There is no doubt in my mind that a key element of my life’s purpose is to be a sponge and take in as much as possible during this life experience. With an open and inquisitive mind, and a thirst to learn more about life around me, came a most amazing opportunity to learn something with every twist and turn life takes. This humbles any belief that I KNOW things. Instead I formed beliefs and perceptions that are molded like Jello, until such time that new experiences cause me to break the mold to form new perceptions and beliefs. These times tend to happen when I finally am able to slow the mind and relax the body from being on the hamster wheel, which seems to be spinning faster and faster these days and marks so much of my life.

This reminds me of a period in my life where I was fortunate to have gotten off the hamster wheel which marked a peak in my spiritual awakening, where I came to grips with much deeper and broader understanding of the meaning of life. I was in my thirties, and had returned from a spiritual retreat, where I was a soaked sponge, overflowing from new ideas, thoughts and concepts that I was exposed to. During this time, my ability to “see” things was at an extreme level, a level I had never experienced before, and have not since then. It was as if information was in front of me 24/7, answering questions that I was conscious that I was asking, and providing information to questions I was not even aware that I was asking. Sounds lunatic, almost crazy, doesn’t it. And no, there was no drug use going on either (-:

So let me provide a few examples. The risk in doing this is that if you only focus on each specific example, they could each be written off as coincidence. What is hard to share is the constant flow that was going on. Frankly it was overload, and to a point of overwhelmingness that I don’t believe can be sustained in the human condition.

I spent a lot of time on my motorcycle those days, riding the country roads, smelling everything around me from the manure on the farms to the smell of fresh country air. I could feel any variations in temperature as I made my way through the hills and valleys. The experience would somehow let my mind run free. What was different was that I was super aware of my surroundings, allowing life to be my teacher. I had never recalled being so conscious before.

It seemed as if all I needed to do was to be aware of a question I was pondering. Soon road signs, billboards, street names, and even customized license plates provided answers. I came to a fork in the road and stared at the sign signifying this, which caused me to reflect at a key decision I had to make in my life at that time where I had to choose my path. Here I was in the same situation, wondering which direction to take on the road. I made it on intuition which proved to be the wrong way to get to my desired destination. This helped me to realize that making my life decision also required more thought. I tended to be very spontaneous, and this decision required more than a quick decision.

I went with a friend of mine a few days later where we boarded a ferry. We stood on the deck when I noticed a woman’s jacket that looked like a motorcycle jacket. I watched her as my friend said something that sounded like, “go talk to her.” I stopped and asked him what he said and it was something else entirely. I thought I was going nuts. Once again I noticed the woman’s jacket. She was standing next to the guard rail. It was one of those feelings that only I knew was true, which was that I had to talk with her. I excused myself, telling my friend that I had to do something.

I had no idea what to say. I had a phobia about talking with strange women and was an introvert to boot. So I decided I would just tell her the truth, as crazy as it may sound. I did, and it was not long before she talked about how she was contemplating suicide. It was one of many experiences I would have where I followed the guideposts that were presented to me. In this situation, she was amazed at what drew me to talk to her. I remember saying to her that if nothing else, she could consider this a sign that it was not yet her time to die. I hope that was the case.

For a period of about 3 months, this was my daily reality. It was amazing yet overwhelming. Life was providing me with everything I needed, making me realize that I was accountable now for doing something with this information. The most amazing experience was the series of events that led me to connect with a woman who was getting ready for another trip to Africa to volunteer. It would take paragraphs to relay the detail and unexpected turns and symbols that led to this. And then when I finally called her, she answered the phone by saying, “I was anticipating this call today.” Three months later I landed in Africa for one of the most amazing experiences in my life.

These opportunities were never possible before because I was so clouded by my personal issues and closed mind. As I ventured back into “reality” having to return to Corporate America and raise a family, I fall prey to all the distractions around me. As my life became more and more stressed, I was starting to have several problems with my car. Eventually the transmission started to slip gears. I was only more stressed until I stopped long enough to focus on nothing. It was then that a small voice reminded me how life was simply there to guide me and that the problems with my car were symbolic of the issues I was having myself. I was losing my ability to gain traction as my own transmission was slipping.

So if you find yourself lost, stressed, overwhelmed, let this be a reminder to do the opposite of what our brain is telling us to do, which is to run faster, stress more. Instead, take a break from your problems and look around you. Life will most likely have ways to provide you with what you need.