Before I begin narrating this truly life-changing moment that I experienced in or around 1995, I need to acknowledge a few important people. First, my friend Barbara Tremblay Cipak (no relation, although I wish there was one!) really just gave me the "nudge" and courage to post it. The other day, she really put herself out there by publishing a short fictional story that truly moved me.
Barbara had said that she had never written fiction, but felt a strong urge to move outside her comfort zone and go for it. Because of this, I decided that I had been sitting on this little story for long enough.
And even though it kind of "exposes" me in a way I have let very few people see, I figure, what the heck! If Barbara can put HERSELF out there, so can I! (By the way, Barbara's story is lovely - you can read it here: "His Gift Was Knowing.")
Finally, I want to also thank my dear friend and spiritual mentor, Roy Posner, who has encouraged and furthered my understanding about what "Surrender" and "Opening Up to the Divine" really means. Oh, if I'd only known years ago what I know now...
Ok... Here is the story of the moment that pushed me over the edge of my mediocre life, and head first into the spiritual journey I had been avoiding.
There is much more to be written on this topic, but the story begins here.
And yes, it really did happen.
“Now will you let me take over?”
The question was directed at me, and pretty much demanded a “Yes” or “No” answer. But, I was too stunned to answer. Lifting my head from my tear-covered hands, I looked around.
There was no one there.
I glanced at John, who was in the adjoining office, and said, “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” he asked, with a quizzical look. Wisely, he had left me alone with my tears. There really wasn’t anything he could do at the moment to comfort me.
“That voice… a voice…” I didn’t quite know how to explain this voice that had just asked me if I would let… Him? Her? It? …if I would let Something… take over.
I had been weeping, having finally accepted – after a long period of denial – that one of my “ex’s” had cheated on me during our relationship. I had never fully believed it. Surely the evidence was mere coincidence. But that morning, just before I heard “the voice,” I had been presented with irrefutable evidence that no one could explain away.
John, who would eventually become my now-cherished husband, came back into the room, and saw the cassette tape I had found when sorting through my box of music.
The tape wasn’t mine, and it wasn’t John’s either. A loving note written on it referred to certain memories, and once I popped it into the cassette player to hear what was on it, it became clear that it belonged to the ex. It had probably been put into my collection mistakenly when we were splitting up.
Now, John quietly left the room to allow me time to process this new realization.
Back in the day, I was a praying kind of gal. I prayed to some guy named “God” who I thought sat up on a cloud, ready to smite the wicked and reward the righteous.
I couldn’t fathom why this “God” guy wouldn’t smite my ex.
But, on this particular day, I completely bottomed out emotionally and gave up. Some call it “surrender.”
I let go of trying to figure out what had happened in that failed relationship. I gave up trying to explain away all the evidence that bellowed, “Hey! Hello there! Knock, knock! HE CHEATED!”
All that was left that Saturday morning was the feeling that I had completely drained myself of every last bit of my will.
And that was when I heard “the voice.”
It sounded like a real voice, as though someone was in front of me or sitting beside me – or behind me – it was hard to place where it came from. But I could hear it just as clearly as I hear my fingers tapping out this story on my keyboard.
I still needed to answer the question.
Very quietly, I whispered, “Yes…. Yes, I will let you take over.”
And then came the peace. Peace and forgiveness washed through me and the moment was over.
Just like that.
Now, I would love to be able to say that at that moment, the sun came out, birds began chirping and heavenly trumpets filled the air. I’d love to tell you that the “ex” came around, wringing his hands and begging my forgiveness. I’d love to tell you that “the voice” said, “Ok, then, I’m on it! You just sit back and relax now…”
I cannot. All I can tell you is that in that moment, I was enveloped by a sense of peace, and my focus shifted.
Shift in Focus
It took a while, but I can honestly say that I forgave the ex. Totally, 100% forgave. Even today, as I type in January of 2021, when I think of him (which is happening quite a bit right now since I’m telling this story), I REALLY DO have only good feelings and well-wishes for his happiness. And, I daresay, “love.” Not romantic love, but a love that springs from a place deep inside and says, “You are my brother, and I love you.”
One thing was for certain: I no longer had time to think about smiting him. I became far too involved in learning more about this “voice” that seemingly came from nowhere, and everywhere.
The journey to learn more led me to the path that is now my life. I awakened to the possibility that there was more to life than living in fear of judgment if I’m bad, or hope for reward if I’m good.
Books on spirituality replaced fiction on my shelves. And, as many of my readers here know, these shelves are now filled with the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, Jesus, The Mother (Mirra Alfassa), Roy Posner, Neville Goddard, Joseph Murphy, Ernest Holmes, Joe Dispenza, and dozens of New Thought writers, personal development authors, and everything in between.
Exploring alternative theories on God and the Universe became almost an obsession. I wouldn’t stop until something “clicked” and felt right to me.
No More Smiting
Changes and progress were somewhat subtle at times, and like a whack upside the head at other times. For example, when I came to understand that God, or the Universe (or whatever you choose to call It) meant me no harm, I had to admit that if God meant ME no harm, then God couldn’t possibly mean anyone ELSE any harm, either.
So, there would be no more smiting going on from my end.
Time went on. I married John. We moved. As the internet and YouTube came along, spiritual videos replaced music videos (well, most of the time!). Guilt trips faded away while love, forgiveness and joy took their place.
FREEDOM IN RESPONSIBILITY
One of the most profound changes came in understanding that there is tremendous freedom in accepting responsibility for one’s life. In my case, I came to recognize that just about every single thing in my life – including the experience with the “ex” – was the result of my own choices. And this realization made it remarkably easy for me to forgive.
It didn’t matter what the situations were; somehow, they were the result of some type of choice that I made. I chose to be with someone. I chose to take one job or another that didn’t work out. I chose to drink too much or to exercise too little. No one forced me to do any of these things. This is a superficial look at what is a far more involved topic, but that’s the initial gist of it.
One of the liberating things about coming to this understanding was the knowledge that I am always free to make another, different choice if the results I’m experiencing don’t suit me.
I do not suggest that I could have consciously made a choice when I was a baby, for example, that would have resulted in my not needing eyeglasses by the age of 8.
I do suggest, however, that I can now make conscious decisions to alter my own life. I cannot make choices or decisions for anyone else’s life. This also means that I cannot change others. I can only change myself. I can choose love and forgiveness over fear or anger. I can choose to see the best in someone, or the worst. Kind of like the “glass half full” vs “glass half empty.”
That is a huge relief in itself. I had spent so much precious time in the past wishing and hoping that someone or something external to me would change, that I did not see the one thing I could change. Me.
But it gets even better. There is so much freedom that comes in releasing the feeling that we can change someone, or are responsible for the happiness or success of another person. Not that I don’t want others to be happy or successful; in fact, I do want others to be happy and successful. Wildly successful!
Because, on this journey I have come to learn that what I want for another is directly reflected back at me; therefore, I only wish for another that which I would wish for myself.
In short, it’s the “golden rule,” isn’t it?
A Few Lessons I've Learned
Finally, a few other things I have learned on this path include some general principles that seem to never fail. And that is to understand:
- Either I will control my thoughts and actions, or they will control me. It's about my taking responsibility for everything. No blame, no foul, no anger - just nodding at the "is-ness" of my situation, knowing that I have made choices (consciously or unconsciously) in the past, and I can make new ones going forward.
- That to struggle and resist is futile; that if I “push against” something, it pushes back. (THIS is where TOTAL SURRENDER comes into play.)
- That when I feel, deep in my heart, that life is always on my side while at the same time never being against anyone else, the journey will be that much more pleasant for all of us. (Non-resistance again)
- That the more I feel like something's "about me" the more it's my ego speaking. And yet conversely, the more I allow myself to "let go" of some perceived self-importance, the more I recognize that I'm just a mere speck in the Universe - and the feeling of utter astonishment and humility takes over, and I'm pretty much brought to my knees in awe.
- That if I “let go” and fully SURRENDER, and let whatever It is “take over,” (the Divine Force or whatever you wish to call it), and that it isn’t about "giving up" or "quitting;" it is about allowing a whole lot of good into my life.
There is so very much more that I have yet to put voice and words to.
But it all started when I answered the question posed by “the voice.”
“Yes…Yes, I will.”