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Letting Go and Tuning In
by Carol Adrienne, Ph.D.


One of my readers emailed me with the question "How do you know the difference between intuition and synchronicity and wishful thinking?" Later that day, I got a phone call from my peripatetic friend "Bob," whom I wrote about in The Purpose of Your Life Experiential Guide. You may remember that Bob felt his life purpose had to do with "standing in front of people and inspiring them." Last year Bob was depressed and feeling very disconnected from meaningful work. I had chided him for never answering his phone (he was afraid heíd have to talk to his creditors, so he kept the answering machine off all the time). What we discovered in his pile of telephone messages was a message from someone who was inviting him to do a training at a Silicon Valley company. The happy ending to this story is that Bob is now flying all over the country giving trainings; he is very happy and is making a lot of money. His story picks up from this point.

Bob called me this morning, and I asked him if heíd had any interesting synchronicities. He laughed and said, "I was coming home last night from my last flight after about a month of corporate training sessions. I had traveled through nine airports in three days. This was the very last one, and obviously my mind had started to let go. I was very tired and distracted. During the flight, I had stuck my palm pilot in my seat belt. When I stood up to leave, it slipped into the seat crevice.

"I had to wait thirty minutes for the airport shuttle to go home to Marin County where my car was parked. After I got on the shuttle and settled down for the hour and a half ride home, I realized within ten minutes that I didnít have my palm pilot. I had been travelling for nearly twelve hours; I was hungry; I was exhausted, and my prostate was hurting. The last thing on earth I wanted to do was to return to the airport, which would be a four and a half hour trip once I picked up my car. My mind raced over my alternatives. I thought, ĎI can buy a new one for three hundred dollars. However, I had over three hundred contact names on it, plus my leads for future work and all my friendsí numbers. On top of that, I had no back up of the data since my main computer crashed just as I left on my trip. Losing the palm pilot meant I would have lost everything connected to my business life, including my billing records for invoicing. Groaning inwardly to myself as the bus hurtled along, I began to estimate just how many hours it would take to try to reconstruct new records. Maybe twenty! Maybe more. It was a horrible thought any way I looked at it.

"Normally this kind of snafu drives me up the wall. I could gnash my teeth and imagine smashing my fist through a wall, but I had the hour and a half ride on the bus to take a different tack. The first thing I decided to do was observe how attached I could get to having the pilot back. I felt my frustration and helplessness. But this time I decided to go beyond that immediate reaction. Iíd been studying some spiritual ideas about letting go of attachment to outcomes, so I began to get into a different frame of mind. I imagined really disengaging from caring about getting the pilot back. By that I mean, I had to let go of caring about whether or not I found the pilot, let go of caring about how long it would take to reenter the data, and let go of caring about driving four hours back and forth from the airport to even try to find it.

"During that hour and a half, I was able to get to a point of being willing to accept whatever was going to happen. During that process I also found myself making the assumption that perhaps some good would come out of this situation. It was curious to me that I could look for a higher purpose to show itself, because at other times I would probably have accused myself of self-sabotage. I would have beaten myself up for being so negligent, and so forth. But this time I decided to make the assumption that there must be something good that would come out of all this. I thought, Ďmaybe Iíll meet somebody, or maybe something good will happen once I get to the airport. By the time I could see this new perspective, I felt that I didnít need to know what that good was going to be. I kept myself focused on the curiosity about what would show up. I tried to stay focused on being in the moment so I could notice anything special. This was totally opposite to my normal way of reacting to things.

"When I got to my car, I tried the logical move of calling the airport to see if my palm pilot had been found. Of course, I always want the answer first before I do things! But that effort was in vain. I must have dialed six or seven numbers before I got to a recording, which told me that it would take ten days to locate a missing item. There was no one to talk to. Ten days, I decided was too long to wait.

"Now at this point, I had been up for about fourteen hours. I was ten minutes from home, and I had a tremendous desire to go home. I was so tired, my mind said, Ďjust drive home and deal with it tomorrow, which I decided was the prudent thing to do. But even having made that decision, I found that I unconsciously got in the wrong lane to go north, and found myself unwillingly going south towards the airport anyway.

"By now I am feeling enormously conflicted about what to do. Three different times, I actually turned around to go home, telling myself ĎThis is stupid. Iím exhausted. I donít even know who to ask about it at the airport once I get there.í I pictured trying to park, and it all felt so impossible and stupid. But each time I made a turn to go home, I got this feeling in my body that I can only describe as a "bump". Going home didnít feel right, so I turned back south. I did this three times.

"Finally when I got there, the parking lot for the United terminal was full, so I had to park somewhere else further away. I went up an escalator that I normally wouldnít have taken, and began to think about how I would find Unitedís lost and found. As I come up the escalator, a man who looked like he worked there was leaning up against one of the baggage carts. He was just kind of staring out into space. Since he looked like he worked there, I said, ĎI left my palm pilot on United flight from Denver. Where would I go for the lost and found? He said, "Which flight was it from Denver? I told him the flight number and time, and he said, ĎThis is your lucky day. I was the one who found that.í He took me over to the office where they keep stuff, and he pulled it right out. He said to me, ĎYou know itís a good thing you came back today. You didnít have your name and address in it, and if items arenít claimed in twenty-four hours, people take these things home.í If I had waited till the next day, like my tired body was telling me, my palm pilot would have been gone.

"Iíll never understand how the only guy in the airport who would have known where this thing was, just happened to be standing in the baggage area right at the escalator where I came up. Ordinarily, I wouldnít even have talked to anyone," said Bob. "Usually I try to sort out information without getting involved with people. This was different behavior for me, and he was placed so that I had to walk right by him." Bob and I talked a little about his new behavior, and his new way of handling this very distressing situation. I asked him why he thought he needed to get this lesson at this point in his life.

"Well," he said, " I am learning that whatever guidance you need is always there. As long as you are willing to let God be in control, you can have anything you want. I think I had this experience to help me realize that Iím not in charge and I donít need to be. No matter what solution I think of, God has a better one. My normal problem solving, which I have to admit is a pretty standard male approach-- maybe even arrogant--was stymied at every turn. There was no other person in the whole airport except for this one guy who would have known what happened to that palm pilot." In this case, Bob had a visceral reaction (the feeling of a bump when he tried to turn around and go home) that was his intuition speaking to him as clearly as if he had heard: "Go to the airport now."

An even more interesting point is that Bob probably never would have even thought of asking for the perfect solution to appear. In this case, what if he had said, "Okay, universe. Iíll drive back to the airport, but I want the guy who found the pilot to be standing at any escalator I choose to go up. I want this to be totally effortless." Most of us donít really believe in a million years that something that perfect could be a possibility. What problem are you facing? What would be the most perfect solution you could possibly think of? Then go one step toward even more perfection.... if you can or if you dare!

Another example of everyday intuitive insights comes from, Linda Nanfria, a woman who attended one of my lectures. We started talking how intuition sometimes comes as a vivid picture, and she mentioned her experiences brainstorming with clients to come up with new graphic solutions for advertising. "Ideas just flood in. I expect them and they come. Also, on the personal side, about a year ago, I was thinking about turning fifty. A vivid picture came into my mind of myself painting. I subsequently took a class in drawing and painting. Even though it wasnít a very good class for me, I kept painting because the desire to paint grew stronger and stronger. I had never ever painted before and now Iím in love with it. My landscapes are really good, and people say I should sell them.

"I have also used my intuition for many years to find things that are lost," Linda continued. "I first focus on the object that Iíve lost. But then I let go of caring about whether I find it or not. I donít have to know where it is. I donít have to find it. And then I say, ĎJust take me to the object, whatever it is.í

One last example comes from Jackie Nunes, another person I interviewed for The Purpose of Your Life Experiential Guide. Jackie had been wondering how to break into the field of decorative painting, and one day got the inspiration to volunteer at a homeless shelter after overhearing two colleagues talk. This led her to offering her services there to paint the walls of the shelterís cafť. This morning we talked by phone and she told me that she had been furniture shopping and found a magnificent desk that she wanted, although it was far too expensive for her to buy. Recently, she had been repeatedly asked to paint the walls of a house belonging to a man she knew. "I resisted because it was straight house painting, and I didnít really want to do it. I finally accepted after he asked me for the fifth time. On the first day, I noticed that he had this very desk in his bedroom. I touched it and said, ĎThis is my desk!í But I had to let go of owning it because it was so costly. As it turns out, at the end of the painting job, the man decides he no longer needs the desk because he feels the room is too cluttered. He sold it to me for a price I could afford.

"I wasnít raised to believe I was entitled to nice things. Now when I panic, I try to remember to breathe and say, ĎIím taken care of; what ever the problem is, it doesnít matter. Iím taken care of.í"

Have a lovely month following your intuitions.

 

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