Author Archives: Penny McDaniel

About Penny McDaniel

Spiritual Teacher, Spiritual Coach, Writing Coach

Is The Universe Trying To Tell You Something?

Do you ever feel like the Universe is trying to tell you something, but you don’t quite understand the message?

The Universe is constantly sending us hints, “speaking” to us about the directions we are to take in life.  To understand what the Universe is saying, we have to become more aware of its “language.”  Oftentimes, we don’t recognize the messages because the Universe speaks through experience.

There are many ways in which the Universe communicates with us.  It does not have any limits on how it will speak to us.  As we become more aware of our life experiences, we can begin to decode the messages sent our way.

To understand the Universe’s language, you must take the steps to learn it.  First and foremost, allow yourself to be open to receiving its messages.  If there is any apprehension, the Universe will take it that you are not ready.  As you cultivate your desire to hear from the Universe, the answers will begin to present themselves in many ways, but you must be willing to accept those answers, no matter how they show up.  You may receive your answers from a dream, from a friend’s advice or a stranger’s, or you may overhear a conversation related to your question. You may hear a song that speaks to your experience, see a message on a billboard or on someone’s tee-shirt, or you may see a TV show that contains the information you need…the possibilities are endless.

Start paying attention to what you are experiencing.  Make note of recurring experiences.  My rule of thumb is, if you hear or see something three times in a short period of time, act on it. These little synchronicities are the Divine’s way of saying that you are on the right track, or they are clues to help you better understand yourself, your growth, or your path. Sometimes the Universe will send messages repeatedly until we get them.  For example, maybe the presence of a particular animal keeps getting your attention.  Perhaps the Universe is trying to tell you to incorporate the traits of this animal into your life.  The symbolism and message can change depending on your individual connection or feeling toward the animal.  Follow your intuition on this.

Pay attention to your body.  The physical body can provide many messages about your emotional, mental, and spiritual health.  Of course illness occurs when our immunity is compromised, but could it be that your body is trying to communicate something deeper? Maybe that sore throat is the Universe trying to communicate something to you about your self-expression (are you angry with someone and want to tell that person but are afraid?).

Keep track of your dreams.  Dreams are very symbolic and unique to the individual, but focus on how the dream makes you feel to determine what the message might be.  Dreams are clues as to what is happening on the subconscious level.  Recurring dreams could mean that the Universe is trying to tell you about an unresolved issue that needs attention and resolution. Make note of the images, colors, and feelings you experience in each dream.

When the Universe sends messages, these messages are often symbols loaded with meaning, so it’s important to examine your connection to the symbol.  A spider to one person could stir up fear and loathing, but to another person it could mean making connections…again, trust your intuition as you develop your own dictionary of spiritual symbols.  You will know the “truth” of a symbol by the way it resonates with you. It’s truth will speak to you as an individual in a way which you understand and relate to on a deeper level.  You’ll just “know.”

As you fine tune your sensitivity to the Universe and its messages, signs, and symbols, you’re experience of life will only grow. Keep your eyes and ears open.  Stay in tune with your gut. The Universe uses signs to validate its presence in your life or as an intuitive nudge to prompt you to take action. As you cultivate your awareness, you’ll soon discover that the Universe has been communicating with you all along.

 

Please share your comments below.   I would love to hear about your experiences.

Road Closed — Now What?

trees-450854_1920 The road ahead in our personal journey is like no other, and it is not without its challenges. It will have its peaks and valleys, its twists and turns, and its detours and dead ends.

The road may be long and arduous but that is no reason to slow down or quit. The opportunities that lie ahead are waiting for you to discover them, but you won’t discover them if you resign yourself.  And sometimes an opportunity may not have otherwise presented itself had you not been temporarily detoured.

Road closed? Take it as a challenge to be more creative. There is another way.  If something looks impossible, look at it from a different perspective.  What you wish to accomplish can be done, though not in the way you originally thought.

The road ahead, though not always clear and always full of surprises, is your invitation to grow and learn, to reach within yourself to discover strength, determination, discipline, and commitment.  It is your journey, not anyone else’s, and it is one not to be feared.  Signposts will present themselves even in the most difficult terrain.

No matter what challenges you may encounter on your journey, there is always a way around them if not directly through them.  You have what it takes to move forward, even if it means having to travel a side road.  Step confidently into the direction you need to take and travel boldly.  The way will open.

Growing Older: It’s Not For Sissies

When I was eight years old, I couldn’t wait to be thirteen.  I remember walking to school behind a group of teenagers, marveling at how grown-up they were.  They were taller, smarter, and so much cooler than us third-graders.  I wanted to be older, like them.

Now, I’m halfway through the fifth decade of my life.

And guess what?

I’m not ashamed of it.  I’ve earned it.

My friend June Eberle is a retired teacher and blogger (check out her blog Identity Streak).  Here she crafts true stories filled with wisdom for those with the ears to hear and prompts us to take the path of self-reflection with her queries at the end of each post.  Her latest post, “Don’t Let Them Lock You In,” talks about retiring, growing older, and embracing a phase (a way) of life reserved for those who dare to enter it.  Old age, as some would call it, is not about being less productive or simply rolling over and dying.  People who think this way are missing the boat of enlightenment altogether.

As I read June’s post, I thought about my own journey into “old age.”  It never bothered me to turn 30 or 40 or 50.  Each milestone year is not to be feared but to be worn as a badge of honor because behind each badge lies a treasure trove of experiences and the lessons learned from those experiences.  With each “badge” that I add to my sash, new levels of awareness open up, revealing things that young minds fail to grasp simply because they can’t.  Their young minds are not ready.

There are times, though, when I think of those who were not fortunate enough to live to my age. This is a humbling thought. And this alone creates a sense of urgency to try new things and to live more authentically.  Why waste my time in circumstances or relationships that no longer serve me? That will only keep me from growing, from learning, and from living.

    “Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”

There’s no need to “sweat the small stuff” because the bigger stuff is waiting to be explored and embraced.  And I now have the time to do those things.  If I want to paint, I paint.  If I want to write, I write.  If I want to travel, I travel.  I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself!

“I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.”

~ Albert Einstein

Some see growing older as a curse rather than a blessing. They fear it rather than embrace it, fending it off for as long as they can in anyway that they can.  They ridicule it.  They dismiss it. They ignore it.  Or they Botox it.  Whatever the case, they’d rather not deal with it as in June’s story of the daughter who swindles her father to lock him away in a nursing home.  “Old age” is an inconvenience to them.  How sad.

Satchel Paige asks,

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” 

I am just starting “the splendid youth of old age,” a phrase coined by June in her blog.  I am not “retired” from life; I have been summoned by it to be a member of an exclusive club of exceptional human beings who will “not go gentle into that good night.”  We will continue to burn with life.  It’s a privilege we have earned.

Problem? Or Opportunity?

Seek and ye shall find. . .

There is a way to get past your “troubles.”  Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

To find a solution, we must change our perspective of the “problem.”

When we view a “problem” as a “problem,” we find ourselves focusing on the “bad” that has happened.  Something inside of us senses a threat and we begin to panic.  We react or overreact.  We place blame on things or people outside of ourselves. We see ourselves as the victim.  And we get stuck in a pattern of thinking that only serves to exacerbate the “problem.”

Look at Uncle Al’s quote again.  He makes a very important point that we must keep in mind. We must understand that we created the problem with our thinking in the first place.  Since we created the problem, then we must own it before we can move forward. We must take responsibility for its creation.

So, how does one view a problem as something other than a problem?  Uncle Al tells us to view it from a different perspective.  In other words, see the problem as an opportunity in disguise. He encourages us to move beyond old assumptions in order to create new, improved results. If we look where we’ve always looked, we’ll find only what we’ve already found. When we switch our thinking from “problem” to “opportunity,” something interesting happens.  The brain shifts into a creative mode, and then options begin presenting themselves; creative energy is generated and released.  Seeing the problem as an opportunity opens the door to learning what needs to be learned and to discovering an effective way forward.  We become empowered.  We are no longer the victim.  We have taken responsibility.

Uncle Al’s words are not idle words. They force us to self-reflect on our part in what we are creating in our lives; they challenge us to examine our thinking and our approach to “problems,” and they direct us to take responsible action.

The Power of Detours

So. . .you’ve been detoured in life. . .

It happens.
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Enjoy the scenery anyway.

Sometimes detours in life are necessary.

There are always new things to see, new people to meet, and new wonders to experience.

When detours happen, the best thing we can do is to open our minds and our hearts to them.

The key to handling detours is our reaction to them.  We have a choice.  We really do.

You can resist, get angry, and allow detours to turn you into a bitter, depressed, unhappy person, or you can ease into the experience, go with the flow, and see what each detour has in store for you.  You will find yourself becoming a better, stronger, wiser person.

Embrace life’s detours.  Let them take you where they will.  You’ll soon realize that detours are part of life’s journey.  Without them we wouldn’t become the people we are meant to be.

Quit Your Addiction To The News

I quit my addiction to watching the news.

The news, whether on TV, online, or in a newspaper, is nothing but a collection of negative communication.  We learn about catastrophes, financial ruin, terrorist attacks, murders and all kinds of disasters and cruelties that leave us in a perpetual state of anxiety and fear.

Whenever I got caught up in such negative energy, I began to feel weak and powerless.  Before I knew it, my immunity (both physical and spiritual) declined, and I started drawing in the experiences that confirmed my fears.

Living with anxiety induced by the media activates stress hormones.  When this happens, we lose our ability to think clearly.  According to brain studies, stress hormones constrict blood vessels in the forebrain, suppressing the center of deliberate action (in the front cerebral cortex).  The energy of fear can paralyze us.

But that’s not all.

Falling asleep with fear and stress allows such energy into our sleep awareness, when we are most susceptible to suggestion.  Our brain (our consciousness) “stores” this information.  This can have enormous significance. meditation-1000062_1280

Consider your viewing habits.  Besides the news, what kinds of movies do you watch?  A movie that is well-done will seize your emotions.  A movie may last a couple of hours, but the information goes into our memory storehouse.  The subconscious mind does not differentiate between fantasy and reality; instead, it stores such information as “memories” thus directing future information based on these experiences, whether fictional or not.

Remember, like attracts like.  The more we watch the news or the kinds of movies that are full of violence or drama, the more we fortify a resonance field of worry and fear.

Instead of identifying more and more with what you DO NOT want, try identifying more and more with what you DO WANT.

How? Allow energies that are conducive to your health and well-being for a few days to see how it affects you, and then expand from there.  Try the following:

  • Limit your news intake.  Wean yourself.  Better yet, quit cold turkey.  The sooner, the better.
  • Read literature that uplifts and edifies you.
  • Listen to uplifting music, such as meditation, massage, or Reiki music.
  • Associate with people who support and encourage you.
  • Keep a journal filled with positive affirmations and thoughts.
  • Send letters/e-mails/cards filled with the energy of love.
  • Repeat positive, affirmative statements to yourself as you begin to drift off to sleep.
  • When confronted with the news, send blessings.  Send light and love in its direction.
  • Watch movies and programs that inspire and encourage you.

The more often you do this, the faster those influences will become your reality.

Let yourself be well.

Living With The Unknown

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There is so much mystery to life.  We will never know what the unknown holds for us.

It’s baffling.  It’s unnerving.  It’s confounding.

And it’s exciting!

How you communicate with yourself when you are facing the unknown is going to determine how quickly and gracefully you master this part of your life.

Take the attitude that all things — all things — work out. . .somehow, some way, for the highest good.

Take the plunge. Dive in. Find out. Imagine the possibilities! Don’t let fear hold you hostage, or you will miss out on living.

Today Is Your Lucky Day

japanese proverb

Today is your lucky day!

The moment we make a decision, Unseen Assistance begins to move in the direction of that decision.

Things begin to move and happen.

Doors open.  Opportunities blossom.  Resources present themselves.

The energy of our decision begins to multiply and expand to bring things into manifestation.

The more energy we give and the more we act on the opportunities that come our way, the more we find ourselves in a natural flow, that State of Grace that reminds us that we matter to Something much greater than ourselves.

For this we give our gratitude.

This is not to say that there won’t be any obstacles.  Obstacles are another form (the shadow side) of opportunity to find out what we are truly made of.  They help us to strengthen our staying power and our faith.  Learning from them is part of the journey.

Remaining positive and staying focused while giving gratitude is the energy needed to fuel manifestation and to push us past (through) those *obstacles*.

You have what it takes.  Decide to do it.  And watch what happens.

Making Friends With Uncertainty

No matter how much planning we do or how much control we think we have over our lives, life will always be filled with uncertainty.  Rather than fearing uncertainty, make friends with it.

Yes, there will be setbacks and frustrating disappointments, but these are nothing to fear, nor should they stop you from embracing and living life.  How you perceive and handle “setbacks” determines how things will turn out.

Accepting uncertainty as a part of life means trusting that your life fits into a much larger plan. This is not always easy because the ego would have you believe that you are unsafe.  So, we hold on while fear holds us hostage.

When we trust that our life fits a larger plan, we come to know that everything we experience is meant to fit into our evolution. It is for our learning and for our inner growth. The more we connect with our true self, the more we will find that setbacks, disappointments, and failures fall into one of these categories:

  • They are temporary, and they will somehow work themselves out with minimal effort. When we adopt the attitude that all things work out for the highest good, we can trust that something good will come out of it in the end.
  • They point you in a new direction, asking you to re-examine what you are doing.  If our current direction is not serving our best interest, or if we no longer feel in alignment with it, then it is time to re-inventory our lives, and make the necessary changes.
  • They uncover hidden negative emotions and beliefs that we need to resolve.  We don’t always realize what’s holding us back until something cracks us open.
  • They are paving the way for new opportunities that are getting ready to present themselves to us. Unseen forces are continually working in our favor, even if we don’t see them.

If you still can not understand how setbacks fit into a larger plan for you, let not your heart be troubled.  Have patience, return to your center, and accept for the moment that life has uncertainties that can not be explained.  In time, an explanation may present itself, especially when you are in a state of readiness (without fear) to receive it.

There is a higher plan that is always guiding you forward even though there are bumps along the way.

Is Your Body Your Friend?

Our biggest ally and supporter in life is our body.  It is the physical platform by which we accomplish things in life. When we align it with the present moment, and with our goals, values, and love, we create a solid foundation for success.

Sadly, our concept of something or someone being beautiful is grounded in a belief system that promotes judgment and duality. We let the external standards of youthful beauty and attractiveness define us as we buy into the false images the media and society tell us is the ideal body.  In this case, beauty depends on something being identified as ugly.

Our body is a living, intelligent, dynamic creation.  It supports our well-being when we make choices that honor it, not debase it.  It is our friend, willing and able to do what we ask of it. Why would we treat it as anything less?

Celebrate that you have this trusted friend with you at all times. Our body does not lie.

Consider the following quotes:

Here in this body are the sacred rivers: here are the sun and moon as well as all the pilgrimage places…I have not encountered another temple as blissful as my own body.  Saraha

Our body is precious.  It is our vehicle for awakening.  Treat it with care.  Buddha

There is deep wisdom within our very flesh, if we can only come to our senses and feel it.  Elizabeth A. Behnke

The body is a multilingual being.  It speaks through its color and its temperature, the flush of recognition, the glow of love, the ash of pain, the heat of arousal, the coldness of nonconviction. . . . It speaks through the leaping of the heart, the falling of the spirits, the pit at the center, and rising hope.  Clarissa Pinkola Estés

It is amazing how many hints and guides and intuitions for living come to the sensitive person who has ears to hear what his body is saying.  Rollo May

The body always leads us home . . . if we can simply learn to trust sensation and stay with it long enough for it to reveal appropriate action, movement, insight, or feeling.  Pat Ogden

For every thought supported by feeling, there is a muscle change.  Primary muscle patterns being the biological heritage of man, man’s whole body records his emotional thinking.  Mabel Ellsworth Todd

Your emotions are your inner guidance system.  They alone will let you know whether you are living in an environment of biochemical health or in an environment of biochemical distress.  Understanding how your thoughts and your emotions affect every single hormone and cell in your body, and knowing how to change them in a way that is health-enhancing, gives you access to the most powerful and empowering health-creating secret on earth.  Christiane Northrup

Being in touch with our bodies, or more accurately, being our bodies, is how we know what is true.  Harriet Goldhor Lerner

To connect with our bodies is to learn to trust ourselves, and from that comes power.  Mirka Knaster