This week I had the most fantastic day with my daughter as we drove off to the other side of Melbourne to meet the publisher’s photographer at their studio for the formal photos for my She-Monk book cover.
Leading up to the day I had done everything literally by the book (like the pun?) trying to keep it as profesh as possible, following the universal clues like for the first time I hired a stylist that I sat next to at a branding conference who was fabulous fun. A gorgeous, gorgeous lady who did a great job and helped me keep on brand with a great concept for the photo shoot.
My stylist (love saying that) and mentor both gave me strict instructions such as to have my hair up, not to wear too much jewellery, wear block colours, to get my make-up done and how to wear my insanely gorgeous new Sass & Bide blingy and classy shawl. I know you know girls how special that shawl must be…. I was photo shoot ready and happy.
On the day I let my 16-year-old daughter do my makeup as she’s a natural and knows it and did a great job. I put my hair up in a sweet bun, grabbed my gear and at the last minute, an unyielding inner urge came to grab something else ‘just in case’. I mean it was really strong, not the kind you question. It led me to a timeworn top that was in the bottom of a drawer that I absolutely love, but it is so loved that it had wear marks and a rip at the back, but I just couldn’t throw it away.
Yep. That top. Rip and all. I ironed it as it was, threw it in the car and drove off to the other side of the city.
Now even though I did do modelling as a younger person that didn’t mean I loved having my photos taken and that 25 years later I’d remember the moves. I’m as complicated and awkward as anything with the process, and the photographer got that! He set everything up, told some corny Dad jokes which I adored and did his best. Everything looked good; my shawl was doing its sparkly thing and even though I looked severely constipated when smiling at the camera, the photos apparently, were ok.
About half way though something in me threw off the shawl. I couldn’t stand it anymore. The photographer excitedly then came over and pull out my hair to remove the bun and in the corner of his eye saw my old ripped top and said ‘put that on!’
Hmm. Ok. Totally off on a tangent and away from pure brand here but what the heck. At least the general colour was almost perfect. I broke nearly every ‘rule’ in the book (another book pun!), and my fun meter went through the roof. The book cover took on a life of its own, and it felt entirely directed by the universe.
The interesting thing was that the whole way through I was surrendered and didn’t have too much attachment to the outcome, I was simply ticking boxes to get the best job done. Had we not gone through the styling process I still would never have gone to where I went and heck, never learned what I did about what suits me and doesn’t. Who would pull out an old kaftan kind of top with a rip on the back shoulder for one of their most important photos? Maybe I shouldn’t be divulging all this to you before seeing the cover!
What I loved was the pull of intuition. We all have this, but some of us don’t listen to it. When we can go with it and make no meaning, then fabulous things can happen. If our minds come in and cross examine in that precious moment, then we would never be creative or take risks and moving with uncertainty. Can you relate to that? Can you put your hand up to getting overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings and outcomes that you have blocked some divine guidance?
My top ended up looking a million bucks in the photos. That was the genius of the photographer, and I trusted him. He was sparkling with creativity, and it was a joy to watch.
Did you, by the way, grab the bit where I said make no meaning of the intuition that comes? As in keep that measuring, boxing, judging part of the mind out of it. Oh and the fear mind while you’re at it. That’s crucial. Go with it instead, entertain it. See where it takes you. For me, it was overwhelmingly clear that day and other days it's usually subtle and delicate. Our skill in spiritual life mastery aka as She Monks is to know to stop and listen or feel or see the intuition, however it presents for us. We all have equal access to it and those who do daily practices like meditation and self-enquiry build it. Even the most unintuitive person can develop their intuition with daily practice and grow, curating their spiritual energy.
Is there something in your life that you are holding too tightly and in the pursuing of the ideal outcome, it’s causing you and those around you suffering? Maybe are you asleep and don’t know it and have zero outcomes for anything but sitting with your pets that you also have shut down your intuition and divine guidance in apathy and ambivalence? Maybe you’re a rebel to the point of stuck and can’t read the clues past your attitude and end up not passing ordinary? Or as Billy Connelly would say, beige. I hear you shudder. I’m a rebel, and it’s taken work to know not to rebel against divine intel which sometimes I still can do especially if it is talking me out of something I know will be pleasurable. Remember also that intel directed at us can come through the channel of another person…
The truth is we are conscious beings who are meant to be awake and present in this moment. I read a quote the other day (sorry, can’t remember who by) that went something like – if God gave us about 10% free will, then the most intelligent use of that is to give it back to God. Pretty good. My experience is that when we are on purpose, being creative and open and having an experience of joy then divine assistance is greater. It’s a way of moving towards God and using this life the right way. When we participate in life and not try to micro-manage every outcome and every person, then we access our true nature and find another avenue to happiness.
For now, simply notice when you become present to new options about something. Your intuition may be communicating with you and look at embracing any insights without over thinking. Be also on the lookout for the ego mind pretending to be intuition. The difference will be the feeling and purity. The ego will have an agenda, pure will won't. Try not to shut down this pure voice as I could have with what happened to me. Had my rational mind had any sway it would have talked me out of taking along a seemingly inappropriate albeit lovely top, and possibly had a go at myself too for being ridiculous.
Maybe the truth is I’m a dag at heart and felt much more comfortable, and the artist wanted to be let out! My homework is to get used to this totally different book cover outcome. ;-)