Have you ever had the experience of something important hitting you unexpectedly? Maybe a light bulb moment or a revelation? I had an experience like that a few months ago. What grabbed my attention that day was a patch of bramble.

It was a fairly chilly day in the northeast, and I was out walking at the local park while listening to an audiobook on my iPod. The story’s subject had been in a long term career that left her feeling dissatisfied and empty. She really wanted to follow her dreams, but she had a lot of self-doubt and fear. She was trying to convince herself that it would be easier to just stick with what she knew, happy or not.

As I was listening to the woman’s story, I started to think about my own path. Was I doing the same thing? Had I created barriers to seeing my dreams unfold? What was holding me back from embracing my heartfelt desire?

That’s when it happened. I had become so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I was no longer listening to the narrator or paying attention to where I was walking. One more step and I was snatched backwards by a briar bush tangled in my hair. After parting myself from the thorny plant and recovering from the momentary shock, it occurred to me that I was supposed to be getting a message. Nature often reveals lessons to me when I am open to noticing.

Perhaps I needed to use the power of awareness and change direction. After all, if I had done both, I wouldn’t have been tangled in the bramble. Awareness and timing are important factors in the unfolding of our life purpose. If we aren’t paying attention, we won’t pick up on the opportunities rising up to meet our hard work and preparation. If we create so much chatter in our head and let our ego determine the course of action, navigating the path ahead will be more difficult. Rather than spend our time distracted and dissatisfied, we’re better served by staying present as the journey takes us where it will, seeing the difficulties as growth opportunities, and appreciating the support that carries us forward when we trust in the path we’re meant to travel.

Is there a dream in your heart that wants to be followed? What’s holding you back? My wish for you as we begin 2018 is that you will tap into your intuition, be kind to yourself, and be open to all the wonderful things that are waiting to show you the way forward.