Stop Waiting for the Universe to give you Permission

I love synchronicity and coincidences and feeling like I’m on the right path as much as the next person.

I know when I am pushing and need to back off, take a break, wait for my mind to calm down and for my next steps to show up.

I believe there is so much more than we can see or know at work in the world. I mean, think about it, our very brains are mostly a mystery to us!

But here’s what is bugging me a whole heck of a lot: so many creative women I meet seem to be waiting for the universe to tell them what to do. They say things like:

  • “I’m waiting for a sign.”
  • “I feel like I have to start my business because it came to me in a dream even though the whole thing makes me exhausted and I can’t get any traction.”
  • “I know the universe wants me to write this book, but I need to be sure before I start.”
  • “The universe won’t leave me alone so I have to do this.” 

What I ask my students when they say this is:

But what about what you want?

It feels to me like we may be hiding our agency and personal power behind the universe

We are seeking permission from a divine source rather than taking responsibility as a sovereign being who knows her values and desires.

Or as Toni Morrison wrote, “To get to a place where you could love anything you chose, not to need permission for desire, well now that was freedom.”

Of course, when we do that, when we stop seeking permission to desire, there is a risk it won’t work. We’ll get our hearts broken, we will fail, or be hurt. And that’s exactly why I think we sometimes default to waiting for the universe to tell us what to do. 

We avoid the risk but we may also miss out on the growth that comes from choosing. 

We can end up drifting through our lives with nobody at the rudder.

I’m not saying it’s all about our ego-bound desires. We want to listen to what feels bigger, wilder, and truer, not just what we have scripted (or that was scripted for us), but that happens, I believe, through an active mature spiritual discipline, practiced with a trusted mentor or spiritual director or within a community. We need checks and balances. 

Maybe it’s not what we listen to, but how we approach listening and what we do with what we hear?

Love to hear your thoughts.

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