Archive for March, 2009

Navigation Tools for Life, Part IV, Practical Application

March 30, 2009

The past three posts have been about navigating life with tools like centering and grounding and the internal guidance system. In this post, I’m going to bring it down to practical application with a recent example from my own life. It’s one thing to describe the tools and quite another to practice them, particularly at difficult moments. I know this all to well from my own experience. But I might have a few years of practice on some of you, so I’m going to describe how I managed to avoid being a traffic fatality (okay, that may be a bit hyperbolic), or at least managed to get to a speaking engagement with plenty of time to spare and without an accident.

Those who have experience with Colorado weather know that March is our snowiest month and that fifty and sixty degree days are often puntuated by spring storms that rip the nascent leaves from trees and take the branches while they’re at it. Last Thursday was one of those spring storm days.

We have had drought conditions in Denver this winter so any moisture is a welcome sight. The problem was that I had plans, long set, to speak at CIPA College on Thursday. (CIPA College is the annual conference put on by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. It is a major event that draws speakers and participants from the four corners of the U.S.) I was scheduled to head up a panel of editors at “Newbie” College, the half-day session for new and aspiring writers/publishers. I had selected the topics and I had selected the panel. I was responsible for the session.

News of the forthcoming storm on Wednesday had me scrambling to book a room at the hotel for Thursday and Friday. I have had enough experience with Colorado snowstorms to know that having a warm port in a storm is a good idea. I got my gear together. (I’m a woman. This takes time.) I planned to leave relatively early in the morning, even though my panel wasn’t speaking until about 3:00 p.m.

There was rain mixed with snow by 6:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. The streets were still warm enough from the previous day’s sixties to melt anything resembling snow when it hit. But within an hour, the rain-snow mixture was more snow than rain and it was sticking. I hurried to get myself together and my gear in the car and left my home by 8:00 a.m., within an hour of the switch from rain-snow to snow. I could see that conditions were deteriorating rapidly and wanted to find myself drinking coffee and schmoozing with other speakers by 9:00 a.m.

The roads were snowpacked and slick. SUVs were already in ditches. I had some faith in my Subaru Outback and my driving (ah, crawling at about 25 mph), but I had less faith in some of the yahoos speeding by me in cars that didn’t appear to have four-wheel drive like mine.  It was already a horrific drive and I was only a few miles from home.

I had heard from one member of my panel and knew  she was bailing. I suspected that she wouldn’t be alone. I was prepared to be the sole speaker (and have done enough speaking gigs that I knew I could easily pull it off), but the only thing that was really keeping me pointed onward was the fact that I was the moderator. It was my panel. I felt responsible.

Still, I contemplated turning back. I had only gone five to seven miles (and had another fifteen or so to go), but didn’t want to make the rest of the drive if it was going to be as harrowing as the drive thus far. Before making the decision, I checked in with my internal guidance system.

It was a smart thing to do. I received a very clear message: The road behind you is more dangerous than the road ahead. I couldn’t really imagine that being true, but the message was very clear and kept repeating itself. I decided to go forward.

And the road ahead was, indeed, far less dangerous than the road I had just traveled. (There may be more meaning to this than just one drive to one speaking engagement, I’ll admit.) Within a couple of miles, the roads became more wet than snowpacked and the snow gave way to rain-snow.

I made it to the hotel in time for that morning coffee.

If I had not listened to my internal guidance system, I might have turned back. If I had done that, I would have missed my talk because the roads became increasingly problematic as the day wore on. In fact, I probably would have missed the Friday morning session of CIPA College, too.

As it turned out, I had one panel member with me and we gave a great session. And before the weekend was out, I had won another EVVY Technical Award for Editing and my clients had snagged an additional seven awards for their books.

Am I happy that I listened to my internal guidance system? What do you think?

I would love to hear your personal stories, too.


Copyright 2009 by Melanie Mulhall

Navigation Tools for Life, Part III, Understanding Your Navigational Tools

March 1, 2009

Imagine being the captain of a ship. You want to travel north and all of your navigational instruments give you clear information on where north is. But you have seen something shimmering in the distance, off in a direction that does not match what your navigational tools say is north. You decide that the direction in which the shimmering object lies is actually north and head in that direction.

It sounds insane, doesn’t it? But that is exactly what we are doing when we insist on being in control instead of allowing ourselves to soften and surrender a bit.

In the last two posts, I talked about the internal guidance system and in the last post, I gave a couple of very simple tools to acess it. But being willing to access those internal guidance system tools will have limited impact if you do not understand a few basic things about them.

  1. You will have limited success in accessing your internal guidance system if you insist on being in control of the process. To access and hear/see/feel your internal guidance system, you must suspend the hallucination–for just a bit–that you are king or queen of the universe. You must be willing to soften and surrender a bit to that part of you that your ordinary consciousness just does not have access to.
  2. You must understand that your internal guidance system is not there to make you rich and famous. You may actually become rich and famous, but that’s not the point. Your internal guidance system is there to guide you towards the next move, inspiration, perception, or understanding that is best for you–based on a complex web of knowledge and interactions your conscious mind has limited access to. Your ego may want to be rich and famous, but your internal guidance system wants the highest version of you to be enacted, whatever that is and however that happens.
  3. At some point, you will have to act, not just sit back and passively observe. In the be/do/have cycle of things, there is a time to just “be” and tap into your internal guidance. But make no mistake: your internal guidance system will not do all the foot work for you. It may give you alternatives that will smooth your way, but it will not act for you if action on your part is an important component of manifesting what your guidance is showing you. The world may or may not come to your door without your having to leave home–but even if it does, it will be because you did your part to get it to your door.
  4. The more turbulent the sea, the harder it will be to navigate through it on a consistent basis. The internal guidance system works best in calm waters. Meditation–in any form to which you are drawn–helps calm the waters. And you need not be a follower of any particular religious path to meditate. There are nonsectarian meditation methods, sectarian ones, and methods that might have started out as sectarian, but have become nonsectarian in common practice. In short, there is a meditation method for everyone. Find one that resonates for you.
  5. The dirtier the equipment, the less the results can be trusted. This is very important to understand! Try reading text through a glass encrusted with years of dirt. You might not be able to read anything at all. If you can, you might miss something important that completely changes the meaning of the passage. Making sense of your internal guidance system is much the same. If you want a clear channel to your internal guidance, clean up your act! That means acknowledging,  working through, and clearing the jetsam and flotsam of the human psyche. The more you do this, the more trustworthy the information you receive will be.
  6. If you ignore the message, you may have simply lost an opportunity . . . or you might receive the message again–stronger, louder, and less kindly. Opportunity lost is one thing, but sometimes, when it is important, if you ignore a message from your internal guidance system, it will be repeated . . . one, twice, three times, or as many times as it takes. The internal guidance system has a way of getting our attention when it is important. That means that while the first message–or first ten messages–might have been subtle and gentle, you may find subsequent ones becoming increasingly pointed and/or uncomfortable. What has that meant for me, in my own experience? When I have ignored too many messages over too long a period of time, I have become ill. I have attracted clients from hell. I have had accidents. I have become tense and unhappy. These days, I prefer to pay attention sooner instead of later.
  7. Be gentle with yourself. If you have never consciously tapped into your internal guidance system or have been ignoring it for a long time, it might take some time for it to take you seriously and actually kick in with good, clear information. Give it some time. Practice in very simple ways, on a daily basis. It will eventually become activated. And when that happens, you will find you have made a good friend who provides indispensible help.

Want some navigation reference tools? There are many good books available and, yes, I do recommned my own book, Living the Dream–A Guidebook for Job Seekers and Career Explorers. Among the best resources, I believe, are two books by Penney Peirce: The Intuitive Way and Frequency.

May you navigate the seas of life well and safely, and may your ports of call be more than you could have hoped for . . . and everything you might have dreamed.

I would love to hear about your journey.


copyright 2009 by Melanie Mulhall