By Gabs Brown
A few years ago my life suddenly started to feel completely and utterly meaningful. My days seemed littered with coincidences that provided guidance or confirmation. My yoga practice went from being a largely physical experience to something energetic and profoundly insightful. A creative block I had been struggling with for years lifted. My meditation practice became almost trippy: I would have visions that appeared to resolve my every quandary – I started to look forward to meditating in the same way I had previously looked forward to going on a wild night out: What was going to happen this time? Overall, I found myself feeling a strong and deep trust in myself, the Universe and my future within it. I felt I had connected with something bigger and wiser than myself, and that this ‘thing’ was guiding me along my rightful path – a path I had been struggling to find for years.
I became interested in the Law of Attraction and dutifully prepped gratitude lists and vision boards. I sought out soothsayers and healers whose words confirmed my beliefs at the time: that I was on the cusp of something big. I felt that at last I was being shown the truth of who I was. I felt as though a power greater than myself had taken me by the hand and was guiding me into becoming the magnificent person I was meant to be.
Life carried on, with its ups and downs. I had success with some things I had been plugging away at, but failure at others – including those I had been ‘told’ would be roaring triumphs. Slowly, the coincidences stopped seeming so meaningful, and certainly not very useful. I started to resent my vision boards and anything related to the Law of Attraction. I thought it a bit unfair that only those people who knew about the Law and who could then grasp how to properly apply it should have such an enormous advantage over the rest of us. Could the Universe be so conditional? So selective? My meditation practice settled back down into a more mundane sphere. I revisited those healers and intuitives who I had felt helped me to connect with my ‘bigger picture’, but I found their words more stifling than useful. Their guidance about my future was clouding my ability to make up my own mind about my present – perhaps these people could see into my future, in a way, but how was it useful for me to have these murky insights? Was it even safe?
I rolled my eyeballs at every quote on Facebook or Instagram that urged me to follow my heart, or even more annoyingly, to ‘just let go!’. Let go! Let go! And then what? AND THEN WHAT? Why wasn’t anyone talking about the, and then what?
I had lost faith in all the little tools and navigations systems I had been relying on to give me confidence about what I was doing with my life. I had lost my map. I felt as if the Universe had let go of my hand, and I was alone.
This was a terrifying realisation. I became numb, cynical, angry. I felt as though I had been tricked. I felt embarrassed. I had been wandering about in bare-footed bliss, bathing in self-assurance, feeling that I was more ‘awake’ than most, believing that I was transforming, growing, overcoming…now where was I? Lost, ashamed, confused, poorer?
I had to start thinking about my life, my dreams and my destiny differently. I couldn’t look out for coincidences to bring me insight or guidance. I didn’t want to draw up gratitude lists or vision boards. I couldn’t book an appointment with Mystic Michael or Clairvoyant Carol to know whether Project X was going to reap the rewards I so desperately wanted.
All I had was myself. The only things I could trust were my own instincts, my own feelings, my own thoughts, my own actions, my own ability to decide what I should be doing, how I should do it, and when. I had to accept that absolutely nothing about my future was guaranteed or knowable. I had to learn to be OK with the possibility that my dreams might never come true. I had to accept that whereas my life might be mapped out for me, I was never going to see that map. I wasn’t meant to see that map.
And I soon realised that this was amazing.
I realised I had been lost in a haze of false awakening. I had duped myself into thinking I had connected with the deepest part of myself whereas in fact, I had done the opposite. I had been obsessively seeking out external experiences and signposts to tell me where to go and what to do with my life. I had been trying to find hidden meaning in everything. I had been living my life as though it were a puzzle to be deciphered – or one of those 3D pictures that only becomes clear after you’ve settled your gaze in a particular way.
I had been acting as though the Universe had laid out a dot-to-dot picture for me to follow, believing that if I dutifully linked the numbers and drew the lines then eventually the big picture will be revealed and everything will make sense.
But now I believe, and prefer, the scarier alternative: that my life is a blank page, and it’s up to me to draw whatever picture I want. And it’s up to me to decide what its meaning is, or even if indeed it needs any meaning. I have no idea if what I’ll come up with will ‘make sense’ or be any good, or even be decipherable at all. My paints might be rubbish. My brushes might snap. My paper might tear in places. But at least I am the artist, not a child clutching a crayon and following the numbers wondering if I’m getting it right. I can’t get it right, and I can’t get it wrong. All I can do is dream, create, observe and repeat.
And I will do so with unconditional heart-filled ambition.