The Universe Might Have Something Better in Store for You
It was summer of 2001, six months before my 30th birthday. I had a “good” job as a social worker at a prominent teaching hospital, a “comfortable” apartment just outside Chicago and a tribe of beloved friends and family all nearby. Yet, I had this niggling, persistent feeling that something was “missing.”
My solution? Search for a new job.
I’d been in my current one for several years, but didn’t feel like it offered me much opportunity for much more growth or upward movement.
So I polished my resumé, put out feelers, and within a couple months had a lead on a position that very much interested me. After making it to the third round of interviews, it increasingly looked like I would land the job.
And then the call came: “We’re so sorry, but we’ve decided to hold off on filling this position due to some budgetary constraints within the agency.”
I could feel my chest tighten and tears start to well up as I took a deep breath and said “Thank you for letting me know. Of course I understand. I hope you’ll keep me in mind if anything changes.”
A couple weeks later I was at my favorite little independent bookseller. As I walked by their bulletin board, a colorful flyer for a 12-week group based on The Artist’s Way caught my eye.
If you’re not familiar with The Artist’s Way, it’s a book written by Julia Cameron that outlines a 12-week process she designed to help anyone open up to their innate creativity.
Even though the group met an hour away from where I lived and, felt like a big time commitment, something in me felt compelled to sign up. So I listened to that intuitive nudge and did it.
Over the course of these twelve weeks, I started to embrace the idea that we are all creative beings and, as Julia says, “Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy; pure creative energy.”
Even though I had never really thought of myself as particularly artistic or creative up to that point in my life, I began to understand how there is actually an innate, creative force within everyone. It just manifests itself in different ways.
And when we move through our blocks (Cameron offers many tools in the book to help with this) and open up to our creativity, however it wants to manifest, magical things can happen!
…sometimes, what the Universe has in store for us, is so much better than what we could have ever dreamed of or planned
One of the most revealing exercises for me happened during Week 7. She listed a number of optional activities for the week, and one in particular caught my eye:
Make a Collage. Get a big stack of magazines and cut out images that reflect your life, dreams or interests – arrange them in a way that pleases you.
As I thumbed through my stack of magazines and watched my collage come together, I was surprised to see that it did not resemble my current life at all. There were alpine lakes and pictures of people outdoors hiking and trail running, and everyone looked happy, lean and fit.
While I wouldn’t say I was “miserable” at that time, I was definitely a good 10-15 pounds overweight and still struggling with some residual mild depression and emotional eating years after recovering from a serious eating disorder.
After creating that collage, I had an “aha” moment: my soul wasn’t yearning for a new job, it was yearning to live in the mountains. Years before, when I’d visited Colorado I felt an aliveness and a freedom there I’d never experienced anywhere else.
Four months later, after a new job search, I was offered a position as the full-time lead social worker at a small community hospital in an incredible little mountain town in Colorado (a job I thrived in for the next eight years). I took it and began two months later.
And two years after that? I had an incredible new community of friends and colleagues, had lost 15 pounds and run my first marathon, and was getting out for daily hikes or runs with the new little rescue dog I’d adopted. I felt healthier and more alive than I ever had in my life.
What I realized after all this happened is that sometimes, what the Universe has in store for us, is so much better than what we could have ever dreamed of or planned.
So the next time you’re experiencing a big disappointment (not getting the job, the relationship ending, funding for your project not coming through, your vacation plans getting turned upside down at the last minute, etc.) I hope you’ll remember that often there is something good about to happen just around the corner…
The key is to trust this and keep moving forward, and to remember that sometimes things not working out really just means the Universe has something better in store for you.