5. Pull an Eckhart Tolle: Shrink the focus of your attention to this present moment. Are you going through a divorce, bankruptcy, or similarly difficult experience? Maybe—but right now, you're just reading this. Be here now. When you plan, plan here now. Don't preemptively grapple with circumstances that don't yet exist. Living this moment in peace, tuned in to your inner timekeeper, will lay the groundwork for the best possible future.
6. Go back to sensing your pulse throughout your body (this returns you to a peaceful place if you've been unsettled), and ask yourself what you feel you should do about each situation in your life. As you begin articulating what you know or suspect about the right course of action, your body will relax. Even if things look scary, accepting the truth brings peace.
7. Follow through on any ideas you've had about preparing for your optimal future.
8. Stay alert to new hunches, and change plans accordingly.
The more often you follow these steps, the more your life will seem blessed by good luck. You'll realize you're a walking gold mine of subconscious predictive information. The more you test the validity of that information by acting on your instincts, the more accurate your predictions will become. Research shows that making and correcting missteps is the best way to develop any skill. And anticipating circumstances that might change, to avoid potential problems and seize opportunities, is very much a skill. As you pay attention to your internal timekeeper and learn from your mistakes, you may eventually hear yourself rhapsodizing, "The timing's perfect!"
That's what happened to Jackie. She spent weeks after her layoff applying for similar jobs, knowing all the while that there were none to be had. One day she finally admitted what she didn't want to know she knew: Her current job-seeking strategy was hopeless. Acknowledging this made Jackie feel oddly peaceful (since she'd known it all along). She also felt a deep sense that she'd be fine, if not in exactly the way she might have expected. Jackie decided to trust that hunch—not because she believed it but because it felt marginally better than panic.
A few days later, Jackie ran into a high school friend, Steve, a criminal defense lawyer whose practice was booming. Steve was looking for someone with financial savvy to be his CFO. Jackie's training wasn't quite on target, but they had such a pleasant conversation (partly because of Jackie's newfound mellowness) that they agreed she'd try filling the spot for a week.
That week ended up lasting indefinitely. Jackie loves her new job and appreciates that the less daunting hours mean she can live as well as work. This has improved her relationships with her husband, her two children, and her own instinctive timekeeping self. Sometimes she e-mails Cleo (who's loving Nepal) about the "amazing luck" they both had just when things looked grim. Since they're on opposite sides of the world, one usually e-mails while the other's sleeping. But they don't mind. They just keep learning new ways to make the timing perfect.
Martha Beck is the author of six books. Her most recent is Steering By Starlight (Rodale).