It is part of my philosophy that the Universe gives us all of the things we need. Not just subsistence. It gives us everything we require to be completely happy, if we just let it. If we just accept what is offered, instead of looking for the trap in the gift.

There is no trap.

There is just a gift.

If you are a parent, you know how glad you are when your children are happy.

Why do you think the Gods are any different?

Do you think you are a better parent than they are?

Of course they want us to be happy!

Now, the Gods and the Universe don't always give us what we want, any more than a good parent gives her kids everything they want. Some of the things that kids think they want wouldn't be good for them at all. Some would hurt them quite a lot. Some would break almost at once. Some would set them up as targets for other kids, and possibly get them killed. Some they would simply loose interest in within a few days. Parents don't get all that stuff. Not if they love their children.

In just that way, the Gods don't give us everything that we ask for. Some of it would be very painful if we really had it. Some would cause us to forget what we were here for. Some would make us bitter and angry. There are lots of reasons not to have stuff.

And, just to make it simple, those things won't be offered.

If you want to go to Hollywood, and try to get into films, you can try for it. It would be a hard life, I think. Long hours, no privacy, people saying all kinds of mean things about you (true or not.) Not to mention the incredible boredom "extras" and "background people" expierence while sitting through the very same action again and again as take after take is filmed from all kinds of angles for hours and hours. And most people start in those tiny roles. But some folks want it. If you think you do, try it. If it isn't for you, you simply won't get a part.

Which doesn't mean that if you do, and you get a part, that all the things connected with it will be wonderful. It depends on which lessons you want to learn.

If a child tells his mother that he wants to get a paper route, she is likely to let him do it. She may point out that it means getting up very early every morning, no matter how he feels. She may talk to him about responsibility, and the neccessity of keeping track of who has paid, and who hasn't. She may warn him about the hazards that she knows of along the route.

But if he really wants to do it, and she knows that it will be safe for him, she will probably let him.

Because, even if he only does it for a little while, the things he can learn from the job will stand him in good stead for the rest of his life.

She may know that it's always a chore to get him out of bed, and be pretty sure that he is going to just hate getting up at 4 am.

But she will let him find that out himself.

Because if she tells him, he will never quite believe it. He will always be sure that he could have done it.

But if he realizes it himself, he will know it. And he will be able to take it into account in the other things he plans for himself for the rest of his life.

Or he will surprise her, and manage to get up at that hour after all. He will be able to find the inner strength necessary to overcome his desire to stay in bed. And that, too, will be a wonderful thing to know about himself. That he can over-rule his bodily desires, if he really wants to.

But, in either case, having to drag himself out of bed at four won't be a punishment meted out by his mother because he chose to take the paper route instead of choosing to stay home and help her. It won't have anything to do with that. It will simply be the natural consequence of taking the route.

If he had thought it through, and been honest with himself, he would have known it was likely to be a problem. Knowing that he hates to get up, and that he would have to be out of bed every single morning 'way before it got light, he could have seen this coming.

In just that way, if you are honest with yourself about the things you are asking for, you will be able to see the possible problems ahead. If you are intent on being a Hollywood Star, to return to that scenario, but you are still in the broomcloset, this may very well be a problem. If you reach that status, it may just come out.

If you know this ahead of time, and are ready for it, it is likely to be fine.

If you are blindsided by it, it may not be.

And there is no reason to be blindsided.

Part of being empowered is to stop hindering yourself. And that means that you allow yourself to think everything through honestly, and be prepared for any possible outcome. Especially the ones that are certain!

But don't think of failure in any venture as punishment for trying. Think of it as a chance to learn something valuable about yourself or the situation.

If the paper route was really risky, and took the boy through heavy traffic, or dangerous neighborhoods, or past an open construction site, his mother would probably not allow him to take it.

So the Gods won't allow us to do things that would be really bad for us. The parts just won't show up, no mtter how long you hang out in Hollywood, working in a cafe during the night and auditioning all day. I believe that if it's not something you are supposed to be doing, you won't get the chance.

So, if you get the chance, go for it. Enjoy it!

Allow yourself to be happy.

This is important, because I also think that the Universe treats us exactly the way we expect to be treated.

If we expect to be miserable, and to have everything turn out badly, it is likely to happen just that way.

And I think that we show the Universe what we expect by the way that we treat others.

When you meet a new person, you show them, by your behaviour, how to treat you.

If you think that most people are basically good, then you will treat them as if they were. You will be honest with them, since that is what you expect from them. You will trust them, since you expect them to be trustworthy. You will be polite, since you expect them to be polite. And if you treat people this way, they will treat you the same way. And you will find that most people are, in fact, basically good.

If, on the other hand, you think that most people are out to make a buck, and to make it from you if they can, then you will treat them as if they were. You will not hesitate to cheat them, since you figure that they are going to be cheating you. You will lie to them, since you assume that they are lying to you. You will be nasty to them, since you think that they are nasty people, and they deserve it. And they will treat you just the same way.

Think about it.

You probably know lots of people. Some of them are nice, and some are not. Some are probably real slimeballs. And you treat these people in different ways, don't you? You are probably nice to the nice ones. You don't really trust the ones who don't trust you. And you may treat the slimeballs like the jerks they are.

Their expectations have shaped your behaviour.

Have you ever known someone who is generally one way with most people, but treats you differently? Your expections were stronger than his, and shaped his behaviour.

In a very real sense, we each live in separate universes; different facets, if you will, of the Consensual Universe which we all share. They are composed of our own experiences and our reactions to and memories of those experiences. If you come from a family with several children, try comparing notes about an occasion which all of you remember. Someone's birthday party, or a vacation, or the time you moved.

I'll bet that you all remember it slightly differently.

Your memories may even be significantly different, depending on who was where, and what they saw and experienced.

The very same move that was an occasion of grief and separation for your sister, an event that shaped her whole life and has caused her to cling to friendships and fear abandoment, may have been a time of joy and relief for your brother, as he was able to leave the bully behind and move on to a new life free of brutality.

In her universe, change may be unwelcome and stressful, a thing to be avoided at almost any cost.

In his, it may be the best way out of a situation that he cannot control. Or it may be simply a delightful path to be chosen frequently, just for variety!

If you get into comparing memories about your parents, you may come to the conclusion that you were raised by different people. But you weren't. And yet you were. Your beliefs and expectations shaped the things that you saw and did. And those things shape the Universe that you live in.

If you expect grief and trails at every step, you will get them. And the more you get, the more you know that your expectations are correct. Your belief about the Universe will be validated.

It's a viscious circle.

But you can break out of it.

And you don't need anyone else to free you.

You can do it yourself.

Just decide, one time, that this thing will turn out well.

Choose something that you really believe can.

Don't decide that you will win the lottery. You probably know too well, deep inside, that the odds are very much against it. And you won't be able to overcome that; so you will doom yourself to failure yet again.

Decide that the stranger at the bus stop will smile at you, and be friendly.

Believe it, deep inside. Treat them as if they already have. Not as if you are trying this, and you don't expect them to, or are afraid that they won't. But as if they have been friendly to you for days now.

I'll bet that they are!

Because that is how it works. That is exactly what I mean when I say that you get what you expect. Your behaviour shapes the behaviour of those around you.

I believe that the Universe is also endlessly patient with us.

I don't think that we get one chance, and if we blow it we will never have another.

I believe that we get endless chances, over and over again.

If we are having a problem learning something, we get to be in that very same situation again and again until we learn it!

So, if you find yourself in a situation that you don't like, my advice is to learn all you can about it as quickly as you can! And learn it well enough that you never have to go through that again.

Even if that isn't why you found yourself there, at least you will get the positive benefit of learning out of the whole thing!

And learning, in my experience, is always useful. It can always be applied to some other situation, some other time, to save you a bunch of grief.