young girl sitting on the beach with s bright light and books
Image by Enrique Meseguer

Narrated by Marie T. Russell

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One of my favorite dishes at Chinese restaurants used to be Sweet and Sour anything... I loved the tangy "sour" flavor combined with the sweetness in the sauce.

I think that "sweet and sour" is an apt description for life... some sweetness mixed in with some sour, or in a non-food comparison, light mixed with dark. Many of us would probably prefer to only have the sweet experiences of life. However, at this time, on this planet, that is not our reality. We have a bit of a smorgasbord of events and experiences -- some sweet, some sour. 

The key may be to discover the sweetness that is embedded even in the sour moments. A hurricane brings out the helpfulness in neighbors, an injury encourages people to empathize, a crying child brings out the desire to comfort and help, etc.

So, rather than focusing on the sour aspects of life, we can choose to notice the sweet experiences that can be hidden in the sour moments. And more than that, we can choose to add some love, caring and compassion to life's recipe, and thus increase the total amount of sweetness in the world.

The Power of Intent

If we start off with the thought that we "won't succeed" at something, since the Universe responds to what we say and think, it interprets that as a request... that we not succeed. After all, didn't we just state, or project, that we wouldn't? 

This is why our intention is such a powerful tool in everyday life. We must have the intention (which includes our expectations, beliefs, etc.) that we will attain our goal. Whatever our goal is, whether short-term or long-term, our belief translates into intention.

If we want to attain a goal, we must first believe that we will attain it, or at the least that we can attain it. If we start off with a repeated thought (which becomes translated into an intent) that we won't reach our goal, we just close the door in our own face. We are best served when we examine our thoughts and beliefs and make sure they align with our stated intentions.

Trust Your Instincts

Humans have a built-in mechanism to lead us to the goodness in life and to fulfill our dreams. And we all have it... It is known by various names: intuition, instinct, or gut feelings. Gut feelings are often connected with negative bits of information, as in "I have a gut feeling I shouldn't go to that place". Since your gut is located in your power center or solar plexus chakra, it often can be a physical feeling associated with fear or loss of power.

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Intuition can be more of an etheric or third eye chakra process. It's almost a thought or a whisper... not as much of a physical feeling, and it guides you to the next step for your highest good. It can also be a "don't do this" feeling or message, but seems to generally be more gentle than a gut feeling which can be more visceral. 

Animals (humans included) all have instincts... Our instincts alert us to danger, and they also inspire us to go where there is something wonderful awaiting us. Our instinct leads us to the sweetness of life and assists us in manifesting our intentions.

How do we access this guidance? We remain aware and keep our senses open for messages and hints from the world-at-large (a.k.a. The Universe) and from our own inner self. And then, of course, it is up to us to choose to trust our instincts and act upon them.

The Soundtrack of Your Life

What we listen to, and what we pay attention to, shapes our experience of life. And this includes the chatter going on in our head. We've usually got certain tracks on repeat, such as "nobody loves me" or "everybody is picking on me" or "I'm not good enough..." or whatever your favored self-criticism is.

When we repeat these "sound bites" over and over, they have a tendency to become all we focus on, and thus they become all we see and definitely what we believe to be true. Thus, we don't hear or see the joy, the love, the pleasure of life, because our channel is tuned in to the negative blah, blah, blah channel.

Fortunately, you are the one who decides which channel you tune in to and listen to -- both on the inner, and the outer. If the channel you're on doesn't bring you pleasure or joy, experiment with cutting back the number of times you "accept unconditionally" all the negativity that is being absorbed in your system. Then experiment with changing the thoughts you repeat to yourself, thus radically changing the soundtrack of your life.

Lighting the Darkness

Turning on a light in a dark room makes the darkness go away. In much the same way, lighting up our heart with love can make the darkness disappear in our life and the lives of those around us.

When we see someone who is sad or upset, our loving words, attitude and actions can make a difference in their experience.

While darkness is part of life, just as night and day, the light of a loving heart can lighten up the darkness. Our attitude and our actions can light up the world. 

Dream Intently

Our hopes and dreams are the foundation of our future. The life we create, day by day, is based on them. However, our dreams also include the nightmarish stories we tell ourselves about the future.

Our hopes and dreams have, at the least, two settings: expansive daydream-mode and constrictive nightmare-projection mode. Rather than let our mind roam freely between one and the other, we can choose the mode that brings us more joy, more love, and more inner peace. 

We can change our settings from fear-mode to daydream mode. We can daydream with the intention of imagining a better future. This guides us to discover what our heart truly desires, and helps us create the future that we wish for ourselves... and for all.

Share Your Dreams

We all have a role to play in the lives of the people around us. Because we are all connected, our highest dreams and visions are also connected. Sometimes we are the missing link and important connection between two people. And sometimes we are the missing piece in someone else's puzzle, or vice versa. 

We mustn't let fear of ridicule or of being misunderstood keep us from sharing our dreams. When we share our hopes, dreams and visions with others, we allow them to see how they might fit into our puzzle.

The more we lovingly and openly share our dreams and do our part in this global experience called Life on Planet Earth, the more we can help make a greater vision come true.

Article inspired from:

The Life Navigator Deck
by Jane Delaford Taylor and Manoj Vijayan.

cover art: The Life Navigator Deck byby Jane Delaford Taylor and Manoj Vijayan.Whether we are navigating tumultuous eddies or paddling in still water, this set of inspirational cards offers guidance and new perspectives for our day. The cards focus on empowering us, encouraging us to trust in our own innate abilities to handle life in a truly positive, creative and dynamic way. 

The pack can be dipped into for instant inspiration as each card contains one idea with the text beautifully supported by well-chosen artwork. 

Info/Order this card deck.

More Inspirational Card Decks 

About The Author

Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.

Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on