(The millennial version of “Let your Conscience be your Guide”)
Yesterday, I found myself driving around Suburbia with one lonely bar on my gas meter. Target, Starbucks, Whole Foods. No gas station in sight. Finally, I gave up and pressed the magic button: “Siri, where can I get gas?” Within 30 seconds, I was on my path. 3 minutes later, I arrived.
Even better, Siri led me to a gas station with a $6 car wash option. And just moments earlier, I had thought to myself: “I really need to get a car wash this week.”
In her infinite wisdom, Siri could see more clearly than my little human brain. She knew that my need for gas and my need for a car wash could be magically connected, and I progressed through my errands with spectacular efficiency. (Also, the mini-mart inside held an unexpected treat for me, a Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint ice cream sandwich – delicious!)
As I pulled away in my sparkling car, gas tank and belly full, I thought: How great would it be if we could truly surrender everything in our lives to the ultimate Siri – the Universe, Source, intuition, whatever we call it?
Why do we have unshakable faith in Siri and such little faith in the supreme wisdom of the Universe?
The answer is control. It’s easy to trust Siri for our low-stake goals, such as getting us to the nearest grocery store. What’s harder is allowing anyone but ourselves to guide us to our most cherished goals: meaningful work, a beautiful family, our own home, prosperity, or even spiritual transformation. We want to design our own agendas, even though our most precious life events have rarely unfolded exactly as we planned. We want to do it all ourselves, because we’re afraid that otherwise it won’t turn out perfectly.
Yet we need to question what “perfectly” means, and accept the fact that we can’t always see the whole picture. If we’re too busy sweating out a solution – re-calculating our budgets to account for every dime so we can afford that workshop we want to take, plotting our career shifts meticulously with timelines and all – we may miss the grander opportunity that sweeps across our path.
Yesterday I had coffee with a writer who faced years of rejection when she tried to sell her creative nonfiction. Then she worked on a video for a freelance advertising job, and it went viral. A major publishing house contacted her out of the blue and asked her to write a children’s story – a genre she may never have stumbled on herself. One year later, she has an agent and two children’s book contracts. She is poised to become a published writer. Just not the way she planned. Paradoxically, it was excelling at her day job that opened the door to her dream job. It was her equivalent of the Girl Scout Thin Mint ice cream sandwich: she may not have known the children’s book opportunity existed, but it was delicious when it came along.
Maybe it's time to let the Universe be our Siri. That doesn’t mean abandon our visions. When we call on Siri, we always tell her exactly what we need, otherwise she doesn’t know how to respond (unless you’re just looking to play head games with her, like when my young nephews tell her to go jump in a lake. Her answer literally is, “I don’t know how to respond to that”).
You choose your destination – just make sure it aligns with your inner wisdom and highest excitement (got that one from my friend Justin Faerman). If you feel yourself being steered onto an unexpected road, it’s OK. What seems like a detour may actually be the best way to avoid some traffic ahead. If the new route feels good to you, go with it.
Just press the magic button, and say: “Universe, take me there” (call her Siri if it makes you feel better. I bet she’d take that as a compliment).