I recently started reading a book called “Life on Fire” by Kim Dinan. I came across the book through a friend who I traveled to South Africa with. Turns out Kim Dinan uprooted her life in the Midwest and now lives in Portland, Oregon, quit her job to travel and become a full time author, etc and then wrote a book about living your dreams. She talks about the universe having a plan for your life and it’s your job to search your soul to figure out if you are living the life you’re meant to live. A life on fire.
The first few chapters ask you to survey your true interests through a series of journal entries (what’s your perfect day, what did you enjoy as a child, what do people say you are good at). From there you should discover what your “dreams” are. You are to stop listening to your head and tune into your soul to figure all of this out. I am a sucker for this kind of introspection. I love to analyze my life – what’s going good, what could be improved, what am I missing? During these meditations, I truly feel like I am on the cusp of discovering some deep understanding of my path. However, every time, I feel like I meander around in crazy eights and can’t quite come to any conclusions.
The last part that I read in “A Life on Fire” talks about how you should start looking for signs from the Universe that might lead you to the right decision. I’ve always been interested in signs…wondering if these little moments hold any significance. Like the day after my grandmother passed away, I found a flat of pansies on my front porch. No note, no indication of who or why. Not a single person I knew could account for where they came from. My grandmother loved pansies and these flowers grew abundant and smiled upon me for the rest of the year in the barrel outside my front door. What was the purpose of this “sign” from the universe? I never quite figured it out…though I suspect it has something to do with the message that I am never alone, no matter where I land.
There are many other “signs” that have brought me to believe in the Serendipity of life. Enough so to write a whole book about it. Kim Dinan says that the “Universe” is conspiring FOR you in every way possible. Good and positivity are the natural direction that we are meant to go and rooting into our “inner voice” or our “soul” or our “gut” allow to us to hear what the Universe has to say. What’s interesting to me, however, is that my belief in this theory and actual practice of it are so very disconnected.
A friend of mine from high school once told me that God is ironic. That if you say you want one thing, then God will give you something else. That if you think you’re supposed to do A, then really you should do B. For whatever reason, this belief system has always inundated my efforts to believe in a God, or universe or whatever you want to call it that has my back. Even though there are so many details from my life that contradict this concept, I still “try not to want it” too much, so that maybe God will realize it’s not that important to me and give it to me just to be ironic.
This is a pretty warped view of God and I keep trying to decipher exactly what causes me to think this way. Perhaps it is a form of self-preservation…don’t get your hopes up because then you’re never let down. And the bottom line is, I don’t know that if I “pray” for something that my words or energy will necessarily change the outcome of any event anyway.
Small bits of my experience coax me to believe in things that are “meant to be.” Meeting my husband on an airplane that I wasn’t even supposed to be on (or was I?) is one thread in the rope that is my world-view. However, when I try to make sense of why prayers for the healing of a six year old with cancer were not “answered,” I can’t apply this same conclusion. Nor can I truly believe that if there were some true higher power, that they are actually conspiring for the good of the humans on this Earth. Because I can’t understand how this higher power could allow for a giant typhoon to just wreck an entire country. What “greater good” did that serve?
The other day I was at a café and overheard two girls sitting kitty corner from me chatting about trying to have a baby. One of the girls says quite loudly, “I’m so glad that God is involved with us having a baby. We don’t want to have one at the wrong time.” I literally gaped at her dumbfounded. Do people really believe that God is so intricately involved in the biological processes of whether one of the millions of sperm swimming up her vagina and to her fallopian tubes that God would say to the sperm, “Hey guy…not yet.” In which the sperm hits the breaks and opts out of this opportunity?
Ok, maybe it isn’t that ridiculous. I know that the person was speaking to a more complex (and less insane) belief that, no matter the outcome, it was all planned and predestined by a higher power. Whether it was a home run the first time trying, or you’re one of the “one out of five couples” that it takes 5-6 months, or perhaps even that you discover that you are infertile. Personally, I believe that science exists separate of our prayers to change it. That is why typhoons and cancer and accidental pregnancies happen. Not because some God wanted those things to happen but because convection currents and abnormal cells and hormones exist.
But the bigger question of “meant to be” keeps nagging at me. Daily. Like every time I take a shower or have a few too many minutes alone with my thoughts and no distraction, I wonder about it. Is life just one big Choose Your Own Adventure novel in which every decision is a book flip onto another page? And if so, is there really a “right page” that we are supposed to be on? And if so, is there a “voice” that we ought to be listening to that knows what we are “predestined” for or “meant” to do? And if so, does “The Universe” truly conspire for my good? And if so, what does that mean when others experience misfortune. Were they on the wrong page of the book?
Sometimes I envy people who are happy to not think that much…
One thing I can make sense of is that our minutes on Earth are fleeting. And that if you spend those minutes ensconced in negativity and uselessness, then that’s stupid. So figuring out what your “purpose” is for those minutes is a good idea. You don’t have to know whether there was another “purpose” as long as you are making the world a better place through positivity and usefulness. And that the energy you are putting out there is good.
© 2013 D. Willson