Wednesday, September 27, 2017

When The Universe Moves

A more personal note, if I may … Yesterday, I sold the mountain property I have been occupying in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. This mountain place served as my primary residence for the past ten years. Concurrently, and more importantly, the virtually untouched property was developed to be a spiritual sanctuary where individual retreatants could find a place of beauty, views, solitude, and spiritual comfort to pursue whatever was their personal spiritual need in that moment. The mountain proved highly successful in both aspects.

There are some things we choose to do. There are other things – typically fewer but more substantive – that we are called upon to do. This mountain sanctuary was a calling. When we are truly called to take some new step in our life – be it short-term or long-term – we are also assured that the sly hand of the Universe is shaping the direction, the process, and the intended outcomes of all that are involved. So it was with this mountain property.

Many of us know what incidences of a Universe intervention look like. An unexpected and unique idea suddenly presents itself “out of left field.” A person makes a seemingly innocent remark that somehow alerts our attention. The specific person or resource needed shows up at the exact time required. Fast-moving events seem overwhelming, simply carrying us along in a boat driven by Life’s rapids. Undeniable “coincidences” abound. The door to what would prove to be a wrong direction closes; the door to clarity opens widely to guide the path. What many believe could not occur is in fact happening, piece by piece. A heretofore mental vision gradually emerges into realization and actualization. “The stories one could tell” accumulate. So it was with this mountain property.

The key to effecting these life events is developing the sensitivity and mental sight that recognizes when we are in these moments. With that recognition comes the need to surrender one’s self to the Universe’s lead. We set our ego aside, defer our usual need to be “in control” of our life, and hand the reins over to something intent on taking us to somewhere we cannot fully see – revealed (if at all) only in gray shadows. Once that movement starts, it is then about our staying out of the way, wrapping ourselves in patience. We discern when to step in and do our piece, versus when to hang back and let other forces do their pieces. We keep our balance steady, for the path is alternately rocky and squishy. We accept that these experiences are not designed for our comfort. Quite the contrary, they are typically intended to shock us out of our comfortable equilibrium, and place our illusions and fears right in front of us. It is an intended challenge to our beliefs, our lessons learned, our arrogance, our confidence, and our skills. These moments often feel like they are happening quickly and joltingly – almost spur-of-the-moment. But in subsequent post-event reflection, we realize that they in fact developed over time through a series of connected steps. As this process proceeds, we watch it unfold with a combination of amusement, fascination, and awe.

These are not journeys for the faint of heart. These are journeys designed to move us from where we are to where we need to be in the judgment of the Universe. A place we would likely not see or select for ourselves, but a journey and a place capable of teaching us much. By definition, we only learn by replacing an existing thought with a new thought, even as we may cling to prior beliefs. We only experience by putting ourselves in a different place and/or circumstance; endless repetition leaves us stagnating in a timeframe long gone. Separating ourselves from where we have been and what we know, relinquishing the comfortable routine of familiarity, can be difficult if not highly painful. Removing an anchor that has been a central focus for 22 years can certainly leave one adrift in the moment. But this is the true journey of our life, fueled by knowing that it is all intended and purposeful.

A combination of factors and messages have conspired to tell me it is time to now leave this mountain place. The sale closing was exactly 16 years to the day from when I purchased the property – a nice bookending coda provided by the Universe. It has been a place surrounded by amazing people doing meaningful things that have resulted in very special friendships. After years of living the city life, in these economically poor but culturally rich Appalachian mountains I found a re-grounding in basic human fundamentals, and a deep sense of place. I leave simultaneously apprehensive and confident, grieving yet celebrating, remembering yet imagining, glancing backward yet looking forward, with appreciation for what has been and anticipation for what will be.

At the beginning of this latest of the many transitions in my life, I reminded the Universe that it had guided me into this special place I have been fortunate to occupy and share for a time. Now it needed to guide me back out again. So it has, in its own creative, exhausting, and deliberate way, creating even more new stories to be told. This transition has also taught me another important new lesson: the Universe does not play unilateral favorites. Every Universe intervention draws in other assisting colleagues – who may or may not be aware of their contributing role. The driving good that is intended for us must also create good for each of these contributors – not be at their expense. Therefore the processes and outcomes followed must accommodate all. We need to be supportive of this multi-targeted effort for others as much as what is intended for ourselves.

Every intervention by the Universe is simultaneously a closing and an opening, an ending and a beginning. Whether the next phase of my life is but a short step or another 20-year journey, I do not know. The Universe will answer that as it moves me from an old ending to a new beginning.

©  2017   Randy Bell