“There are only two ways to live your life,” Einstein said. “One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” I’m in the latter group and my mantra is, “Everything happens for a reason.” Sometimes I can’t see it right away, but eventually when the dust has settled and I have a better perspective I can understand why certain events happened to me.
Lately, I’ve been pondering why certain books or CDs or DVDs draw my attention. I work in the Special Services department and between pulling the items on my paging list and processing check outs; I come across hundreds of different items in a single day. For some unknown reason, there are items that make me stop what I am doing and pay attention to the item in front of me. It’s a magical moment where I am taken over by some force, an inner knowing, that this item is meant for me to either read or listen to or watch depending on what the item is.
A few months ago, I came across a Vault DVD, The Woman with the Five Elephants. It’s a foreign film documentary, which is not something that I would normally watch, but something stopped me and I felt captivated by the title (I suspect it was the elephants that peaked my curiosity). I decided to follow my instincts and I placed a hold on the item.
The documentary is about the life of Svetlana Geier, who translates Russian literature into German. The five elephants refer to the five major novels of Dostoyevsky, which she translated and is her best-known work. It’s a fascinating look into her life and all that she survived, including her father being put into prison by Stalin’s secret police and the Nazis invading her town during World War II.
In the film, they show Mrs. Geier as a guest lecturer in a classroom of students, who are studying to be translators. She ends her lecture by recounting to them one of her favorite Russian fairy tales, Emelya & the Pike. Emelya catches a pike and this pike talks to him. He understands what the fish is saying to him and he decides to listen to it. The pike tells Emelya to let him go and he promises to grant all of Emelya’s wishes. Emelya does this and later one by one all of his desires are fulfilled.
Mrs. Geier says, “I wish each of you that, from time to time in your lives, you will meet such a pike, a fish that tells you something that only you understand, contrary to all the laws of nature and science. And that you will have the courage to follow your inner voice, even when it means acting against general, prevailing opinions.”
I got chills. I played the scene over again. That was the moment that I understood why this DVD attracted me. I had been grappling with a decision in my life. I kept going back and forth between what my heart wanted me to do and what my logical mind was telling me to do. She was speaking directly to me. Do I have the courage to follow my inner voice? It changed my life because I decided I did have the courage and I made the decision to go back to college to study creative writing. Her words inspired me to rise above my self-doubts and gave me the confidence to pursue what my heart was telling me to do.
It reaffirmed my belief that everything happens for a reason. We all have an inner knowing of what we need and what we should do, but if you’re not paying attention or listening to your inner voice, then you will miss out. So, the next time you are at the library take your time to browse the aisles and displays to see what draws your attention. What items speak to you? What enthralls you and opens up your curiosity? Follow those instincts because your life is a great adventure of discovery and if you open yourself up the answers you are looking for will find you.
Here are some recommendations for items that encourage you to follow your heart:
The Universe Has Your Back (Book) by Gabrielle Bernstein
This book has a great message that if you follow your heart and overcome your fears the universe will find ways to support and encourage you.
Fire Within (Music CD) by Birdy
She is an amazing singer and the whole album is great, but the song “Shine” will uplift your spirit and help quell those lingering self-doubts.
The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Book) by Leo Tolstoy
This is one of my personal favorites. Tolstoy wrote this after he had experienced a spiritual transformation in his life. This novella has a clear message of what happens when you live your life based on what people expect of you and you only pursue your material needs. For me it was a wakeup call to not let your life pass you by.