Sunday, March 28, 2010

How to Guide Your Life with Confluence

Confluence: a coming or flowing together, meeting, or gathering at one point - or the flowing together of two or more streams. Isn't that a great word? With the rising swell of Spring, many rivers are literally surging with confluences. And, as the outer world often mirrors the inner process, "confluence" represents a coming together of random moments in your life that are startlingly familiar. It is the mystery that surrounds those funny 'coincidences' that bring your life an awakening, or nudge you in a new direction.

If you hear someone's name mentioned by a friend, see their name in the paper, and then run into them - that is confluence. If you decide you are going to start a new business, bump into someone who can design your business cards, and find a customer within the first week, you guessed it- confluence. These are not random events, but, according to Beverly Sastri, life coach and founder of "Live Like You Mean It", confluence is a cosmic nudge from the Universe offering profound insights - if we are willing to notice them.

Beverly Sastri is a master at seeking out the confluences of life. Like a super sleuth, she helps her clients by listening carefully, and stringing together seemingly insignificant events like puzzle pieces. According to Sastri:

Confluence is more than mere coincidence; it represents a universal gift, providing us with insight to our own intuitive ecosystems. Confluence is the resonating message you see on the billboard, the name that links you to a successful relationship, and the thought that comes to you out of nowhere.

A confluence takes the form of guidance, opportunities and lessons. Maybe it is a chance encounter at a party, or something you see on TV that bores into the core of your being, or a casual interaction with a stranger that leaves an indelible mark. When we race through our lives, those little confluences can be missed, and the lessons offered passed by. Sastri stresses:

Get interactive with your life and look for the metaphors - like Spring - with the new growth and confluence of rivers. There is truth in that! The reason we talk about cleaning and rebirth in the Spring is not just literary license. That is us at a core level, relating to the different ways life is a reflection of everything else."

I have to admit, I am fundamentally suspicious of anyone who calls themselves a "life coach." Coming out of the old school world of management consultants or professional training and development, the surge of the coaching profession seemed like a free-for-all for anyone to take a week long course and suddenly be qualified to give others advice. I have seen plenty of coaches who run on ego alone, and significantly misguide their clients.

However, Sastri's MBA from Cornell, and her years in working with Fortune 500 companies, coupled with her very "Zen" approach to life stood out from the crowd. I agreed to participate in a 12 session experience and find out what a qualified coach can do with a highly opinionated, skeptical chick like me.

Ahem. I think I am addicted. One of the gifts I learned is the simple act of stopping my 'Orient Express' pace, and observing the flow of life from one week to the next. It is amazing how much happens, and how many little gifts of "confluence" are so easily overlooked. Sastri slows down the raging streams, and calls attention to the little river stones that have washed to shore.

One of the tips to recognize a confluence in your life is the "power of three." If anything comes to you three times - that is a sure sign to pay careful attention. Sastri calls them "door openers," and suggests always following an experience that feels like an open door, instead of beating our hands bloody on the closed ones.

The natural energy of Spring is beckoning, and the creative drive kicks into high gear. Many of us come out of hibernation with pent up energy to start gardening, clearing out closets, painting, writing, or even changing our appearance with a hair cut or new clothes. Use it, and the power of confluence, to set a new goal for anything from weight loss, career change, new hobby, shedding unhealthy relationships, or just being more mindful and gentle with yourself, as the sun melts away the rigidity of winter. Soon the summer laziness will set in, so do it now!

I love watching my crocus, tulips and daffodils poke their heads out of the ground this time of year - and wonder what it would be like to dialogue about a Spring flower's process of starting to sprout out of the half thawed ground. It is a great mirror of our human process of change and growth. I bet it could be described as painful; "ouch, popping that fresh green shoot out of this hard bulb hurts!" Followed by fear of the unknown; "hey, it's dark down here! Which way is up?" Followed by increasing confidence and drive; "Oooh, man, this dirt is hard, but I'm on a roll and can't stop now!"

Maybe the little shoot even gives up for a time during a sudden Spring snow squall. But, eventually - a confluence of events happens: a magical warm day comes along where the Earth softens up, the birds start singing their songs, and that tender green shoot triumphantly pops out of the Earth. After that, true growth begins with a fury. The shoots seem to double in size every day, and in no time, blazes of color are everywhere.

Confluence is like that. Life is like that. Have you experienced "confluence" in your life? In what ways? Love to hear your comments below, and Let's spend the week being a super sleuth of our lives and noticing the inner details. Thanks to Beverly Sastri, who is offering an upcoming teleseminar for those interested to learn more.

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