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Thank you for reading my articles here. If any piece resonates with you, I encourage you to share your reactions, as they will likely resonate with other readers, too. I also invite you to visit my website to learn more about REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life. Much Love and Many Blessings, Alice

Friday, July 29, 2011

An Act of Grace (Guest Post)

This week's posting is the gracious offering of Jodi Chapman. Jodi and I met last month in Philadelphia, when we both joined a year-long program to learn how to get our message out to those we are called to serve. Even though we just met, we instantly recognized each other as kindred souls and connected at a very deep and intuitive level. Once you've read her story below, you'll see why I adore and respect Jodi--and so will you! Enjoy her wise, authentic and insightful words.

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Have you ever gone down a path in life that didn't feel quite right on a soul level, but it felt comfortable and secure on an ego level?

For instance, what if you always knew that you wanted to be a writer, but you had been told so often that writing would never pay your bills: you would have to work at a 9-5 job and then write at night and on the weekends. And so you went to school and got a degree in something practical: technical editing. 

And a few years after graduating you found yourself working as a technical editor for the Department of Defense. And let's say that while you were working there, a war started and because you had a secret-level security clearance, you were editing classified documents having to do with this war and were seeing things you didn't want to know about because you were against war in the first place?

And let's say that your opposition to this war was seen on the particular base that you worked at as cute and funny, and watching war videos featuring bombings set to heavy metal music somehow just didn't sit right with you. But let's also say that you were making a good living editing these documents, and it was the first time in your life that you had supported yourself. And even though you had that nagging voice in the back of your mind telling you to leave - that this wasn't right for you - that you were getting farther away from your path - the part of you that clings to security and comfort and the ego side of you that was proud that you were paying all of your bills by doing something you were good at and trained for years to do was winning.

And so for months you drove onto the base day after day and edited these documents that completely went against what you believed in, and each night you would come home and cry for hours about how much your soul was hurting. The voice in the back of your mind was getting a bit louder - begging you to quit and get closer to your path. You knew there had to be a better way, but you were too afraid to venture out on your own. You were too afraid to leave the security of a good, steady paycheck. And your ego was too afraid to leave this job that made you feel important.

The universe always starts with a whisper.
And if we don't listen, that voice inside of us gets louder and louder.

And if we still don't listen, it yells and screams and throws an absolute fit.

This fit can be in the form of an accident, a break up, an illness - anything to wake you up and make you see that you need to listen and change.

This is what happened to me. I was the editor in the example above.
I wasn't listening to that voice inside begging me to leave my soul-crushing job. And so the universe created a situation where I would have no choice but to leave. Had I listened and taken steps to leave my job right away, my journey since then may not have been quite so difficult. 

I had just gotten my hair styled and was excited to be in my friend's wedding the following day. I was driving home when I noticed a car stopped on the other side of the road getting ready to turn left. Before I could brake, the car pulled out right in front of me. I slammed into the side at full speed. 

I thought my car was on fire because of the smoke from the air bag, so I crawled out as quickly as someone in shock can do. I remember the kind people racing over to me - shielding me from the sun with an umbrella, rubbing my arm and saying soothing things while we waited for the ambulance, and then I went to the hospital.

It could've been much worse, and I was so thankful that I was okay.
Pretty banged up, but okay.

But what wasn't okay was my ability to edit. I spent the next few months receiving occupational therapy for my arm and hand. My fine motor skills needed to be learned all over again. I struggled with picking up objects, which meant that typing or holding a pen would be impossible until I healed.

I also went to physical therapy twice a week for my neck and back. My spine curved inward from the impact, which caused all sorts of problems. Basically it meant that I was in a lot of pain and wasn't able to look down to edit.

I stayed on disability for several months and then tried going back to work. I soon realized that I simply was in too much pain to continue working as an editor. I moved in with my boyfriend (who is now my husband), and spent the next two years healing at home. My routine consisted of weekly doctor's visits, physical therapy, shots upon shots into my back and neck, and a lot of lying down and resting. 

During this time I was very angry. Angry at the woman who turned in front of me, angry at the insurance companies when we settled for a much smaller amount than I was entitled to (she was underinsured), angry at my job who eventually laid me off when I couldn't come back, angry at myself for being weak and not able to heal faster. Angry at life.

This went on for years. Until one day I realized that this was all an act of grace. Being there at that moment and getting into this car crash was the best thing that could've happened to me.

I wasn't going to pull myself out of that job - that security - on my own. I needed something this drastic, this clear, this horrific to pull me away. My life was going in the wrong direction, and I literally needed a crash to stop it in its tracks.

It's been nine years since this happened, and I am happy to say that I am writing.  And while it has taken a long while to sort through all of this and come to terms with losing an identity that I clung to, I have learned a lot in the process.

I have opened myself up to magical things that I never would've been exposed to had I continued editing.

I am living.
I am on my path.
And that doesn't mean that each day is smooth sailing, but it does mean that I am at least heading in the right direction.

I believe that there are no coincidences in life.
If you are experiencing a major transition or have recently gone through a traumatic event, really take the time to look into why this was brought to you at this particular time.
Why do you need to have this occur?
What lessons can be learned from it?
What is your inner wisdom needing you to hear?

There is always a higher purpose and a bigger plan. Grace has a way of steering us back to ourselves - even if we are kicking and screaming.

I'm working on listening to that voice when it's a whisper rather than waiting for the scream.
 
But either way, we're always led to the exact right place at the exact right time. 
Always.

Jodi Chapman writes Soul Speak – a daily blog that focuses on seeing life through a lens of gratitude and positivity. She is the bestselling author of the Soulful Journals series – writing-prompt journals that help you go within and get to know yourself better. She is also the author of the upcoming book, Go For It: Get Out There and Start Living! She believes that our thoughts become our reality, and our actions lead us to our dreams. She is happily married to her best friend and co-writer, Dan Teck. They live in southern Oregon with their four fuzzy kids. www.soulspeakbyjodi.com

2 comments:

  1. Hi Jodi,

    I am the minister of Conscious Living Center, and I am so inspired by your story that I intend to use it in my message tomorrow. You are right, there are no coincidences! Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

    Very gratefully,
    Jane

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, Jane. Thank you so much! I felt very vulnerable in sharing this story with everyone, but I felt that it was time and hoped it would help others see the many acts of grace that occur around us on a daily basis. I am truly touched that you used it in your message. Many blessings to you.

    ReplyDelete

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