the divine matchmaker


www.sanctuaryforchange.com

It is a spectacular morning as I write this. The sky is clear blue and the air, blessed with warm sunshine, is carrying the smell of freshness in the slight breeze that is greeting me through the open windows. I feel so lucky to be alive. It’s times like this that I feel moved to reflect in awe about the magical nature of life. It’s magic because it is so perfect. I look at my own life with grateful wonder about how perfectly the pieces have all come together, even if it didn’t seem like it when they were in motion. And since we were all created equally, I have to imagine that your life has unfolded in the same way. After all, I don’t really think that the universe favors me.

The perfection that I feel particularly grateful for today is the gift of love that has been bestowed upon me. As I sit here thinking about it I wonder if this gift is a product of fate or the law of attraction. I know that it doesn’t really matter, yet it does make for a good debate over some key spiritual principles. You see, I’d been a dating gal for almost twelve years before I met Dean. I rode through this time first healing some deep scars that were left from a painful divorce and then trying to date with an open mind and a more evolved soul. Then as I became aware that my soul wanted more from me than sitting at my corporate desk, I began to sense that it also wanted me to cooperate before it would introduce me to Mr. Right. Although I continued to casually date an assortment of men, the idea stuck with me that I wouldn’t meet the right one until I settled a bit into my real life’s work. I don’t remember exactly when I first felt this. It just seemed to show up one day and it made sense.

I met Dean almost six months ago on Yahoo personals. I had dabbled on and off with those dating sites for a good three years, but this time I went in with a different attitude. Rather than it being an exercise of just going through the motions, this time I signed up with the belief that I could possibly meet a great man. Lesson #1: You have to believe that something is possible before it can become your reality.

I will never forget that first email that came over from Dean. It was the afternoon of New Year’s Eve and I was wrapping up business at my desk. Dean’s was one of about six profiles that I received in that delivery. Yet when I clicked on to his, I felt a burst of energy. And it wasn’t just because I thought he was cute. Lesson #2: Pay attention to your instincts.

I emailed him back and the rest is history unfolding. We are in the process of moving in together. I haven’t lived with anyone for twelve years so to say that this is a bit of an adjustment for me in an understatement.

I look at Dean as being a gift with intention from the universe. By that I mean that I can see all the reasons why he has come into my life at this time. It seems like the universe came through with what it knew would best support me to do the work I’m doing as well as provide me with a fun and loving companion to share the hours of life with. Lesson #3: The universe always provides you with what you need.

Sure, I had to wait for a long time to find a great love. Yet I suspect that I would have never pursued my calling had I been delightfully distracted by the companionship of love. I suppose the universe figured this out long before I did.  Lesson #4:  The universe knows better than you do about what is best for your higher good.

Thanks for visiting. I wish you an amazing journey.

Susan Hanshaw
susan@sanctuaryforchange.com

sipping coffee with your soul


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Two years ago I made the decision that I was not going to live my life in machine mode any longer. First I stopped punching my corporate time clock in exchange for a piece of security. Then I started to make an effort to wake up each new day to the idea that I am so much more than just my body. I am a divine spirit whose soul has chosen to be here for a purpose. I try to tune in each morning to that essence so that I can give myself the chance to live that day from that perspective.

How many of us have allowed an alarm to usher us incoherently into the shower where our minds busy themselves visiting all the tasks ahead on our to do list? How often do you dart off to Starbucks or to that job that doesn’t really matter without even a thought about why you are really here? Why is it that seeing what’s happening around town this weekend is more often top of mind that what’s meaningful for the rest of your life?

I am convinced that it is all conditioning. Imagine how different our world would be if we all woke up to the understanding that there is a soul beneath the cells that make up our bodies. Imagine if we were all trained to start our mornings by touching our souls in the silence of our minds and hearts, and feeling the connection that we have to the divine creative energy that surrounds us. What if we were all to believe that there is personal guidance available to us within that divine energy? What if we each perceived that guidance as more credible than even Oprah, and used it as a directional light for the actions we take in our lives?

I believe that as humans we share the common desire of wanting to be happy. I also believe that we have that desire because that is the spirit in which we were created. Our lives are supposed to be happy. And we have already been given the wisdom and the where-with-all to be happy. We just need to learn how to use it. The thing is, though, that this is an inside job. And most of us have been trained to work in the outside world. That’s okay. You’ve been trained to take on new roles before, haven’t you? Here are some everyday tips for creating a happier life from my user’s manual:

  1. Tell yourself that you are a significant being on this planet.
  2. Recognize that you have been given unique skills and attributes for a purpose.
  3. Believe that the wisdom to lead you to your passion and purpose lies within you.
  4. Believe that you have the ability to access this wisdom. It’s just not something that other people can do.
  5. Make a daily habit of tuning in to this wisdom by giving yourself some silent time to go within.
  6. Absolutely trust what comes to you.
  7. Take notes on what comes to you. You will build confidence in this information by discovering that you are receiving common messages.
  8. Develop the trust to follow this inner wisdom. Have the faith that it will lead you to where your heart and soul want you to go.
  9. Trust that your soul has the where-with-all to attract the opportunities you need to follow your heart.
  10. Recognize the opportunities that come as confirmation that you will be taken care of.
  11. Express gratitude for the gifts in your life. Gratitude attracts more of the same.

Thanks for visiting. Before I sign off I want to mention that I have provided you with a link here to my email address. If there is any support you might want outside of the public comments box, I would love to be of service to you. So please feel free. I’m not doing this for the paycheck.

Wishing you an awesome journey.

Susan Hanshaw
susan@sanctuaryforchange.com

accepting your divine purpose


www.sanctuaryforchange.com

I have talked a lot here about my belief that life has purpose. Yet where does that purpose come from and where does it begin? Consider first that we were all created from a divine energy that many of us call God. That means that we each began as a spark from the divine. If you can see yourself as a divine spark, you then accept the invitation to see that there is something that God wants to do through you.  This is your divine purpose.

If you have read much of the bible, you’re aware that one of its primary messages is that we are to serve God. I suspect that many of us have misunderstood this idea. I know I have. With my childhood roots in the teachings of a judging and punishing God, I associated serving God as obeying a grand figure of authority. Let’s face it, how many of us are turned on to the idea of obeying? It wasn’t until I started thinking about why this idea might exist that I was able to understand what serving might mean.

I began to think about this idea in partnership with the idea that God is a loving energy. It then occurred to me that perhaps serving God means doing your part in making this the beautiful world that was intended for us to experience. Perhaps serving God means to honor and follow that spark within. In following your heart, you allow yourself to become all that God wants to express through you. You serve God when you are serving your brothers and sisters by the sharing of your gifts that you were uniquely given. By sharing your unique gifts, you contribute what God knows the world needs.

What are your unique gifts?  How might you contribute them to lend a hand?

Thank you for visiting. I wish you an amazing journey.

Susan Hanshaw
susan@sanctuaryforchange.com

getting comfortable with being real

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Expressing your authentic self is a topic I write much about in my space here. And while I’ve done quite a lot of work in this department on my own the last couple of years, I sometimes see examples of how I need to feel more comfortable about shining my true light. What is that statement…we teach what we need to learn?

My journey has shown me that it sometimes takes time to find the courage to show up and speak from your heart. By this I don’t mean just being honest with the words that fly out of your mouth. I’m talking about forging an alignment with your inner and outer expressions. It’s when who you are on the inside is what you represent on the outside; when there are no masks to remove or costumes to put on. You’re one hundred percent bona fide real.

Perhaps like me you’ve had the experience of playing a role that doesn’t really fit you. Maybe it did once, yet you’ve grown out of it over the years. Or maybe it never really fit you, but you played it anyway just because it seemed like the proper thing to do. And now as uncomfortable as it may feel, at least it is familiar. You’re confident that you will continue to be accepted so you don’t worry about what others are going to think. You’re experienced so you don’t have to push yourself out of your comfort zone too often. So you grab that worn coat and walk out the door, all the while thinking how you can’t wait to return so that you can hang it back up in the anticipation of just being yourself in the privacy of your own castle.

I spent 20 years building a reputation of being a skilled direct mail marketer. Then as I got into my forties I got uncomfortable with the realization that I was spending my days filling people’s mailboxes with offers to buy stuff. After all, I’m not exactly the material girl. And I finally got uncomfortable enough to quit. What I didn’t realize until afterwards was just how much I had hidden who I really was from the outside world. I was so inexperienced with showing up authentically that it took me well over a year to start speaking at depth publicly about my spiritual beliefs. I feel like I now have some sense of what it must be like to come out of the proverbial closet.

I got another taste of this as I just launched my work into the video arena. I couldn’t figure out why I was so darned uncomfortable watching myself on screen when it hit me. I was feeling vulnerable. There I was exposing myself in a new way for anyone to see. I found a lot of comfort in discovering what was up with me. I recognized that I was merely dealing with a learning curve. I needed to give myself time to adjust to showing up this way. It was just another new role. Just like getting over the stage fright I felt when I first officiated ceremonies or teaching my first few classes.

The key to feeling comfortable with being real is accepting first that what you want to show on the outside is the authentic expression of who you really are. It’s your soul wanting to sneak out of hiding. And just like everything else that you do for the first few times, it may seem uncomfortable and maybe even a bit challenging. Yet when you break through your learning curve you will experience the bliss that cannot be achieved anywhere else than through feeding your heart’s expression. That’s passion at its finest hour.

Is there something that you’ve been holding back in your heart? Is there something that you long to be or an understanding that you desire to share? Is there a habit that you wish to leave behind so that you can express a new way of being? If you’re holding back because showing up in a new way feels so uncomfortable, tell yourself that it won’t always feel that way. Love yourself like the baby who learned to crawl before you took your first upright steps. Where would you be now if you hadn’t tried?

Thanks for visiting. I’m wishing you an amazing life.

In peace and light,
Susan Hanshaw

a new media for inspiration


www.sanctuaryforchange.com

As I described in my very first post, Why This Blog?, I write because it is something I feel called to do. It feels like one of the ways I am supposed to be of service, the reason I am here. I figured this out just over two years ago, which led me to say good-bye to my 20-year corporate career. My life since then has been all about helping others to live with a greater sense of passion and purpose. I believe that we are all here to share our gifts and express what lives within our hearts.

I have awakened to the idea that I wish to share my work in a media that goes beyond the flat zone of the written word. I want to come across to you as a real person whose heart is in total alignment with the words I use to express it. There seems no better way to do this than through video.

I introduce now my video series, which you can expect to find every Monday in this space. I invite you to join me as I share excerpts from my book, Unleashing Your Soul, which became the soul of my journey of finding the courage to live from my heart.

At ten minutes, this first clip contains an introduction that makes it longer than those that will follow. I invite you to tune in and ask me any questions that might come up for you.

Thanks for visiting. I’m wishing you an awesome journey.

In peace and light,
Susan Hanshaw

Letting Intuition Lead You

The voice of my intuition paid me a visit today when I wasn’t looking. Thank God I was paying attention. I was in the middle of one of my usual four-mile runs and had stopped to take in the view of the two Bay Area bridges I got from my perch. I had just been thinking about an idea I had for a video series I’ve been wanting to launch before I stopped. It felt like my mind was empty and relaxed as I looked out at the peninsula on the other side of the bay. Then suddenly I noticed that I was hearing a little voice inside of me saying “Yes!” It came across like it was from the mouth of a teenager and accompanied by a high-five gesture. I stopped to consider what was going on and I heard an enthusiastic”yes” a couple more times. I immediately made the link back to the project I had been pondering. It seemed like a no-brainer that my inner voice was telling me that the idea I had was definitely worth pursuing. I shook my head in awe as I reflected on the wonderful mysteries of life that we barely talk about.

I’ve come to give this little voice a lot of credibility. I’ve learned that it is smarter than I am. As I put the pieces of this thought puzzle together it occurred to me that the voice was calling my attention to an insight I’d read earlier that day that struck me. Obviously my inner voice didn’t think I was done considering the idea as much as my thinking mind did.

In the course of blog surfing earlier in the day I had come across an article that spoke to me. In Are You Standing in the Way of Your Financial Abundance?, Ophelia invites us to consider if we might be limiting the abundance that the universe is trying to deliver to us. As I turned around to run back towards my home, I felt like my inner voice had just called me on that one. I had been ready to dismiss my video idea because I thought it had the potential to bring a level of success that some part of my psyche thought was out of my league. Yet I wasn’t even in touch with this until my inner voice provoked me to look at it. And I thought I was a smart girl.

So my inner voice reminded me today of two ideas that I wanted to share with you—

Pay attention to that voice inside of you. It sees through your human weaknesses and knows the greatness you are capable of. Take its hand and let it lead you.

Don’t let your mind limit your abundance. The only difference between you and those whose wealth you admire is their ability to welcome it with open arms.

Thanks for visiting. We’re all in this together, remember?

Wishing you an awesome day.

Susan Hanshaw

answers await your confusion


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“Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress.”

— Thomas Edison

I woke up this morning after a long, leisurely northern California holiday weekend wondering just how I would transition back into my work world. I love what I am doing, yet a part of me didn’t feel totally ready to let go of my vacation mode. Why can’t I just continue to play, I thought? I worked my way through my first cup of coffee and a shower when it hit me that I might find inspiration by focusing my attention on why I am here.

I sat at my desk and stared out the window at the trees rustling in the wind. I suddenly felt so alone in the world, like everyone else was out doing their thing and I just couldn’t get in touch with mine. I was feeling like I had one foot in the weekend and one easing its way back to work. Am I the only one feeling like this, I wondered.

I sat down to meditate, knowing that somehow I would be helped by going deep within and asking for some guidance. I sat there on the floor almost in desperation for an answer that would snap me out of my lost fog. What I wanted was some black and white directions on where exactly to place my energy today so that I can feel like I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing. Yet after sitting there for several minutes the only thing that came to me was the inspiration to just respond to the day from my heart. What came with this was the reminder that I am not just this physical being that enjoyed a weekend staining a backyard deck and sipping Chardonnay on a mountainside terrace. My expression is not just happening when I’m vacillating between having fun and being productive. The in-between time counts just as much. For it’s in those quiet times that enable us to listen to what is going on inside and take direction from there.

For me today what’s going on is that I’m feeling unsettled. I am feeling like there is more to what I need to be doing than I’ve yet allowed expression. I don’t know quite what it looks like, though, and to be honest, that bothers me. Yet the good thing with all of this is that I’ve got my own attention. There’s a reason I am bugged and I’m asking why because I’ve learned that answers won’t come unless I ask. Perhaps my answer will rise to the surface from within me. Or maybe I’ll get the answer through the voice of a friend with whom I share my discomfort. Or just maybe an opportunity will present myself that will feel oh so right.

I don’t like feeling this way. Yet I know that being tuned in to the fact that I am unsettled enables me to be totally open to whatever is to come next.

How are you feeling? Are there any confusions that are trying to call your attention? Trust your feelings. They’re there to tell you something.

Thanks for visiting.

Yours in the spirit of peace, light and inspiration,

Susan Hanshaw

life: unfolding in perfect order


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“The really happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery
when on a detour.” — Unknown

Have you ever been taught something that you thought you understood yet it wasn’t until later that you realized how clueless you really were? I’ve had one of those humbling revelations recently.

Six years ago my beloved cat, Mindy, passed after a bout with Lymphoma. Mindy was my little companion of eleven years who hung by my side through a painful divorce and a cross-country move. I was devastated when I lost her. She became the reason I jumped back onto my spiritual path. The sadness I had trouble shaking drove me to the yellow pages where I discovered Unity, a New Thought church that I became very involved with for a good couple of years.

One of the concepts that I often heard at Unity was that life unfolds in perfect order. This idea would bust out in scenarios that ranged from the Sunday sermon to rhetoric that someone would call out when things didn’t go exactly as planned. It felt like a positive way to tie a tidy bow around one of life’s disappointments so I bought in to the idea. It wasn’t until recently that I recognized that I didn’t totally buy into the belief behind the idea. Until now, that is.

Believing that life unfolds in perfect order is an ultimate act of trust. It means totally surrendering your own agenda to the detours that life may want to take you through. It’s being able to look at what is happening and say, “Hey, this doesn’t look like what I had in mind, but I know that the Universe is wiser than I am so I’ll accept it.”

I thought I believed that life unfolds in perfect order a few years ago, yet looking back I can see that it was an idea that I engaged with only on the surface. It became a convenient verbal response to an inconvenient event. Yet when I think about all the disappointments I allowed to disrupt my peace back then, I can see now that I didn’t really believe those words I participated in.

Last week it occurred to me just how dramatically my trust in this principle has deepened. While I certainly have my moments, for the most part I’ve learned to just roll with the punches. While there are a number of things I’d love to see happening with my business right now, I’m learning to trust that it will happen when it is supposed to happen and not in alignment with my impatience. The result of this is that I wig out about things a whole lot less and feel a deep sense of peace and safety almost all the time. Not bad for a former corporate type A persona.

Take a look at anything that may be rattling your sense of peace right now. Are you able to throw your disappointments up to the heavens and surrender to the wisdom of the Universe? After all, you can’t really enjoy the dance when you’re clinging to the walls.

Thanks for visiting.

Wishing you peace and light,
Susan Hanshaw

your time is limited

www.sanctuaryforchange.com

I am blessed to have one of the most awesome jobs on the planet. Along with inspirational coach, teacher and writer, I carry the title of wedding officiant. I recognize that this is not your average job and I often get asked how I got into it. As cliched as it might sound, I followed a calling.

My journey has showed me that following your calling is not necessarily the easiest path, yet it definitely is the one which makes you feel the most alive. It’s the path in which you do your thing and when you’re done, your heart tells you that you’ve just done what you were put here to do. And you can drink in the satisfaction of knowing that if you die tomorrow, that you showed up for your life. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely must go to my grave with this understanding.

I know that what I do is not for everybody. Yet for me there is no greater joy than standing up with two people who are glowing in love as I guide them through the act of formally committing their lives to one another in the presence of their closest family and friends. This is an honor that I’ve come to cherish, yet I didn’t arrive here without a tad of fighting and screaming.

First there was the big decision to leave my corporate career. Then there was the learning curve. Getting used to being the one to stand up front and lead the ceremony did not come overnight or with ease. During my first few I wanted to turn around and dash out the back door. As I stood there with everyone looking at me I thought to myself, “What the hell do I think I’m doing up here??” But with a bit of experience, I got over it. Now I absolutely cherish everything about it. I cherish looking into the eyes of the bride and groom, feeling them acknowledging the commitment they are making. I cherish witnessing the depths that love can be felt. I cherish the opportunity to create an event that enables people to feel their hearts, a rare happening in today’s fast-paced world.

While doing research for my book, Unleashing Your Soul, I came across the text from the commencement address that Steve Jobs delivered to the 2005 graduating class of Stanford University. It touched me. Jobs said, “Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

No one can take away your inner voice. It’s the one thing you bring to your birth and take to your death. It’s also the one thing whose expression gauges how much you’ve enabled yourself to truly live. What can you do today to let your inner voice sing? What can you do to keep a song in your heart for the rest of your days?

Thanks for visiting.

Susan Hanshaw
Inspired by A Course in Miracles

communicating love

We celebrated my mother’s 70th birthday yesterday in a low-key yet special gathering with her immediate family at her favorite restaurant. As I looked across the table at this woman who I have been fairly close to for most all of my life, it occurred to me that she didn’t look even close to 70. I told her so and her face lit up. My dad, now 72, sat next to her. It hit me that he didn’t look his age, either. They were my parents getting older, just like me.

Having both my parents now in the age 70 zone has jolted my awareness that they are not going to live forever. I now feel a sense of urgency to enjoy and experience them for who they are. I suddenly feel the urge to make sure that I let them know how much I love them and appreciate all they’ve done for me. I’ve been blessed with wonderfully loving parents and I suppose there have been times I’ve taken them for granted.

What has come up for me as a result of all these thoughts is the awareness that I need to make sure that I always communicate my love to my parents. I don’t want them to not know what I feel because we never know when something is going to be taken away from us. That really is true for all of your relationships. You just can’t take life for granted. You never know what is going to hit your life once you get out of bed in the morning. That’s where a belief in the care of the universe comes in. Having a sense that there is something you can hold your faith and trust in can be the strongest belief you can build your faith on.

What ideas do you want to communicate to those you love?