by Kathie Lipinski
Throughout my life I have often turned to inspirational quotes, books or authors to help me navigate challenging or rough passages of my life. I would “collect” these words of wisdom and write them in a notebook or on an index card to look at during those bleak or challenging times. When I was a teenager, my dad gave me “the Treasure Chest;” a collection of over 1000 inspirational quotations, poems, and sentiments from great minds of 2500 years. I treasured it and referred to it often, even writing other favorite passages in the book as well. I also kept copies of inspirational thoughts near my desk (and now my computer) so I could look at them often.
I still “collect” inspirational messages and like to share them with my clients and students as well, hoping it will offer them comfort and guidance in challenging times.
This year, as my birthday approaches in a few weeks, I am once again reflecting on my life as it is currently compared to how I hoped it would be. After several challenging years, I find myself in a pensive place, needing some guidance and inspiration for this next birthday year.
I have always trusted in Divine guidance, knowing that I am always guided and supported, and I recently received this message 3 times in one day and I knew I had to pay attention.
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
Joseph Campbell, philosopher, speaker and storyteller
When I let the wisdom of that wash over me, I could feel things shift. I was reminded of the many plans I had for my life that did not materialize. For example, my plan for my life was to get married in my 20s and have 5 children. Obviously, that did not happen. In my late 20s with no husband or kids on the horizon, I decided to go back to school and get my Master’s Degree in Nursing. And in the last semester of grad school, I met my husband on a blind date and we were married within a year. Two wonderful sons followed.
While I attended nursing school, I worked during the summers as a nurse’s aide at a teaching hospital. I was placed on the night shift (11pm to 7am) and remember crying to my mother “how will I date?” Making the best of the situation, I registered for classes during the day and tried to make the most of working the night shift. To my surprise, the unit where I was assigned was a step-down intermediary ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and the head nurse knew I was a nursing student and gave me lots of learning opportunities and experience.
The following year when I qualified to work at a summer LPN program at a different hospital, they placed me in ICU. The unwanted night shift the year before had been a blessing in disguise as it prepared me for the next step in my nursing career. I continued to work weekends during the last year of nursing school and when I graduated, they offered me a full-time job in ICU (I had wanted to be a Pediatric Nurse). And there I stayed for 12 years which included promotions to Head Nurse, Critical Care Supervisor and Nursing Office Administrator. The Universe indeed had a different and bigger plan for me in mind!
Life’s twists and turns took me to Louisville, Kentucky in October 1990 when my husband had a job offer too good to refuse. I had a wonderful job working part time in a doctor’s office as a Diabetes Nurse Educator and my mom had just been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). I told my husband NO WAY…. how can you ask that of me? But that little nagging feeling sat in my gut, so I went to Jones Beach on Long Island, NY to meditate and pray and was shown a fork in the road and I KNEW I had to go! So off we went leaving friends and family behind.
The first two years were challenging and I never got a job as a Diabetes Nurse Educator. Instead, I found a spiritual community within a few weeks of moving there, learned Reiki in 1992, became a massage therapist in 1994, and was put on an entirely different and unexpected path of holistic nursing and complementary therapies.
Returning to New York in 1999 was like starting over but feeling more of myself and more on track with my life’s work than I ever had before.
Just several examples of the different plan and bigger picture life had in store for me than what I planned for.
When I look back over my life and went with what the flow of life was presenting to me, things happened or came to me that were so much more than I could have ever imagined. I knew when I took my first Reiki class that it was important. I did not know that it would end up being my career which included a private practice, teaching at nursing schools and hospitals, as well as writing and getting published in a prestigious nursing journal!
What I have learned from all of these experiences is to stop fighting and let go and surrender to what is. Observe what life presents to you and go with that. Focus on what is working or flowing and stop pushing and trying to force what is not.
Another inspirational writer, Eckhart Tolle says…
“Surrender is the simple but profound wisdom of yielding to rather than opposing the flow of life.”
“Accept—then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it… This will miraculously transform your whole life.”
Once again inspirational words are offering me guidance and support as I let life show me what is next for me. And looking over my life I am reminded that there is a bigger plan for our life than our limited mind can imagine. Allow it to show itself to you by opportunities that come up; people you meet; books you read; signs or messages you receive and especially noticing what is working in your life and what is not. Buddhism teaches that “attachment” is the source of suffering. Letting go of the attachment to things, to people, situations and how you think your life should be is the remedy.
Ask to be shown the way and the actions. You will know when it is right…you will feel that little warm feeling inside. Check in with yourself to see how you feel about it…your body will tell you.
Tosha Silver, author of “Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead” reminds us that “…a Force of love exists that can guide, help, and interact with each of us” …we just need to invite it in and surrender to the Divine Plan and big picture of our lives.
I hope you have your own collection of inspirational authors and messages to guide you and help you navigate the waves of life. If not, let this be a nudge to begin. Your life is worth it. You are worth it. There is so much love and support from the Universe for each and every one of us. Some may call it God; some call it Great Spirit or Source; and others refer to it as faith. I like to think of it as LOVE and the Divine Intelligence of the Universe.