Sipping Coffee With Your Soul

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

Accepting Your Divine Purpose

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

your package is no accident

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is how to get in touch with your life purpose. I believe that this question is such a challenging one simply because we are not conditioned to explore purpose in the way that will  enable us to touch it.  Discerning that particular role requires you to let go of any tendency to analyze your life through your human mind. It requires that you surrender to a faith that your soul knows its purpose here. Beyond that, you need to believe that your soul has the where-with-all to attract whatever is needed to fulfill its purpose. Trust that your soul has been preparing you for who you were meant to be even before your birth. Trust that long before you got to this point, you have been attracting knowledge and skills which will help you when you are ready to begin your true life’s work.

Take a look at your adult life. Consider the jobs that helped to mold your skill sets and the people who came into your life. Might you see that the skills and knowledge you’ve developed so far will complement what you’re really here to do in the most perfect way?

How easy it is for us to shrug off the idea that there could possibly be much meaning or intent behind the unique qualities and characteristics that we possess. Through our human perspective we tend to accept our unique selves as coincidence, rather than explore the idea that there may be a reason why we are the way we are. What if you took a look at yourself in a soulful way? What if you were to look at yourself with an eye for what your soul may have been up to when it attracted all the pieces that make you who you are?

Take a look at pieces of your essence that may provide clues as to what kind of work you perfectly qualified to carry out. Perhaps there is something about your physical presence that people often comment to you about. Perhaps you have a strong presence that seems to capture attention when you walk into a room. Perhaps you are a very creative type who expresses yourself easily through your style of clothing or accessories. Or maybe you have beautiful piercing eyes which easily draw others to you. Think about the tone of your voice, the look of your face, the gestures you use to communicate, and all the parts that make up how you show up in expression.

When you consider that your soul has intent for your life, you must begin to accept the idea that the make-up of who you are is not just an accident. Have confidence that your soul will continue to support you as you surrender to letting your calling have its way. Trust that your soul is not going to leave you high and dry, struggling to force things to come together so that you can do your real life’s work. Remember, this is your soul’s calling. Your spirit is far more powerful than your brain and your muscles will ever be. Let your soul take the lead.

Wishing you an amazing journey,

Susan Hanshaw

answers await your confusion

“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

your time is limited

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?

faith is the secret

Trusting that the universe knows better than you do about what is
best for the evolution of your soul is the key to inner peace.

I hang my hat on this belief day after day.  I call it faith. It keeps me from falling down in disappointment when things don’t go the way I want.  It gives me the courage to continue to follow my heart instead of getting a “real job” when it seems my business isn’t growing fast enough.  It led me to stop wigging out when a guy I was attracted to didn’t call me again after what I thought was a great first date.

You’ve probably heard the adage, “Everything happens for a reason.” What that means is there is something for you to learn or grow from in any situation.  If you’ve been struggling with attracting the right job or partner despite all your efforts of putting yourself out there, perhaps you’ve not yet fully defined in your own mind what the right criteria is.  Or maybe you’re trying to force something to happen that just isn’t meant to be or there are other things you need to accomplish first. When you can get to the point where you can surrender in faith that whatever is unfolding is happening for your higher good, you turn yourself over to the divine flow.  Life then becomes much easier because you are going with the flow instead of fighting against it.  Try practicing it yourself.  When something doesn’t go your way, turn it over and let it go in faith.

a stubborn’s lesson in abundance

One of the biggest rewards I get from my work is hearing people tell me that I have somehow inspired them with a sense of hope and positive expectation. Yet the one drawback to what I do is that I need to make sure that I am always walking my own talk. Because my work is an expression of how I show up naturally, I usually am pretty good about this. Yet sometimes I catch myself with my pants down. Sometimes I need a good reminder to practice what I preach. It turned out to be one of those weekends where I needed to expand my own consciousness to accept the abundance that has been trying to make its way to me.

It started off on Saturday morning. I was lying in bed as I often do, acknowledging gratitude for the blessings in my life. Then like a crashing wave came a vision of such magnitude that I was moved to tears. I realized at that moment that either through fear or habit, I had been blind to the abundant gift of love and partnership that had come banging at my door. I recognized how hesitant I’d been to open it and invite it into my life. In an instant I had come to understand that in order to accept my gifts, I had to open my heart.

For the most part I’ve been a single woman for the past twelve years. I’m used to operating my life as a solo endeavor that runs the gamut from grocery shopping, housecleaning and garden work to business planning and marketing. Somewhere along the way I developed the belief that this venture of helping people to create change had to successfully come together all on my own.

Just shy of four months ago a man walked into my life who has thrown a wrench at this. He so supports what I am trying to accomplish with my business that he’ll do almost anything to help me. And while I was able to see this rather easily early on, what hit me this weekend was my awakening to how hesitant I’ve been to accept the abundance he represents. What helped me to get beyond my own fears was my getting the message that this relationship is a divine gift. I do feel like I am showing up for my life’s purpose now and clearly the universe recognizes that I need some assistance and support.

While I can see the practical purposes for this relationship, what touches me greater is the richness of the love I feel from it. It feels like my reward for having the faith that the universe would take care of me if I let go of my corporate job to follow the work of my heart.

So my lesson this weekend was the awareness that all this abundance was staring me in the face, yet I hadn’t really allowed it in my life because I hadn’t totally opened my heart to it. I’d been blocking my channel to receive. I’ve since made the mental shift to be open to its flow. The relationship has taken on a deeper meaning as I’ve recognized it as a gift the universe has wanted to bestow. Moving forward I’ll try not to get so much in its way.

allowing the flow

I’ve recently created a habit where I take a few minutes each morning to ask for guidance on what specifically I am to do for the day to fulfill my purpose.  I ask the question and then I sit and wait for the answers to come.  The information usually comes in the form of a voice that I feel deep inside of me.  It has taken some time for me to first believe that I have an inner voice and then to grow to give it credibility.  Yet I’m totally on board now.  I am a true believer.  Some people call this process meditation.  Others, prayer.  I think of it as tuning in to the wisdom of the universe and the role I play in it.

This morning I sat with my focus on connecting with God.  There’s usually a common general theme that comes up when I ask for this guidance.  Yet this morning I felt like I was shaken to deliver a message that was very specific.  It felt like God was asking me to tell you how much you are loved.  I hope you think about what this means.  It means that you have absolutely nothing to worry about.  Life is as good as you will allow it to be.  So open your heart and let the love and riches flow.  Remember it’s a choice.

exercises for living bigger

If there is one thing that I’d like you to take away from this space here, it is that how you experience life is totally your choice. If you are completely content with the state of your life, I say more power to you. Yet if you feel a yearning to reach higher, to experience the fullest, most robust life you can, then I’m right here with some insights to support you.

A couple of posts ago I talked about the choice we have to live whatever life we choose. I discussed how you could choose to live big or small. Let it be known that I’m not here to judge. We’re all here as equals. It is totally your choice to live the kind of life you want. I just see that my job is to support those who want to live bigger. So to follow up on that post, here are some exercises you might find helpful in making the shift from small to bigger thinking:

  1. Create a morning ritual which reminds you of your choice to shine as brightly as you want. You are not bound to the standards of your family, friends or colleagues.
  2. Authentically act as if you are on your way to that bigger life. Putting yourself in that role is how you will become it.
  3. Use your alone time in the car to visualize the life you’d love to create. Don’t be afraid to dream big.
  4. Cut images out of magazines that represent what you want from your life and put them in noticeable places. Look at them with the expectation that you will manifest them for yourself.
  5. Adopt a dream buddy. Get together frequently for coffee or tea to share ideas and encourage one another.
  6. Identify someone who has created the kind of life you wish for yourself. Think of them as a model for your own success.
  7. Create a practice of expressing your gratitude for all the blessings in your life. Gratitude acts as a magnet for more of the same.