Let the Universe Lead You

Wanderlust Let Go of Control: The Universe Has Your Back

The modern world is overflowing with choices, whether it’s the twenty plus breakfast cereal options, the millions of bands there are to listen to, or even the possible career paths you can pick from. Generally, having a lot of different choices is a good thing. Never before have we had the ability to completely and utterly personalize every aspect of our lives. Whatever your interests are, there is a seemingly endless amount of content and products just for you.

Despite the positives of our diverse, jam-packed environments, there are also negatives. Have you ever heard the term “analysis paralysis”? Essentially it means being so overwhelmed with options that you cannot come to a decision. It becomes impossible to know what the “best” choice will be, so you end up not making any choice at all, just wasting time weighing your options until you run out the clock or give up out of frustration. I’m not sure if this is something that affects everyone or if certain types of people are more inclined to experience this, but I personally have never identified so much with a term before. It feels like I am in a nearly constant state of analysis paralysis.

I struggle and fret over every single decision I make. The more options I have to choose from the more incapable I am of choosing any of them. Especially when it’s a purely subjective decision. No choice is necessarily going to be better than another, yet I am fixated on somehow finding the “perfect” selection. Not only that, I also spend time after making a decision wondering, with mild regret, if I should have chosen something else.

Until yesterday, I never really had any possible solution to this dilemma. As I was scrolling through Pinterest, searching for artistic inspiration for my daily drawing, an interesting thought occurred to me. I was puttering around, going back and forth about what I’d like to draw, when I considered how I might feel differently about the situation if I was someone who subscribed to the believe that “everything happens for a reason.” What if instead of fretting about the other possible ideas I haven’t found yet, I simply commit to one that has been presented to me?

Intellectually, I know that it really doesn’t matter what I draw or write about. I am only doing these things because I enjoy doing them. The end result is basically irrelevant as far as I’m concerned. So I know I could be equally satisfied with whatever I choose. The anxiety and discomfort of searching for the “perfect choice” is definitely not worth it. But even constantly reminding myself of this fact, doesn’t seem to override my natural desire to pick the “right” thing and be able to weigh absolutely all of my options before coming to a decision about what that thing is, regardless of how innocuous of a decision I may be making.

One of the most valuable things I’ve learned in the past few years, though, is the importance of perspective and mental framing. Instead of viewing it as a highly important decision versus one that doesn’t matter at all, I’ve decided to try a different angle. From now on, I want to view the initial options presented to me as special, meaningful selections being offered up by the universe. Whether or not you genuinely believe this to be the case is irrelevant. You can choose to suspend disbelief for your own purposes. I want to choose to believe the first few things that jump out to me or spark my interest aren’t just random, I am drawn to them for a reason. I don’t need to shop around for all the other billions of options out there before making my choice. In fact, I could even close my eyes and click a random image. Whatever thoughts or inspiration bubble to the surface from that are what I am supposed to be focusing on, not everything else that might be available.

I think actively engaging in this mode of thinking will serve me greatly. Not only will it help me make decisions more easily, but it will remind me to have fun and keep a lighthearted attitude. I think it will also allow me to be more confident in my decisions. Believing that the few options initially presented to you are significant and hold meaning prevents you from endlessly second guessing yourself and wondering if there might be something better if you keep looking.

This mindset is also beneficial in your everyday life. If we can truly practice the belief that everything that happens to us is important and was supposed to be that way, then we can avoid that fear of missing out or the displeasure of wishing things had been different for us. Trusting that the universe has placed us on a particular path for a reason keeps us in the present moment. Without the constant tendency to feel cheated by reality when it doesn’t match what we wanted or expected, we are able to fully embody and benefits from the experiences we actually have.

With time and perspective we often look back at horrible times in our lives with understanding or even gratitude. We realize that sometimes the worst things that happen to us become opportunities that lead us to where we want to be. The only thing we need to bring the comfort of that perspective to the present moment is trust. Trust that each moment in your life was specifically selected just for you, that it was something you needed, even if it’s a hard lesson, even if you don’t understand it yet. Trust that the things presented to you in your life are meaningful, not random. Even if that’s a load of shit and isn’t true, what does it matter? We’ll never really be able to know if that’s true or not, so we might as well live our lives believing what makes us a happier, more grateful person. I used to be someone that believed the truth was all that mattered at any cost. But now I see that was only making me miserable, and in so many circumstances “truth” is subjective and dependent on your perspective and what you decide to focus on. What really matters in this life is being happy, loving, and grateful.

Trust The Universe | Kristin Heldt Art

Hiding Behind Religion

A few months ago, there was a child that came to my office to be interviewed. She was going to an extremely small private school, like 25 kids total in K-12 small. Like most private schools, this school was centered around a religious group. While she came to disclose sexual abuse, the female PRINCIPLE had grabbed her breasts insisting that she must be stuffing her bra, the other things she told me were just as disturbing, if not more so. This school was simply not a school by any stretch of the word. These kids were not being taught anything besides that everyone in public school was a Satanist and going to hell. This “school” was essentially a little cult. The worst part was that even though CPS reported our concerns to the state board of education, nothing has or will come of it. The school will not be investigated or shut down. The offending principle will not even be removed or prosecuted.

Ever since I met that poor, sweet girl that day, I’ve been thinking about that school. Thinking about it looming on a hillside in my very own town, brainwashing children, robbing them of an education. It makes me sick, but there is nothing that I can do. Even more disturbing, I know that this child’s story is not at all an isolated incident. How many other small private schools like this exist in the country? More than I’d like to know, I’m sure. But not only schools are using this religious excuse to shield them from the consequences they’d otherwise have to face for their atrocious actions.

The past few nights I’ve been watching Cults and Extreme Beliefs on Hulu. Even though I had heard about what goes on inside most of these organizations already, each episode exposed even more horrors I wasn’t aware of. From what I can tell, every single religious organization uses this status to get away with abusing children. Despite the majority of the country as well as local and federal authorities understanding the abuse taking place, nothing is being done about it.

I theorize that this is solely due to the government feeling hesitant to attack any religious sect. They fear negative publicity and the legal battleground that freedom of religion has created. The United States was founded on the idea that our citizens are free to practice any religion that they like. It seems obvious that it would only be a matter of time before people with nefarious motives would take advantage of that. What I once thought was an unfortunate side effect of isolated religious communities is now seeming more and more like the whole point behind them. The focus is child abuse, the method just happens to be through religion. Religion is an afterthought, cleverly used as a shroud to conceal these monsters from the law.

Not only am I becoming more and more informed about the way religion shields sexual predators, we see every day in the news how religion is also used as an excuse to endanger public health. Long before Covid-19 made it’s debut, churches were using their beliefs as a reason to not vaccinate their children. This has led to viruses once thought to have been totally eradicated in the developed world, to raise their ugly heads once again. Children are dying. They are being raped and beaten and brainwashed. All in the name of religious freedom.

At what point will the world start to realize that a parent’s rights cannot and should not overshadow the rights of their children? “Your personal liberty to swing your arm ends where my nose begins.” This has always been one of my favorite quotes. Yet it has never seemed to apply when it comes to children. Despite avowing to “protect our children,” in the eyes of the government, children still seem to be considered property. You’re allowed to hit them, you’re allowed to rob them of an education, and if you’re “religious” enough, you’re also allowed to rape them.

I understand the historical events that have created this fear of targeting different religions, but that fear cannot be allowed to result in religious organizations and leaders acting with impunity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t believe procreation is a “right.” Especially when you do not have the physical, mental, or emotional competence to raise and protect that child. How can it be your right to create a life of suffering for another who is helpless and at your mercy? I suppose I should be happy about how much progress we have made toward installing protections for children within the law. I realize in the past things were much worse. However, I cannot find any peace when I know that the progress we have made is not nearly enough, that children are still being subjected to unimaginable abuse each and every day.

6 Creepy Cults You Never Knew Existed

Blocking Your Own Energy

Premium Vector | Buddha meditating in the single lotus position. hexagram  representing anahata chakra in yoga on a background.

Yes, I am still going on about energy and chakras. I was thinking as I drove to work this morning about my normal pattern of energy. I wake up, I generally feel pretty good, calm. But from the moment my alarm goes off, I can feel my body recoiling at the smallest things. I have already begun the processes of closing myself off from the world. I’ve begun the process of impeding my own flow of energy.

My mind immediately begins running through all the things I’ve got to do. Let the dog out, feed my pets, make coffee, take my vitamins, brush my teeth. My chest tightens, my breath gets shallow. I don’t want to workout, I don’t want to shower, I don’t want to drive to work. Tighten, close. I resist the idea of all my responsibilities. The day has hardly started and I’m worried about the evening, the next day. Tighten, close. I think about everything that went wrong the day before. I doubt myself. I am filled with fear. I agonize over what has already happened and everything that will or could happen. Tighten, close.

No wonder I am so exhausted by the end of the day! Whether you believe in the idea of chakras or not, all of this resistance, all of this worry and dread and regret and fear, no doubt has an effect on the body and mind. Whether you imagine it as cutting off or blocking an internal source of limitless energy or just using up the finite amount we have to draw from each day, it’s easy to see why there is such a huge difference from the way we feel in the morning to the way we feel by the evening.

The reason this idea of closing off the chakras, namely the heart chakra strikes me so much, is because it helps me understand why I usually feel like a totally different person in the morning and at night. Being tired just didn’t seem to fully satisfy as an explanation. It’s not just that I’m tired. I am also more stressed. I often even feel hopeless, uninspired, like no amount of beauty or passion can reach me, like those things never existed for me at all. When I view this phenomenon from the lens of the chakras, this drastic shift in perspective makes more sense to me.

When I first wake up in the morning, I have just returned from a wonderful period of total rest and relaxation. All the tightness and blockages I’ve stored up from the following day have released in the night. My heart is open. And as a result, for the first few hours of the day, I feel open. I am happy, excited, passionate, inspired. I can feel the energy from my heart space rippling out from my body, driving me onward into my day. But as I move through my routines, I start to block off that energy source little by little. Until nothing is left. My heart is closed. I am tired. I feel desolate inside.

Viewing things this way also helps me because it allows me to have hope. If I had expended all of my daily allotment of energy, what more could I do beside accept that I will always revert to this awful state of mind by the end of each day? Yet if it is simply a matter of unblocking the limitless source of my energy, I actually have a chance, regardless of what transpired earlier or how much stress I experienced. I always have the choice to open myself back up. To breathe and release. To let that energy flow through me once again.

I realize this all sounds like hippy-dippy nonsense to a lot of people. In fact, just a few years ago I would have been one of the people scoffing and rolling their eyes. But even at my most cynical and skeptical, I understood that there is a huge power in just truly believing something. We’ve all heard about the placebo effect. So even if none of this is true, it’s all about what works for you and what you find to believe in. I don’t really care if this can or can’t be proven for once in my life. I can visualize my heart opening. I can use this imagery to release tension in my chest, in my neck, my shoulders. I feel better. I can breathe more deeply. I am discovering ways in which I am able to live with more ease. And that’s all that really matters. I hope that sharing this new perspective is able to help at least a few other people live with ease too.