Paying it Forward

 “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. . . .” (Thoreau)

About a year ago, I woke up with a start. Before I opened my eyes, the words “lion healer” had flashed across my mind. “What could that mean?” I thought. 

So I asked the almighty Google. One of the first entries that came up was the Lionheart Institute of Energy Healing in LA. They were having a free Saturday morning info session later that month. I signed up.

Having built a career studying African and Caribbean rituals and performance, I know something about the mystical power of dreams. In those cultures, dreams are as reliable a source of information as any book you could consult. As a gateway to our subconscious minds (and the Divine), dreams often know better than we do where we need to go next.

Indeed, the impulse to learn energy healing had been tugging at my soul long before I had that dream. I’m not sure where it came from. But going to that Lionheart session was my way of advancing confidently in the direction of my dreams (literally), thus following that famous advice from Thoreau.

Once I started down that path, new information came in. After the Saturday morning session (which I loved), I had to decide whether or not to invest in the next step with Lionheart, which was a 1-day retreat. Driving back to Santa Barbara that day, a new song came on my Pandora station. It was by the actress Minnie Driver, and featured this line: “So right from the very start, I wish you a lion’s heart.”

I called Lionheart right away and booked the retreat, trusting that the $200 I needed for the registration would somehow come to me. A couple of weeks later, I found a check for exactly $200 waiting for me in my faculty inbox (it was for a talk I had given for free years before and never expected to get paid for).

So far dreams and music had been reliable signposts on my path to becoming a healer. Yet sometimes the most unexpected help comes from people who are closest to us. After doing the Level 1 training with Lionheart, I knew I wanted to commit to Level 2, a year-long energy healing training consisting of 8 weekend intensives. But this investment was much heftier. I needed a creative idea.

That idea came from my Dad. He suggested that he could loan me a good chunk of the money. Instead of paying it back, I would pay it forward. I have two wonderful nephews who will be college-bound in 6-8 years. My Dad and I would draw up a contract specifying that when they’re ready, I will contribute that sum to their higher education. He’s not so much lending me money as he is investing in his grandsons’ future – which also happens to move me forward on my path to healing. It’s a win-win.

Paying it forward is the perfect solution for bringing our visions into reality. Whenever we are beckoned down a spiritual path, we must become forward thinking. We must be able to envision a life that looks nothing like the one we are currently living. And we trust that the magic Thoreau spoke of – the “success unexpected in common hours” – is on the way. We trust that the Universe has our backs.


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