Going with the flow

Greetings friends!

I’m happy to be here with you again.

I’d like to share a story with you about an amazing experience I had last week. It reminded me of the truth that the Divine is magnificent and awe-inspiring. To remember this constantly is my intention.

So I’ve been avoiding the Nigerian consulate for weeks now. Going there and back home is a whole day’s enterprise. But last Friday was the last day I could go and still get what I needed in time. I fretted about how smoothly the process would go. As some of you know, certain countries’ consulates are no joke. Nigerian consulates are not necessarily known for being the most customer-friendly. To compound matters I’d stayed up very late into the wee hours of the morning to finish up an application for a project. I would be get less than three hours of sleep (no morning rituals for me). Since I really really didn’t want to go, before I went to sleep I thought to myself, ” okay God, if you want me to go you’ll make sure I get up on time.” My alarm went off a couple hours later and I turned it off in my sleep. At 7:12 AM exactly my eyes snapped open and I have 13 minutes before the cab comes to take me to the bus station. That I woke up with just enough time to get ready told me that I had been heard and in fact I was to go. Waking up with such a sureness that I was being sent, for reasons grander than a consulate visit though I couldn’t say what else for, lit up the day with a gorgeous light (despite the slush from the previous night’s snow). I was lit up. The light shone brighter than any fatigue and made the rest of the day so easy, and more than that, beautiful.

When I got the consulate I didn’t have to wait long at all. I learned that in fact I would be able to get the document I needed that same day, which I hadn’t expected! Normally when I meet other Nigerians, often my name looks unusual to them, being that a lot of us– even Nigerians– haven’t heard of my people, Tiv folk, before. One of the officers at the Consulate actually recognized my name and greeted me in Tiv. As it turned out, his brother went to school down the road from my home village! He told me that not very many Tiv people go through the place, just a few in a year. “I’m also Tiv,” a woman said from across the room and I was able to greet her also. This was a small thing but it made a difference for me in that experience. There are also lots of children present in a delighted me to watch them play and to see the delight their parents took in them as well.

As I was leaving the consulate it came to my mind that I had seen an email somewhere telling me that an elderly friend of mine was going to be moving to a different state a few hours north. She would be gone the next day. This would be my last opportunity to see her before she left. I spent a delightful hour with her. While I was there I reminded her that another friend of ours actually live close to where she was moving. “Yes, I’ve been calling him and calling him and he hasn’t called me back. Do you think he hates me?”

“Are you sure you have the right number for him?” I replied.

We discovered that indeed she’d been calling the wrong number all along. I wrote down for her the number I had. We got him on the phone on the spot. She was reassured that, in fact, he loved her and had not been ignoring her calls.

For me, waking up with such a strong sense of divine alignment literally changed how vividly I saw what was around me– people, sights and sounds, even the feel of pavement beneath my feet. And to think that such vivacity is available to each of us every waking moment of every day! Incredible.

Questions for your consideration:

  • What is the most recent experience you’ve had in which your senses were heightened?
  • What about that experience created such vivacity?
  • What would it take to experience your life in that way again?

Divine Alignment

I celebrated my birthday my birthday this week. Happy New Year to me!  I enter a new chapter of my life with joy, enthusiasm, gratitude, and excitement.

About ten years ago I began giving a theme to each new year, birthday to birthday. There’s been the Year of Quickening, the Year of Reckoning, the Year of Transformation, and so on. A few weeks before my new year actually begins, I sit in stillness, take walks and listen for the name. It always comes.

This year the theme is Alignment. In the last year and a half, my life has changed significantly:

  • I started a new relationship
  • moved to a new city
  • went from full-time employment to unemployed/self-employed
  • came to some new understandings about myself, or more precisely, simply cycled back to remembering things I’ve known all along

From the time I can remember I’ve always had a strong sense of purpose, though I couldn’t quite say what exactly it was. The strength of that purpose compelled me and for much of my life – all of it really, until now – I made decisions about what to do or what not to do (become a teacher, get a PhD, etc.) according to intuitions that told me if I would end up closer to or further away from my purpose.

As 2012 came to a close, I realized that I’d spent the year getting comfortable with the new and first-time clarity about what I am here to do, getting comfortable with the possibility of answering yes or no to the question “am I doing what I’m here to do?” And 2012 I experienced what I call “divine alignment”. As I experienced the joy of feeling as if at any given moment I was in exactly the place I was meant to be a set of check and questions came to me,  guideposts by which to consider the day, the week, the month, the lifetime:

  • Am I in divine alignment?
  • If not, why not? What does my resistance look like?
  • If so, what does my surrender look like? What would the next level of surrender it look like?

In late 2011, I decided to move to Philly for love. I prayed about it and felt this decision was definitely in alignment. I was going to save money, move in the warm months – you know, do it prudently,  safely. In November I had a dream which showed me that my careful plan was nonsense, that by going in what I thought was a straight line I would actually be going in a circle. No, I needed to move by the end of December – in six weeks, not six months. By making the decision to move I had been in alignment but more was required. My resistance looked like “but…” And “I don’t…”  and waiting to get the ball in motion to actually move that quickly. Nonetheless, I leapt. I surrendered. Allah handled everything that could have been an obstacle. I was in Philly by December 28th.

Fear and bewilderment had me phasing in and out of alignment in 2012, or at least had me feeling as though I was phasing in and  out of it.  in 2013, I intend to be courageous. What’s the point if I’m not? I’ve been waiting my whole life to know what I now know about my particular purpose. So what does every day look like an alignment? Inshallah I’m looking forward to finding out.  Happy New Year indeed!

As the year gets rolling I invite you to consider these checking questions for yourself.

  • What does divine alignment look like in your own life? Are you in it?
  • If not why not? What does your resistance look like?
  • If you are in alignment, what does your surrender look like? What would the next level of surrender look like?

Wishing all of us courage as we each seek to fulfill our unique and divine purposes! Let’s love one another in the process. Ashe. Salaam. Shalom. Inshallah, inshallah, inshallah.