Being grateful, and going where the universe leads

I try to be grateful, but sometimes it’s challenging.

Freelance writing is a good example. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve slammed the door on freelancing, but I always end up going back to it.

I’ve been back at the game now for a couple months. Aside from one really big and comparatively lucrative project for a former client I used to write for a lot, almost everything I’ve been doing lately is on Upwork. It’s soul-killing, mostly grossly underpaid stuff for clients on Upwork who don’t even give me a byline.

I’ve been grateful to have the work and income because it makes our lives easier to have it. But every time I go back to Upwork, I remember why I hate it. Yet as much as I hate it, I’m also grateful for it. That’s more the theme of this post, so please keep reading.

The difference this time is that I’m starting to really believe I deserve better. (That seems to be a prevailing theme in my life lately.) I have this one Upwork client who gives me regular, ongoing work, but it’s tons of words for an insultingly low rate. I just finished one project for him and earlier today, I asked the universe to send me better work so I could let this client go.

Voila! Within just a few hours, a new non-Upwork client sent me enough work that pays 10 times better than the cheapo Upwork guy. Instead of writing about stuff I don’t care or know about like roof warranties or how to install a pond in your backyard, I’ll be writing all healthcare-related articles. I love writing healthcare articles.

Ten times the pay to write about the latest skin care trends or the importance of treating sleep apnea? Yes, please. Thank you, universe.

I may not know what I believe about religion–okay, no, that’s a lie. I do know what I know about religion, and it’s that there’s some type of universal spirit that operates for good. We can ask it for things and if receiving it would be for our benefit, many times we’ll receive it. (Unless of course, we have some lesson to learn from not receiving it, or receiving it would be harmful in some way that we can’t see at the time.)

I do believe that you can’t significantly alter the universe’s plans for you when you are open to following them. For example, when my husband was recently job searching because layoffs were imminent, we were praying to God for a new job. He got what I believe was the right job after multiple interviews with multiple companies.

He actually really wanted one different job a couple months earlier in the process with a well-known company in downtown Dallas that had tons of cool perks. But that wasn’t the one he was supposed to get.

It didn’t happen as fast as we wanted it to. In fact, it happened to coincide exactly with when the mass layoffs hit at his old job. He would have been spared, but their offer was terrible. Somehow he came out of it with severance pay and a week off before starting the new job, and health insurance from day one at the new job.

You can call that God if you want. For me, I call it intentionally making the effort to align ourselves with the direction the universe wants us to go.

I think the same thing happened with the house we live in. We had to wait much longer than I wanted in a really bad environment (with swarming termites!!!), but what we got was much better than anything else we saw in the price range. It was worth the wait and the temporary misery.

I’m doing the same thing now regarding disability and work and grad school. I will wind up where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

There are two critical components to getting something good in my view, in addition to seeking to be in line with the universe.

One is the desire to keep getting better as a person, to keep learning lessons and be of service. I don’t believe you can be stagnant and still receive as many blessings. My own personal lessons are working on my pride and trying to be less selfish.

I also work hard to view my struggles, particularly regarding my health, as less dramatic. The older I get, the more I realize everyone is suffering from something. Making a big deal of my own suffering doesn’t make me feel better, anyway–it just makes me think of what other people could be suffering with in silence.

It makes me feel kinda pathetic to think of complaining about my MS if the person I’m talking to has terminal cancer and hasn’t mentioned it. This has actually happened to me before. How humbling and mortifying that was.

The other thing is to be grateful. The universe is not a vending machine and there’s no guarantee that you’ll always get what you ask for. All you can do is be deeply, genuinely grateful for what you do get. I try to never take what I have for granted as an entitlement, but I still fail sometimes. We have a tendency to get used to what we have, not realizing what a privilege it is to have it in the first place.

Mostly, I just have to be open to whatever comes. I am learning to expect that things will usually work out. And if they don’t, I’ll get through it. It’s like I finally feel that the universe will catch me, and that gives me a profound freedom from fear.

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