I grew up in the Methodist faith from the time I was born. I've been baptized, signed my name as a member of the Church, and taken Holy Communion. None of it meant much to me until I became a senior in high school. So many paths to choose from and literally deciding to go into the arts on a whim gave me a lot of anxiety, but prayer helped me to deal with the doubts constantly swirling around in my head. When I moved to New York City I moved away from organized religion and more towards thoughts of a loving, forgiving Universe and believing that I can make my way to heaven by showing others the depth of my love and being the best version of me that I can be. I began meditating, reciting affirmations, and surrounding myself with like-minded persons. I've read "The Secret", "The Four Agreements", "You are a Badass"... the list goes on. The main message that I've gleaned from my research (besides that everything is completely out of your control - in the best way possible), is that all you must do is "ask, believe, and receive". If you are open to miracles then miracles will open unto you.
But I've always struggled with this. I've cursed myself and the Universe on occasion because events and things have not happened in the way I've prayed for them over and over and over again. I feel so completely open to miracles and blessings in my life so WhyTF aren't they happening?
I happened upon the "Eat. Pray. Love" movie last week and it became crystal clear to me through this short story Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts) recalls: “There's a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, "Dear saint-please, please, please...give me the grace to win the lottery." This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated staue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, "My son-please, please, please...buy a ticket."
If you are lucky(?) enough to follow me on the Facebook you know I've been lamenting the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I see my family usually twice a year, but I have not had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with them since 2011. Good friends have always opened their homes to me or I've been with other "orphans" while on contract, but there is nothing like being surrounded by your family on your favorite holiday.
I will totally admit that I played the role of a professional procrastinator. I didn't start looking for airline tickets for the busiest travel day of the year until about three weeks before the holiday. I searched every airline site and discount app I could find, but even the airline points I've accumulated over the years wouldn't be able to make a dent in the astronomical fares. I'm not destitute or living on Ramen Noodles, but $400+ for a one-way two hour flight is simply highway robbery. In a moment of weakness I finally decided to commit a millennial faux pas: I shared my emotions and asked for help on social media. Jokingly, I asked for someone to let me borrow their private jet on Facebook... and someone actually did reach out to me about using their company jet! Huh?! Although that would be an insane coincidence and crazy ending to this short story, my miracle ended up manifesting in a different way: an anonymous person (to you) reached out to me. We had worked together many moons ago and though I have stayed on the theatrical path, this person decided to follow her bliss on another path in the business world. Being in her type of business she has the opportunity to travel weekly, meaning lots of flights and lots of airline miles. She offered to gift some points to me since she has an overabundance... and I hesitated.
My anxiety began to rise. I started feeling guilty. Who am I to take from this woman? I felt unworthy, like I didn't really need the charity. I've alway done everything on my own without asking for monetary help. Did accepting her offer make me weak or vulnerable? And that's when I began thinking back to the story about the lottery ticket that I shared above: I had asked for what I wanted, I let that flow, and my blessing had manifested. Here I was getting exactly what I wanted and it was scaring the crap out of me (Yes, I know I'm overly dramatic. I'm an actress. It's a gift). I started to think back about all of the times I might have asked for something but when it appeared I said "no" because it didn't show up like I had it pictured in my mind. Am I blocking my own blessings? I refuse to regret any decisions I've made in the past because I do whole-heartedly believe that everything happens for a reason, but my reaction opened my eyes. I accepted her offer. I told her about my reaction, and we both came to the resolution that she offered because she could, it made her feel good, and one day I will in turn pay-it-forward for someone else who asks.
I headed home a few days later and seeing my grandfather, my Poppa, walk through my sister's front door on the holiday, I knew that I was exactly where I needed and wanted to be. I was surrounded by brothers, sisters, my mama, my uncle, my aunt, cousins, nieces, and a nephew. I asked and the Universe answered in kind.
Being open and accepting of what the Universe/God/whatever-you-call-it-because-it's-all-the-same was handing me led me to my bliss. I know with certainty that I will continue to make mistakes and close myself off on occasion, but now that I can see what happens when you have faith and say "yes, please", I'm going to think twice and listen more before I decide to step away from or towards opportunity.