious that the things I struggled with the most were the things I was trying so hard to control the most, and in the end I felt I had no other choice but to surrender.
I chose to surrender my lack of trust, problems and pain, and have been pleasantly surprised at how much easier life has been since then. While I'm sure life will continue to have its ups and downs for me, as it does for everyone, I believe that the process of surrender will allow me to cope better with challenges in future.
One of the biggest lessons I've learnt this year has to do with timing, patience, and surrendering when I don't know what to do next. Too often I've wanted to make a decision about something, been frustrated with my inability to decide, and tried various techniques to help me make the 'right' decision as soon as possible.
From my experience, the best way to make decisions is to allow myself to be guided and to trust my intuition. However, as I mentioned in a previous update this year, sometimes that guidance and intuition doesn't seem very clear, especially if there's a lot of stress around that decision or with life generally.
When my intuition is strong, I feel it as a sense of knowing, and I have often tried to push for that sense of knowing at times when it isn't there. But I realise now that if I don't know, then it doesn't serve me to try and force it or to rush and make a decision quickly.
I've come to the conclusion that if I don't know what to do next, then it means that it's not yet time to decide, or that the decision doesn't actually matter in the grand scheme of things. There have been a number of occasions lately when waiting to decide has really paid off for me and for friends as well, for example an opportunity has popped up that would have been missed if we'd rushed into something else. I'm more trusting now that if I ask for guidance, then that guidance will come when the time is right.
In late 2015, during an adventure tour in Laos, I had the opportunity to travel by boat into a dark cave filled with amazing rock formations on the inside. It was so dark that we needed torch lights to see ahead of us, but the man driving the boat appeared relaxed, and despite the lack of light and the speed of the boat, he made his way through the cave with ease. I was filled with awe and for some reason thought it would be a good time to ponder on the topic of life purpose. I silently said something along the lines of, 'if there's a God or a higher power and you can hear me, please tell me what my purpose is, and how I can best live my life'.
The answer that came to me was, 'let me be your tour guide', which sounded a little silly at first, but I recognised it as an invitation to surrender – to go with the flow under the guidance of a higher power or wiser force that knows the path ahead (including its pitfalls as well its beautiful scenery, even in the dark) a lot better than I do.
Looking back, I don't know why I resisted the idea so much. After all, the very experience I was having and enjoying at the time would just not have been possible without an actual tour guide. Knowing that I was in the care of experienced, friendly tour guides who knew the local area, people, and customs well meant that I didn't have to worry much, if at all, about where to go or what to do.
As far as life purpose goes, maybe it's not so bad to aim to be a clear conscious channel and follow that special 'tour guide' – whether you call it God, a higher power, creative force, universe, your higher self, your heart, intuition, or all of those things. Many people don't believe in a God or a responsive Universe, and I was certainly never raised to believe in God either. But I think there are just as many people out there who believe that such a higher power does exist, and for the sake of simplicity, I'll refer to that power as God for the rest of the article.
One of the biggest issues I've had with surrendering my plans, dreams, and life generally is that I figure that if there is a God, surely he/she would want me to think for myself as well as use the skills and abilities I have to create what I want, rather than be a mindless puppet or vehicle for his/her energy. To say “I want whatever you give me and I'll do whatever you tell me to do” could be argued as being kind of lazy.
If we use Christmas or another gift-giving occasion as an example, there's nothing worse than shopping for someone who says, “I don't care what you get me, I have no preferences”. The clearer someone's wishes are, the easier it is to get them a gift they'll love.
On the other hand, I think we often assume that we know what we really want, or what the perfect solution is for a certain problem, but what if we don't actually know what's right for us at a particular point in time, or what will make us happy in future?
If we go back to the gift-giving example, let's say there's a little boy whose hero is Batman. He asks his parents to give him a full-sized Batmobile for Christmas. He is sure that the Batmobile is what he wants. But his parents know their son well, and know that what he's actually after is the experience of being like Batman – he just wants to play in that role and believes the only way to do that is to have a Batmobile. They give him a Batman costume for Christmas and the little boy is ecstatic. Even if his parents had been able to find and purchase a vehicle resembling a full-sized Batmobile, their little son wouldn't be able to drive or have much fun in it. They knew that a Batman costume would actually bring a lot of joy to their son, even though it's something he hadn't even considered.
Instead of asking for a specific 'toy' (or other thing, relationship, or solution), it's probably better for us to be clear about the actual experience we want. How God delivers that to us can be like a surprise gift.
I've heard people say that they're hesitant to pray in case they get what they want at the expense of something else; for example, “What if I pray to recover from my illness, and then I get hit by a bus?” But you can always be honest about the experience you want, and then finish off your prayer with: “May this or something even better now occur for the highest good of everyone concerned” (I think I might have first seen that quote, or something similar, in Louise Hay's book 'You Can Heal Your Life', but I've heard many other people recommend using those words to end a prayer or intention since then). Trust that if there is a God who has your best interests at heart, then surrendering isn't going to do any harm, and in fact might bring you more happiness than you ever expected.
For 2017, I don't have a lot of goals other than to continue this process of surrendering (including surrendering the need to control and to figure things out too soon). If I'm guided to do something, then I'll do it. If I feel guided not to, then I won't. And if I don't feel it strongly either way, then I'll accept that either it's not time to decide or it doesn't matter, and I'll go with whatever is most likely to make me happy in the moment. It's not always easy to give up my own agenda, but ultimately the process of surrender seems to work.
Wishing you all the best for the new year, and may many happy surprises come your way!
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