What makes me think that the Universe has let me down when things move in a different direction than I planned or expected? Last year, I spent about 20 unpaid days over a 9 month period putting together a project proposal. I had a sponsoring agency, the right partners, a good project with the potential to protect many people from air pollution, and a funding pool with objectives that aligned nicely with my project. But today, 7 months after submitting the proposal, I learned that the project will not be funded.
Now, at some level, this is not a big deal. I am not living in a war zone; my community is not being devastated by AIDS; and my children are growing up in a safe and peaceful country that provides them with many opportunities. But at another level, for me, today, this is a big deal. Because this project was supposed to provide me with my income for the next year. So, tonight I am having that conversation with myself again; the one about whether I can trust the Universe.
Last year, when I was waiting to hear about another proposal, I told a colleague that all my (unpaid) work would be for naught if the project were not funded. She turned to me with conviction and said: “No it wouldn’t because some time down the road, funding would become available for this project, and people will remember that you put this proposal together.” She was reminding me to trust the Universe; to trust that energy directed at good work that serves “the people” will be rewarded.
But I am also reminded of a lecture by Marianne Williamson when she says: “God is not your errand boy!” It may be that the Universe plays no role in our lives at all. Or maybe the Universe will provide another opportunity to do this project or one similar to it somewhere down the road. Or maybe, I am supposed to do something else right now; something that would be more satisfying; or some piece of work that is more badly needed than the work I proposed. Why would I think that I know better than the Universe about what I should be doing with my life right now?
If I am going to try to trust the Universe, I have to learn to see life’s unexpected twists and turns in different way. Rather than seeing them as disappointments or failures or bad luck, I have to see them as directions, nudges or signs from the Universe. I am going to have to learn to slow down, take a deep breath, and wait….for inspiration, new opportunities, or some sign about what is next. I am going to have believe that the Universe knows better than me about what I need to be doing with my life.