Can a utility van change your life? I think one just did.
(Here's the backstory.)
About a year ago, I was lost in struggle. On the surface, everything was going fine, good even. I just didn't feel good. I felt frustrated. I lost my temper with my kids and worried about little things. Oh, and I felt so much pressure to fix it all. It was exhausting.
In a moment of exasperation, I stood at my kitchen counter, gripping it as if I couldn’t hold myself up any longer, and said out loud, "Universe, spirit guides, whoever, this is me officially asking for guidance."
I chose a pink car as a sign that something or someone was listening.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d surrendered. It was completely foreign to me.
Surrender's been a hard concept. For a long time, I placed most of my worth on discipline and hard work. If I wanted something, I figured out how to make it happen, followed my plan, and succeeded.
Make a plan, follow it, succeed. It was a foolproof formula until it stopped working. I'm certain this had everything to do with the struggle I felt.
Since that day, I’ve spotted pink cars everywhere. They show up in my dreams, my neighborhood, parking lots, and intersections. There's one particular pink utility van that has a special meaning to me. I've seen that van in moments of complete hope and complete doubt. Every time, I smile and think, “There's my van. All is well.”
Still, for all the connection I've felt, the little voice of doubt creeps back in. Even on my most peaceful days, the part of me seeking freedom and faith also wants to keep at least one foot planted firmly in control. If I say the right words and let go just enough, things will go according to plan.
Here's what happened just this morning that's changed everything, and this is me making a declaration that I want to remember it:
During my morning commute, that pink van turned into the lane just ahead of me. I smiled at this wink from the Universe as it wove through the traffic out of my sight. A few minutes later, traffic came to a standstill, and I found myself directly behind the van. I saw flashing lights ahead and expected that this might be awhile. A little thought popped in my head then, quiet but clear as anything, "This was no coincidence. That van has a message for you."
That's when I really looked at the van. For the first time, I noticed the bright white letters across the back: Rite Way.
I must have seen that van a hundred times in the last year, and I've known it belonged to the Rite Way company. But never once had I actually read the words.
Rite Way. Message received.
All this time, I've wanted to have more trust, but I've felt too afraid.
I've envisioned so many versions of the "right" way over the years, all of them limited. All of them dampened by that fear. No matter what's happening in my life, no matter how good it is, a little piece of me says, "It's still not enough, it would have been better if..." and I can't see that I've got a really good thing going.
I used to beat myself up about this, but now I know it’s no one’s fault. Fear can't see things any more clearly than I can. All the beliefs I have about how things should work are as limited as my view of the universe. Did you know that even a full moon can overpower the milky way? The night sky and the big, beautiful moon I associate with hope and magic and new beginnings, even that isn't the whole picture. So, it makes sense that even our biggest, most delicious desires, as beautiful and authentic as they may be, aren't the whole picture either.
"I've been going the right way all along, haven't I?" I said to the van.
I felt tremendous liberation with this realization, and yes, a little fear.
Surrender’s scary. It means acknowledging that I don’t have the control I thought I did and accepting that my plans may never materialize. Maybe I’ll have to face how caught up in all the wrong things I can get or that I don’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. And it means putting down the armor. My protection. All the controlling feels safe, and who doesn't want that?
I’m choosing freedom now.
The angst of figuring it all out is unnecessary, and it's that energy that’s at the root of the struggle, not the details of my life.
It hurts to think I could have done without so much of the pressure. There's beauty in my life that I can only see in my memories now, and I wish I’d been more present for it.
But... I can choose to do without the pressure now. And again tomorrow and the next day and the next.
As I think back to how I got to where I am today, I see how hard I worked. I put in the time, the energy, and I paid attention to all the who, what, when, where, how’s of making those plans reality. So many of which never happened, and for that I am forever grateful.
It's that gratitude and the joy of relaxing into the moment that I forget sometimes, but I’m going to remember now that I can choose to trust I’m going the right way, bumps and detours and all.
I don't know. Maybe it was a coincidence. Just a pink van that pulled up ahead of me in traffic. I much prefer the magic version.
If you heard a little voice today that said, “This is no coincidence!” this is my message to you:
What would happen if you trusted you’re already going the right way?
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