How to Respond to Guidance (and Why I Went to India).

View from Lakshman Jhula Bridge in Rishikesh, India.

In March of this year, I went on a two-week adventure to India.

Up until the day I booked it, I hadn’t a single premonition of traversing the globe any time soon.  Zero.  I was open to it, sure.  But aside from the States, nothing stood imminent on my travel radar.  India especially.

And then one fall day amidst my daily routine at the coffeehouse, I stumbled upon a Tweet.  Mistake airfare prices.  Limited destinations.  24-hour window.  So I started to click around.

The routing was primarily to Europe, the Middle East, and Australia.  Europe was a no-go, since I recently returned from Italy.  Dubai wasn’t high enough on my bucket list quite yet.  And Australia, well, the tiny discount didn’t coax a commitment.

What about India, I casually-but-not-seriously thought, a place I some day would like to explore.

After a few more clicks, it turns out India is an option (I secretly hoped it wasn’t) – Mumbai and Delhi only – and from my location, tickets are one-third the price.  Wowza!  Interest piqued, but totally detached, I continue to follow the inkling.

As the day goes on, the idea sticks with me.  Now at home, I’m flipping through the calendar with my atlas out and Wiki India open.  A surge of both curiosity and thoughtlessness had completely taken over.

And ultimately, it won.

No advanced planning or room for rationalization.  I went to get some coffee and ended up with a ticket to India.  Unarguably the most liberating YES I’ve said to date.  Pre-trip insight:

Let thrill be thy will.  Seriously, let it.  Good shit will happen.

The following day, I reflected on the enormous energy that pulled me to buy the plane ticket.  And through a little introspection, well, I realized that India had been incubating in my subconscious for quite some time.

small hints from that week alone:

:  shopped for a new mala.
:  sat next to an Indian family at lunch.
:  watched an Anne Lamott interview about her life-affirming trip to India.
:  started doing Kundalini yoga.
:  was curious about a PBS documentary called India.

(Didn’t connect any of this at the time).

the LOUD whispers:

:  two weeks prior while on the road, I checked into a motel in rural Arkansas.  The hotel manager was an Indian man.  While waiting for my room, I noticed a copy of the Bhagavad Gita in the breakfast area.  “Can I borrow this for the night, sir?” I asked politely.

“The Vad Gita?” he responded.

“Yes.”  (And wow, he said that way cooler than me).

“You can have it.”

Totally sublime moment.  P.S.  If you’re looking for Krishna, his latest incarnation landed him a night-gig at the America’s Best Value Inn in Morrilton, Arkansas.  Just sayin’…

: speaking of Krishna, the day before I purchase my India ticket, I spontaneously decide to sell my old computer on Craigslist.  Hours after listing it, I receive an e-mail offer from one individual.  His name?

Krishna.  (True story).

Did all of these things validate my decision?  Not really, but they’re nice reflections of the magic at-bat even when we’re not trying to “think things up.”

In the end, it came down to resonance and grace.  I’m super duper committed to the road of my code and India was a major green light.  Which, in retrospect, made the choice quite easy, actually.


1.  Move with the resonance.

Something was working through me that Saturday afternoon.  So much so that I had virtually no fear around my 8,000-mile decision. I figure if you can’t shake the pull, maybe it’s because you’re not supposed to?  Just a thought.  Keep swimming with the current.

2.  Choose with a brisk pace.

There was about a three-hour gap between the idea of India and the clicking of the “confirm” button.  During that time I allowed a lot of egoic silliness to creep in.  You’re going to India…really T.J.?  Quick, point to Delhi on a map.  I knew the longer I withheld, the more I’d delude the spark.  The 24-hour shot clock was my opportunity to practice on-the-spot choosing.  If you think about it, deadlines can be magical starting lines, really.

3.  Realize there’s more at work than what meets the eye.

On the surface, I bought a plane ticket to India, an exotic and faraway land. Temples, the Taj, rickshaws, and chai.  But on a cellular level, there was so much more aligning.  There were stories and synchronicities and miracles being placed on my path that I could never have dreamt of, planned for, or placed in a better spot at a better time.  That goes for your path too.  Get comfortable with that truth.

4.  Give yourself permission to be completely swept off your feet.  It’s OK.

Transportation and hotel bookings and dogsitters are small details, not excuses to cede the Call.  Get jacked up.  Be illogical.  Free your fire. Sometimes you just gotta go with it.  Life’s greatest accomplishments were built by souls without a clue of how they’d pull it off.  And they did…. somehow…. in some way.  You will too.

5.  Don’t try to explain “why.”

When I told people about India, I received one of two responses:  “What, why would you go to India?” (filled with judgment and prudence), and “Wow, what an experience that will be!  I can’t wait to hear about it” (filled with awe and inspiration).  There wasn’t much middle of a ground here, people either “got it” or didn’t at all.  And to those who didn’t, I found myself defaming my Call, “Well, ya know, I got a really good price on a flight.”  Bullshit!  That was just the final piece. Lesson?

Never ever ever try to justify a Spirit Call.  Ever.  That’s a sacred agreement between you and your Source.

6.  Remember what makes you feel ALIVE.

Feeling alive is your greatest service to mankind.  It’s like a big Thank You card to the Divine.  Dare to see the beauty and brilliance through the simple act of participating in your play.

Keep responding to life and she’ll keep on talking.






  1. Allison 3 years ago #

    GREAT post, TJ!

    • TJ Olwig 3 years ago #

      Thanks A!

      • Miracle Mindy 3 years ago #

        Luv it! Especially your Sacred agreement that you Honored between you and Source. Can’t wait to hear more about India’s offerings!

  2. Susan 3 years ago #

    Committed to “the road of my code” . Love it! Great willingness on your part!

  3. Teri 3 years ago #

    I know a man like you who is experiencing his life abundantly, and purely, and living his dreams.You are another one of those guys and I love you for your truth, and bravery to follow your heart

    • TJ Olwig 3 years ago #

      “Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it.”

  4. Sharon 2 years ago #

    Ok so this made me chuckle…and relate!! I completely understand it. Don’t “shake the pull” and keep “swimming with the current”!! And you know I’d never be the one to ask why you went. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *