6 Questions to Access Your Inner WisdomYou can do anything you want to do in this lifetime. ~The Dalai Lama
One bone numbingly cold winter morning in January 2003, my husband Tony and I were carefully making our way to work, which was no easy commute.
At the time we were living in Kiev, the capital city of the Ukraine where winter months are so frigid, it hurts to draw a breath.
We had moved there to take up teaching positions in an international school after having been living in an ashram in India.
Initially we had been excited by the thought of such a dramatic change of scene, but the reality of it was proving to be brutal.
The working environment was choked by a tight, controlling, iron hand. Outside, the minus 18F temperature challenged us as winter began taking hold and in the under-heated school I shivered so much, I began to wear my coat, hat and gloves.
Our daily trek consisted of a nose-to-nose jam-packed ride on the subway and a walk through a park. Then we would cross a railway track and finally venture down two small slopes before climbing steps to an elevated neighborhood.
However, on this particular morning, after making our way across the track, Tony and I stared at one another in silent dismay. Layers of snow had compacted the lower slope densely, producing a black, glossy, frozen surface.
Tony encouraged me by going first as I followed. I placed one tentative foot in front of the other. Despite having iron cleats on the bottom of my boots, I slid dramatically across the ice, somersaulted and landed back-to-front on all fours.
I straddled the slippery surface rigid with shock and knew I was in trouble. Severe pain was thumping out of my right wrist and up into the arm, accompanied by an odd sound slicing the air. The sound had cut through sticky trees and echoed in the far distance.
After a few seconds, I realized I was hearing my own howling.
Everything began to happen in slow motion. The shock of the event lifted my awareness to a level that extended outside of my physical body.
With this elevated and expanded perspective I became aware of a number of things simultaneously.
First, I knew I had broken my wrist in two places. Second, I became aware that,
“This is happening because I am cut off from my spiritual and creative essence.”
Third, I heard an inner voice firmly state,
“This situation can not continue!”
In that instant, I knew the work I was doing had to change. While I had been making a valiant attempt to teach English, my heart was definitely not in it.
I was starved creatively, leading me to feeling cut off from the richness of my interior world, the result of which was misery.
Now as a perfect wake-up call, the universe was responding and I had no choice but to take note.
A few days later this dramatic insight was clearly reinforced. While we had anticipated staying in Kiev for two years, the Ukrainian Director suddenly announced she was cutting down on her more expensive foreign staff and our contracts were not going to be renewed.
Thankfully, we don’t always have to suffer an accident or illness in order to listen to inner messages.
A surefire way of unearthing ‘where we are’ in our life is to take a few moments to slow down, sit with a pen and paper and engage in self-inquiry.
We can ask:
- Am I enthusiastic about all aspects of my life?
- Do I feel frustrated and ‘stuck’ in my work?
- Is my energy often depleted?
- Do I have unfulfilled dreams and goals and just don’t know how to get there?
- Are certain fears and resistances blocking me from taking action?
- Do I feel I have a greater purpose that is not quite clear to me?
While this inquiry is simple, it is potent and empowering.
Once we begin listening to our inner wisdom, the universe happily points the way and leads us in new and often previously unforeseen directions.
For me, my bone breaking, job-loss experience in Kiev was pivotal. It provided the perfect opportunity to re-focus, articulate my dreams in relation to the work I wanted to do and follow my heart by returning to the islands I so love—The Bahamas.
Once back on Bahamian soil, everything magically fell into place.
Several years after first hearing it, I was finally ready to take the Dalai Lama’s quote to heart [opening quote at top] … To create the kind of work I was being inner-directed to do.
I knew it had to be now or never.