There I was, scared stiff. I was in 7th grade at a slumber party at my best friend's house. We were playing the Ouija board, supposedly speaking to spirits or ghosts, and what it landed on freaked me out!
I grew up in a mostly non-religious family. It was an odd combination of only going to church on Easter and never saying grace. I would ask my parents, "Why are there so many religions? Which one is real?" My mom would reply, "Whatever you believe is true."
Now I was a true investigator since the ripe age of 5. I grew up in the country in a cabin and explored the secret lives of creek snails and sat still until the butterflies would land on me at the watering hole. I wanted to know the truth about everything. So when I heard, "Whatever you believe is true." I had my first existential crisis to navigate.
After playing with the concepts of ghosts and spirits in middle school with friends, doing fake seances, and having weirdly unexplainable experiences as a child, I decided that extrasensory anything was way too scary and I wanted nothing to do with it.
I was so scared of the dark growing up I would duck my head and look away as I crept my hand around the corner of my room to flip on the light.
I made a pact with myself to only believe in what is measurable, observable and objective. This served me for years. I never thought of life beyond there being 'more than meets the eye.'
Until one day...
I was laying on my bed. I had hit what felt like rock bottom. I suffered from anxiety, depression and stress eating. After I overate, yet again, I laid there and asked myself over and over, "What is wrong with me?" "What is wrong with me?" "Why can't I figure this out?"
I felt numb. Helpless.
I decided it would be best to distract myself. I got myself up, walked myself over to my mother's bookshelves and plopped myself down right next to one of them. She had what seemed like thousands of books. History, fiction, self-help, gardening, cooking, non-fiction, biographies. You name it.
Well, without giving it much thought I grabbed a book.
I opened that book to a random page.
I glanced down at a random paragraph.
What happened next changed me forever. My eyes landed on the exact sentence, "This should be a relief to all of you out there who have been wondering "What's wrong with me?"
I gasped. Everything I knew about reality seemed to crumble. I just asked the question. I was answered. But how was this possible? There are thousands of books, how did I happen to pick this one. There are hundreds of pages, how did I happen to open to that page? There were many, many sentences. How did my eyes happen to land on that one???
I sat stunned. I cried. Maybe there was help out there? Maybe there is more to life than science and data points and measurements. What just happened???
This experience began my 20-year search for the "more to life than meets the eye". What had I been missing? What is the truth about religions, God, science?
What I have since learned, I will be sharing with you in these Chronicles. If you are curious, atheist or agnostic and yet wonder what is beyond sight, I hope my experience and research provide some fun and inspiring insights along your spiritual exploration.
P.S. I went back years later and found the book in my mom's collection to double check that my memory was accurate. I am a skeptic first, so I had to be sure my brain didn't extraplate a memory or it wasn't a dream.
The book is Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, by Dr. Susan Jeffers. I found it, page 4.
My mom has her name in it, "J. Bartch". I highlighted the sentence in green and posted a picture of it below. (The orginal had no underlines or highlights that would have pulled my site to that phrase.)
My life was swirling. I was a single mom. I owned and operated my own businesses. I became a professional coach because I wanted to help people completely transform their lives. I felt called. So when I took the leap, I was scratching my head around why it was so hard to make ends meet.
I had crafted a really wonderful and amazing balance as an entrepreneur. My first business was a handmade tile studio. I created meaningful murals for people’s homes and also for public memorials. My second business was my private coaching practice.
In the mornings I would get messy and creative. In the afternoons I would help people reach a new potential. Yet, why did I always just get by when it came to making ends meet? Why couldn’t I get ahead? As a single mom of three I was in constant fear over whether or not I would have bills met next month.
The fear: 1) impacted my confidence as a coach, 2) kept me reconsidering my passions and 3) was exhausting.
I would argue with myself, “I just need to toss my passions aside and get a real job. Passions are a luxury.” And then I’d land another client, or a mosaic installation and think, “maybe this time it will be different finally.”
And… I had my morning affirmations. And... I set clear goals. And… I had my vision board with pictures of healthy food and trips to Greece. I was doing all those Law of Attraction things they say to do! So why was the Law of Attraction not working for me!?
I also scratched my head because my clients received excellent benefits from working with me and the art was fulfilling and brought people joy. So, shouldn’t that just automatically equate to wild success and financial freedom?!
It turns out not necessarily. This pattern of stress and poverty went on for years. But what I learned is that it wasn’t poverty of the checkbook that was the biggest issue, it was the poverty in my mind.
My dear friend, and coach, pointed it out to me directly. After watching me struggle one last time she finally said, “My dear, it makes complete sense. You are living in constant fear and so the message you are sending out is one of lack. Fear blocks abundance. Let’s get you on the track to abundance.”
She had me make a daily list: 1) My responsibilities for today. 2) God’s responsibilities for the day.
In essence she had me delegate what I couldn’t control, but I could ask for a positive outcome, to the Universe. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but it felt like a weight was lifted each time I made a list and asked for help.
My time was also so choked because I was trying to do it all myself. I had to honor my limits and learn how to let go and let God.
Each morning I made my list. It would look something like this:
Laurel’s Action Items: Universe Helps:
That was Step one. Asking.
It turns out asking is great, but unless we are open to receiving, we can block the very abundance we seek. This leads to step two. Receiving.
Step two was much harder. I had to decide I had had enough of fear and struggle and stife. I had to fire fear as a foe. I took a stand and declared, “From now on I walk by Faith, not by sight.”
I refused to live in fear anymore. If a thought crept in, or a pink slip from a utility company showed up, I would say, “That’s nice. God always provides. Help is on its way.” End of story. No doubt was allowed in for this experiment. I was even prepared to keep walking in faith, even if the utilities were turned off.
What was the result?
The first month I decided to pay only all the bills that were not connected to my credit. I held the faith that the money would show up and was on its way. I got behind in month one on utilities, but refused to give in. The water company threatened to turn it off. “God provides. It is on its way.” I restated.
The second month money started showing up. I got caught up. I thought that was nice, but not enough proof to completely prove faith was the culprit for reversing the fear pattern.
The third month, I began to get ahead. I had money for the kid’s clothes in advance and felt a sigh of relief. While over the 3 months of fear fasting, I wasn’t living in fear, but in the back of my mind there was a question of whether or not this shift was going to work out, or not.
Six months later all was still going really well. I thought, “Well isn’t this interesting. Maybe the fear was keeping me more stuck than I knew.” I kept it up and guess what? My income thermostat setting lifted. I haven’t struggled since. Even months that normally dip don’t bother me or last very long.
What I learned:
When we live in the “no”, life goes so slow.
When we move into the Know, life really begins to grow!
This is my story. How would you like to write yours? What can you delegate to the Universe?
Laurel Elders, PCC, CEC
Laurel helps people wake up delighted to be leading the life they've been called to step into. She is a professionally trained and credentialed Integrative Life & Leadership Coach. Laurel's coaching methodologies teach you how to take life's roadblocks and use them as stepping stones through your own wisdom, allowing you to fully lead through your calling!