Updated: May 12, 2021
I’m dedicating this one to all of the graduating seniors this year, whether it be from high school or college, commencement is a special time of year. A time when we honor milestones achieved and we begin to dream of what our lives might look like in the future.
I can remember, not too long ago, I sat outside one starry night, gazing upon the Boston skyline my senior year of college asking this very question. “God, who will I be? What am I meant to do with my life?”
Over the years, I find myself continuing to ask this same question, only it has changed slightly. Now I ask, “God, show me how can I be of service. How am I meant to serve?”
My life has taken many unexpected turns. I can tell you I never expected to be working as a spiritual psychic medium. And I never knew how blessed I would feel to be a wife and a mother of two beautiful boys.
I’m not sure where I thought I would end up or who I would become, but there are some simple truths I’ve learned along the way. Some I’ve learned the hard way, and others I’ve learned from friends, family, colleagues, and mentors. And best of all, just like you, I’m continuing to dream, to work towards my goals, and to embrace the journey that unfolds. Here are some simple truths:
Be Kind. I think most of us learned this in Kindergarten but it goes a long way. Simply put, treat others how you would like to be treated. I learned this mantra from my grandmother who showed kindness to everyone she met. In the end, she could measure her accomplishments by the countless lives she touched, inspired, and encouraged by simply showing kindness and a generous heart. The kindness we give comes back to us in unexpected ways and we never know the ripple effects or the lives we touch with one simple act.
It’s OK to Fail. This was a tough one for me. Growing up I always put a lot of pressure on myself to do my best and to be perfect. But eventually I realized that by fearing to make mistakes, by fearing to take chances, I was holding myself back. I discovered that in order to grow, failure is also a part of the journey. The key for me was to reflect on the experience and then strive to do better the next time. And to also give myself permission to say, “That’s OK. I tried my best. And my best is always good enough.”
Think Before You Speak. Many of us have heard this saying, and for me it has certainly rang true. I know there are times I’ve spoken too harshly and too quickly and unfortunately once a word is spoken it cannot be taken back. Learn to give yourself a moment to pause, to reflect, to think on something before you speak. I know for me taking some time to meditate or sleep on something always brings a fresh perspective and allows me time to step back from what may be an emotional response.
Admit When You are Wrong. Although it doesn’t always make things right, a sincere apology can go a long way to mend a relationship. It takes a big person to acknowledge mistakes and opportunities to do better. I have made more mistakes than I can count on this journey, but I do always strive to learn from those mistakes and takes steps to improve upon myself and past actions.
Trust Your Gut. This is a big one. Before many big life changes and even smaller day-to-day things, I’ve learned to listen to my body. To say a prayer and listen to the guidance I receive. Sometimes first impressions are right on the money. Sometimes, we hear a voice saying, “No. Don’t do this,” and we do it anyways, only to regret the choice we made. And other times, without thinking but simply listening to our heart we hear, “Go for it. You can do it,” and just like that we’ve taken a leap of faith that has opened new doors and opportunities we could never have imagined.
Do the Right Thing. “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching,” said C.S. Lewis. This is a big one. If you want to feel better about your actions it begins with honoring what we know to be right. Not being afraid to speak the truth, to speak up for others, and of course do the right thing even when we think no one is watching. In my experience, there is always someone watching and living a life with integrity means carrying yourself in a way that you would want to be treated.
Give Yourself Permission to Change. This one is so important. I think John Lennon said it best, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” It’s OK to dream, It’s OK to try new things, It’s OK to fail, and It’s OK to embrace unexpected blessings. Sometimes those blessings are initially seen as hardships, painful moments, and challenges that we will all face at some point in our lives. Being a silver lining type of gal, I’ve found that if we can keep the faith, and keep asking for guidance -- miracles, new beginnings, and opportunities for second chances are given. It's never too late to try again.
Keep the Faith. Again, every life will encounter ups and downs, unexpected and trying times. For me, my relationship with God has helped me navigate these rough waters. Although not always easy, I'm learning to trust that even though I may not understand the “why,” that there is a plan for my life, one much bigger and greater than I will ever know.
With prayer and asking, “How can I serve?” The doors that are meant to close often do, and the ones that are meant to open eventually will. Just like the kindness you’ve shown to others, in our moments of need there is often a gentle whisper guiding our thoughts, perhaps the voice of God or the soul. And just when we need it most, there is often a hand being offered by a friend or even a stranger letting you know you’re not alone.
I’m a believer in the power of prayer and miracles -- as I know I’ve had more than a few. “There are only two ways to live your life,” said Albert Einstein. “One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
And while I certainly don’t have the meaning of life figured out as I begin to close in on half a century of living I’m beginning to see that the little things are the big things – and don’t forget to make time for the fun things, too.
Wishing all of this year’s graduates and those who are travelers on this journey of life, a road to walk that is illuminated in light, shared with a few good friends, and filled with many happy memories along the way.
Lori Sheridan is a spiritual psychic medium, teacher, and the owner of Hope Ethereal. For nearly 20 years she has helped those who are grieving connect with their loved ones on the other side as a spiritual medium. She hopes the classes and programs offered at Hope Ethereal inspire hope, healing, and a deeper connection with Spirit. She believes love and life are eternal. Learn more at www.HopeEthereal.com