An old friend recently called me out. She said I was hiding when I moved to a remote hilltop in New Zealand in 2011. At the time, I laughed and agreed with her, but it’s not true.
I wasn’t hiding; I was experimenting.
You see – Yogis are curious bunch. We like to test ourselves just to see what it’s like – to see what we’ll discover.
I wanted to explore what it meant to be me – away from the constraints of what I’d used to define me.
Was there a me other than my DC persona?
Could I unlearn the reactions and responses that colored my relationships with my parents, siblings, and friends?
So I moved as far away as possible – not to hide, but to discover who I was beyond the habits, beliefs, thoughts, and reactions I’d allowed to stand for me.
Living alone on the hill, I tried on a bunch of different ways of being, looking for the right fit. One day, I chose to surrender to God.
Now, I’m not sure my version of God matches up with any version you’ve heard of, or if I could even describe it all that well. But one morning, I just let go.
I’d been so frustrated trying to figure out my path and purpose – what I was doing and why. I knew I had gifts and talents, but I had no idea how to use them.
After a particularly demoralizing few days, I woke up and said aloud “That’s it. I give up. I surrender”.
Clearly thinking wasn’t getting me anywhere, so maybe releasing my need to control would…
My only plans that day were to drive the hour over the mountain and down the coastline to the grocery store. As I locked the house to leave, I turned over my life to a higher good.
I asked it to act through me – and promised to follow any guidance without question or hesitation. Just PLEASE show me what to do! I begged.
Before leaving town, I needed to drop off a magazine at a friend’s house just down the hill. I hadn’t been there before but she gave me directions and I found it easily enough.
I knocked on the side door and an older woman I didn’t know answered. Without looking up she said “I need help” and retreated into the house. Confused, I followed.
Seconds later, I was covered in water – the pipes in her bathroom had burst and were spurting everywhere.
Having just finished renovating my first home a few months prior, I knew exactly what to do. Except the emergency shut of valves were no where to be found, and the room was starting to flood.
So I grabbed as many towels as I could and held the burst pipes tight with my hands while she called New Zealand’s 911.
The fireman came soon enough, turned off the water at the road, and started to help clean up. My friend – who actually lived next door – rushed over when she saw the trucks and was shocked to see me there.
Apparently, I’d turned into the wrong driveway. The older woman had been expecting her physical therapist and invited me in thinking I was her.
A random and fortunate coincidence to some. Proof of universal power to me.
For the rest of the day, I vacillated between ecstatic, disbelieving, and intimidated.
I’d never had that kind of feedback before. Frankly, it scared me – both the extent to which I’d surrendered and the immediacy of the response.
Plus, as powerful as the experience was, it didn’t answer bigger questions like – what does this mean about my purpose? How can I make a living and still be of service?
But even as I short-circuited my lesson in trust by doubting surrender’s wisdom, I learned something valuable that day:
It doesn’t matter if you can solve the problem – it only matters that you show up to be part of the solution.
I didn’t know where that woman shut off valve was. I couldn’t stop the water from flooding her house. I couldn’t even stop her from falling and bumping her head as she hurried to find towels and call for help.
I didn’t save her from any of what happened. But I did help.
I truly served – beyond my ego and needs. I surrendered, showed up, and allowed the universe to work through me.
Now I know what’s possible with faith. I know there’s more than my limited view can see.
So now before each client, group call, or yoga class – I ask, let me help.
Because it’s enough to ask to participate in something bigger than you.
It’s enough to quietly offer even a small piece of your gifts in service to the journey of others.
So if you’re stuck feeling confused about your purpose and wondering what you’re supposed to be doing here, put your thoughts aside for a day. Know that – just by living – you are already valuable, already needed, and already of service. Even when that service doesn’t look like how your mind thinks it should.
Give yourself a break. Put a little space between you and what your ego thinks that you need to achieve to be living to your fullest potential – and surrender.
Surrender so fully into what life asks of you in this moment that you finally hear it’s gentle call. Then respond.
Even if it’s not the call you expected, in the way you expected, or when you expected it.
It’s the call you’re receiving right now, today – and it’s YOUR call.
You’re the only one who can answer.
Be free. Be brave. Be YOU.