hand reaching for old keys dangling

The key

In Insight and Experience by marlyse.caroollLeave a Comment

Intention and manifestation, asking Spirit for a sign: this is the true story of the past seven years of my life. It’s about blessings and challenges, about pain and growth, about facing darkness and finding light.

Gabrielle stood on the front verandah of her round house and put her boots on. No fashion statement there, they were Blundstones, a pair of rather ordinary brown farmers’ boots, the ones she had used to paint the house a year earlier, and they still had yellow and slate grey stains under more recent scuff marks.

“Daggy boots for a daggy mum!” as her daughter would have said.

She was ready for a walk in the forest. It had rained all night and she was looking forward to exploring new parts of her forest. Yes, it was hers. Well, as much hers as a title deed could make a piece of land anyone’s property. She was well aware that she belonged to this land far more than the land belonged to her. She saw herself as its caretaker much more than its owner. In her more mystical moods, she would have said she was one of Nature’s devotees.

The month was September, the time was 10:15am, the sky was grey. It was also cold and windy; the sort of day that many would describe as ‘terrible’, and yet to Gabrielle, it was just another beautiful day – a perfect morning to explore a corner of her country property.

She felt a surge of gratitude as she reached the woods. She felt happy and excited, like a well-loved kid on a Christmas morning. Her step had a bounce that belied her real age.

She remembered from her childhood cut pine trees full of candles and ornaments, half-hiding mysterious presents piled under their lower branches. And now it was as if she was walking under thousands of native Christmas trees. They were glittering with morning dew, rain drops shining like miniature fairy lights, wet spider webs linking the undergrowth, millions of native ferns radiating all shades of green.

Gabrielle marveled at the variety of trees and bushes that thrived under giant Mountain Ash trees. She couldn’t see any native animals, yet she knew they were there, just like the presents under the Christmas trees of her childhood. This forest had been left alone for over 100 years. It was now protected by a ‘trust for nature’ covenant – a safe haven for wildlife. Paradise. Her private paradise. Another miracle in Gabrielle’s life.

It had all started exactly seven years earlier, when Gabrielle spontaneously decided one day to create a new treasure map representing her ideal life with her partner Michael. It was a Saturday afternoon on another rainy September day.

For a while now, Gabrielle and Michael had fantasised about living in the country. They had also discussed the car they would ideally like to have; a four-wheel drive to go with their rural property, of course! They also had a clear vision of where their meditation business was heading, giving birth and supporting numerous smaller centres. They envisaged growing old together, joyfully welcoming wrinkles, wisdom and grandchildren as their rewards for a life well lived.

They talked about love and abundance. They talked about spending three months a year in Provence. They talked about making a difference and not taking themselves too seriously. On the spur of the moment, Gabrielle gathered beautiful books and magazines and started cutting pictures. “After all” she thought, “inspiring pictures are meant to be seen, not buried in bookshelves”. So she happily cannibalised a few glossy publications!

She then got from the garage a framed board she had saved for years, and a rather dry acrylic paint kit. Even though it only held four tubes – red, blue, yellow and white, she decided that nothing was going to stop her now. “Shops are closed,” she said to Michael, “too bad, I’ll make the most of what we have and that is that. Just like life.” She also warned him that she wouldn’t go to bed until it was done, and that if he was hungry he had better get dinner ready!

And so it happened. She was on a mission. Michael cooked. They ate. He washed up. He read for a while and then went to bed. Gabrielle kept at it. Painting, cutting, gluing, ungluing, looking for more pictures, laughing, talking to herself, creating with passion.. About 12 hours later, by 5am, she was done. Exhausted and exhilarated. She had put together the map of their future life together. She went to bed happy, resisting the temptation to wake Michael up to show him her artwork.

The next day, looking at their treasure map, she felt that something was missing. “Ah” she thought “the key to the country property. We must have a key!” So she found a shiny spare key and glued it to the board – her last finishing touch.

Together they hung the board on the wall of their meditation room.

Then miracles started to happen. One after the other, what they had chosen for their treasure map started to manifest in the physical realm. Sometimes in easy ways, sometimes not. Sometimes earlier than planned, sometimes later. All in God’s way and all in God’s time!

Healthy babies, their first grandchildren, joined the family. They were ecstatic. They also won a superb four-wheel-drive with a raffle ticket. They felt blessed beyond description. A succession of other lucky events came their way.

And yet, a year later, it seemed that luck abandoned them. Their meditation business hit a succession of rough spots. They decided to sell their suburban home to keep the business going. They agreed they would live like gypsies for a while, house-sitting or sleeping in the office, letting go of material attachments.

Then, within a few months, they both experienced the grief of losing their respective fathers. More tears and pain rose to the surface as they worked at releasing deeply rooted emotional attachments …

With a fair chunk of money now invested in their ailing business, the dream country property seemed totally out of reach. Most of their possessions went into storage. They took the treasure map with them and hid it under the office. Just as planned, but certainly not in the way they had envisaged, Michael and Gabrielle did grow older and wiser.

As Gabrielle kept walking in the forest, the beautiful little forest that she officially owned, she found it hard to believe that only three years earlier, she and Michael had lived in a basement without hot water, shower, stove, washing machine or television. Their only furniture had been a futon sofa bed, a table and a couple of chairs. They learnt to live simply, boiling the kettle to wash out of a bucket, just like their great grand-parents used to. Gabrielle became an expert at cooking one-pot meals.

They called their lifestyle ‘camping’ because using this word helped them feel better about it. It was tough though. They worked day and night to get their business back on track.

One day, in that basement, Gabrielle sat down on the floor and allowed herself to dream again. The month was September, exactly four years after the creation of their treasure map. In a meditative state, she imagined an ideal lifestyle. She, who worked seven days a week from morning to night, dared to dream that she had a life again. A healthy and happy life where she felt abundant and free, and where she could spend her time in any way she liked.

Before long, she jumped up, grabbed her laptop and typed a short piece titled “My Ideal Day”. In it she briefly described her ideal surroundings, that beautiful imaginary country property with uninterrupted views over rolling hills, the hexagonal house with floor to ceiling windows facing East, the verandah all around, the big sunny terrace with comfortable garden furniture and a water feature.

She wrote of working at their business in town only two to three days a week, and staying in the Hills the rest of the time. She wrote of leisurely morning routines with Michael, exercising, meditating, working in the garden, growing flowers and organic vegies, walking, or just pottering around the house, enjoying sunshine and fresh air. She wrote of spending most afternoons working on inspiring projects, writing books, creating new courses and studying.

She wrote of rest and balance, of leisure and fun, of space and freedom.

It took less than three years to become real. 100% accurate. All of it from wild dream to reality. First of all, financial abundance came their way in unexpected ways. Both Michael and Gabrielle inherited enough money to put a country property back on the map. Now debt-free, they started looking for appropriate land on which to build their dream home.

As Gabrielle kept walking in the forest, noticing patches of blackberry that would need to be cut off, she had a little chuckle as she remembered their first walk on this land and their encounter with ‘the key’. The incredible and yet true story of the country property’s key.

They actually found the rural property when they got lost looking for another one. On the side of that ‘wrong road’ as they had just labelled it, was a big sign advertising “10 acres for sale, 2 acres cleared, 8 acres of forest, Trust for Nature covenant.”

They stopped. The view towards the Yarra Ranges was breathtaking – gentle slope facing East with plenty of room to build a home next to a beautiful native forest full of birds. Just what they had ordered! Actually the size of the land was the only characteristic on which Michael and Gabrielle had disagreed. Michael always wanted 10 acres. Gabrielle was content with two. “We’re not farmers” she used to say “What would we do with 10 acres? Grow potatoes or keep cows? No thanks, not for me.”

So the Universe decided to give them both what they wanted. No need to grow potatoes or cattle, and the forest wasn’t to be touched, only maintained free of noxious weeks. How perfect! They straightaway organised an appointment with the estate agent advertising it. “Tomorrow afternoon at 1pm” was the agreed time.

That very night, Gabrielle meditated on their luck. It just seemed too good to be true. They were still sleeping in their basement and such abundance seemed just incongruous. So in her meditation Gabrielle asked Spirit to give her a sign the next day.

“Please Spirit, make it a really obvious sign” she pleaded. “Something that in my most sceptical mode I cannot possibly dismiss. Not just funny clouds or a flock of rosellas… Please Spirit, give us a sign. Is that land really the paradise we’re looking for? It sure looks like it, but is it…?”

Next day, they met the agent. They discussed price, terms, covenant and then the agent left.

At that stage, Gabrielle and Michael were standing in the middle of the cleared two acres, right next to a big wombat’s hole. Suddenly Gabrielle said “Hey, we haven’t had the sign. Every time I ask Spirit for a sign, they always deliver. But today I haven’t seen any sign, have you?” “No” was the laconic answer, “I haven’t either”.

So Gabrielle looked up. Clouds, yes. Plenty of them. Any signs? No. She looked around, at the tree tops, at the road, at the fields extending in every direction. Any signs? No. Then she looked down. Could the wombat’s hole be a sign? She decided it wasn’t. And only then did she notice something else. Something small and silvery in between two tufts of grass exactly midway between her feet. She blinked and looked again. It was still there. So eventually, very slowly, she bent down. And here it was: the key!

In the middle of this rural property which had never been inhabited, Gabrielle picked up a brand new house key just like the one she had glued all these years before on their treasure map. She held it up.

“I think we’re home, my darling” she said. And then they fell in each other’s arms and laughed and laughed until they almost cried.

Two years later, they moved into their dream home. Thanks to outstanding staff, the business got re-organised in ways that now allows them to work part-time. Gabrielle works mostly from home, every morning in the garden and every afternoon in her round upstairs office, doing what she loves doing! The key that doesn’t open any physical door is still on her key-ring. Just a little reminder in case she ever forgot about faith.

Thanks to the Universe for space and freedom, rest and balance, leisure and fun.

Marlyse Carroll is a principal of the Inner Peace Institute for Wellbeing in Melbourne. This story appears in her latest book: ‘Am I Going Mad?’ which is now available in all good bookstores. 

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