One of the major life lessons I’ve been integrating this year is to follow the trail of my joy as I live my life. This has evolved into something I call “following the spark.” Lest this all sound a bit too fluffy-bunny even coming from me, allow me to elaborate.
While my practice arises in part from the famous, or perhaps infamous, Law of Attraction (LOA), it doesn’t have anything to do with pasting on a fake smile and pretending things are fine when they’re not. The LOA has been misunderstood to the point where some literal-minded people now associate it with class privilege and blaming the victim. Sigh.
Having studied (and practiced, to varying degrees) the Seth material since the early 1990s, I can assure you that the notion of creating your own reality is much more nuanced than that. In fact, much of it aligns in fascinating ways with the ongoing discoveries in quantum physics.
Quester wants a bumper sticker that says “Now that science has proven magick works, I’d like an apology.” Heh heh.
Anyway, what I’ve been doing, upon reflection, combines elements of the LOA with Pagan notions of magick (which is, in essence, creating change using your will in harmony with natural forces) and Eastern mindfulness practices. It involves keeping in mind your desired outcome, letting go of attachment to how it will come about, and residing fully in the present moment. There’s also an element of trust that you will be taken care of, no matter what (yes, even if you die).
Okay, hold on, let me use an example to illustrate what I mean. Recently Quester and I took a road trip to Saratoga Springs, NY, to see two Dave Matthews Band shows. We had our tickets, but no other itinerary. We decided to camp in his pickup truck, outfitted with a cap and a futon mattress.
We got there a day early, and started to explore the area. We had looked up a campground that catered to concert-goers, but it was a holiday weekend, and the prices seemed unreasonably high. So while we were walking around the downtown area, we decided to see if we could come up with a cheap or free place to park the truck for the night.
We asked around in a couple of cool shops, tapping into the hippie network, as we thought of it. We met a few other DMB fans, and found out about some live music playing that night. No one really had any wisdom for us at first, and I had the intuition that we should check at the local health food store, that someone there would know something. So we strolled there, and went inside. We walked around a bit, but Quester said, no, he wasn’t feeling it.
So, letting go of that notion, we moved on.
But in the parking lot, we ran into a young guy and started chatting. It turned out that he worked there and was leaving for the day. He told us that there were a couple of free 48-hour parking lots right in downtown that might work well, and directed us to them.
I told him about my intuition to go to that particular store, and he asked me if I’d spoken with anyone inside.
“No,” I said. “You were the first spark we got.” He nodded and smiled, understanding just what I meant.
We made our way back to the first street we’d explored, which was near one of the parking lots. A woman came out of a shop, recognizing us from earlier; a co-worker had told her what we were looking for, and she offered us her spot in the same 48-hour lot. It turned out we didn’t need it, as there were already spots open, so we moved the truck there.
We found a back-corner spot on the open-roofed second level, and backed in. We were near the live music – lots of it, actually – and had a wonderful evening enjoying the night life. Then we climbed in the truck and crashed, right in the middle of downtown.
Sleeping there felt like being contained in the cauldron of the city’s energy, but safe and undisturbed. No one bothered us at all. We used the public restrooms, and even toasted our bagels on the camp stove in the morning. We only stayed there the one night, but it was perfect for our needs.
Later in the weekend there was rain, and we found out that the original campground we’d considered, which was very close to a lake, had been flooded, and at least one fan’s vehicle ended up mired in the mud. The Universe didn’t steer us wrong.
Of course, even if we had ended up stuck in the mud and taking a kayak to get to the show, like the woman Quester spoke with, we would have been fine. We followed the spark for the rest of our trip, and had a fabulous time – even when things didn’t seem to go according to plan, it all worked out well.
Following the spark has elements of The Celestine Prophecy – remember that book by James Redfield? The aspect of it that I’m talking of says that those we encounter have messages for us, or we for them, and the ideal way of communicating is to let those communications unfold naturally, with respect. It works not just with other people, but messages from your environment. If a place feels “off,” it’s probably not where you need to be.
For me, following the spark weaves together many of the things I’ve studied and practiced over the years. It contains elements of Paganism and esoteric magick, Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness meditation, works by Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie, polarity therapy (keeping your energy system clear so you can receive the messages without distortion), the emotional guidance system that Abraham-Hicks teaches, my experiences with helping my friend Jenn cross the veil, and the “relaxed determination” of Danielle LaPorte, who I’ve recently begun reading.
It also works well with my Word of the Year, which is GRACE. I feel like following the spark is a graceful way of living my life. It helps me tend to my joy, in the most powerful sense. It also helps me to add some spontaneity to my often highly-scheduled life.
Of course, it seems easier to do while traveling, when there is often an open agenda and no to-do lists. But I’m working on integrating this practice into my everyday life, following the spark as I go about my work and play.
On one hand, my recent experiences with following the spark remind me of when Quester and I traveled to Grateful Dead concerts during college, and the hippie way we traveled then (like nomads, we said, rather than tourists).
But thanks to the learning I’ve done in the intervening years, it also feels much, much deeper.
I’ll have to wait and see what unfolds next, but this feels like a really solid practice that is helping me live the life I’ve been seeking.