Originally on elephant journal.

I believe I am in constant communication with a power greater than myself.

It’s just that so often when this power is speaking to me, my response is to put my fingers in my ears and chant, “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!”

Because this power (I like to call it God, since that’s a word everyone knows) is much wiser than I am—in the way that a caring parent keeps their child from indulging in too much Halloween candy—my higher power wants what’s best for me too.

And that isn’t always my idea of fun.

But each time life has blown up in my face, knocked me over the head, or in some fashion, taken all that I thought was dear and true in my life (my Halloween candy, for example), I’ve been able to eventually look back and see all of the benevolent intention behind it.

I’ve been able to see that a wallop over the head was the last resort in a series of divine communications I had failed to listen to.

The truth is that my life has never blown up out of the blue. God has never walloped me over the head out of the blue. And nothing I truly needed has ever been taken from me.

The truth is God is exceedingly gentle. So gentle, in fact, that it always starts with a soft whisper in my ear.

“Hey girl. It’s time to go.”

And of course, I never listen the first (or the second or third) time I hear the whisper because the truth seems inconvenient and whispers are easy to ignore. What I’m being asked to look at is usually a place in my life where I am neglecting myself, letting fear stop me, not acting in integrity with my purpose and not following my deepest desires.

Once I see it, I know I won’t be able to ignore it, so to look at it, I mean really look at it, means I will have to do something about it. And that usually involves some major change, some stepping into the unknown, and some major loss.

In other words, major discomfort. 

So most of the time I try for as long as I can not to look at it.

But let’s be honest. Not looking at it isn’t exactly comfortable either. As a matter of fact, not looking at it has never prevented any of the things I was trying to avoid in the first place.

I used to think God was cruel and harsh for not giving me what I wanted in life. The way I saw it, I knew best what would make me happy so I would decide what I needed to do to make that happen and I’d pursue it at all costs.

A lot of times, the thing I decided I needed was a relationship. And a lot of times, I’d eventually hear the whisper: “Hey girl. It’s time to let go. You’re holding yourself back here. This won’t make you happy.” But I’d be so attached to my plans that I wouldn’t listen.

The whisper would get louder and louder. What started as a gentile suggestion would progress into a firm (yet still, exceedingly polite) directive.

“Hey girl, open your eyes” would turn to “I noticed you’re not listening. I don’t want to do this but I’m going to have to turn up the volume if you won’t hear it at a whisper.”

It just so happens that turning the volume up on a whisper translates to everything falling apart and my life no longer working as is.

God isn’t harsh. I’m just really stubborn. I’m dealing with a divine power that wants to provide me with some profound and poignant experience for my soul’s evolution and enjoyment and here I am, intent on planning my life based on my limited perspective because clearly I know better than God what’s good for me. Oh, the arrogance.

I’ve realized my life—run on my self-will—does not work. It never brings me the sense of fulfillment I get when I let go of my plans and surrender to the ride life wants to take me on.

So I’m learning to listen before everything falls apart, while the voice urging me onward is still speaking to me in a quiet whisper. I’m learning to not wait until everything crashes and burns to let go of what’s no longer working. For most of my life, I’ve only become willing to give up the life I’m attached to after it’s already been ripped from my grasp. Only then have I begun to acknowledge that it really is impossible for me to know what wonders await when I become willing to step into the unknown and allow myself to be guided by a power greater than little old me.

But I’m learning to trust the unknown. When I hear the whisper, I don’t want to cower in fear of what it will reveal to me if I heed it. I want to eagerly perk up my ears to receive my next set of instructions.

I want to be an open channel to receive the directions I’m being provided with so that I don’t waste a single second more kicking and screaming against the soul growth that’s trying to happen for me.

Because it always turns out that the life I dream up for myself and get all attached to pales in comparison to the one I’m in for—if I would only let go and listen.

I’m learning to hear it at a whisper.