Opinion

Let the Universe Guide You

Randi D. Ward is a retired, 37-year veteran English teacher from Georgia, USA, and a published author.  She was named “Entrepreneur of the Year 2014” in the Education Industry by Worldwide Who’s Who and was profiled in its 2015  calendar. Her other awards include being the 2014-15 VIP Woman of the Year by National Association of Professional  Women, a 2015 Delegate of the International Leadership Women’s Association, a 2015 Top Female Executive, a 2014  Pinnacle Professional Member of Continental Who’s Who, and an elite member of Strathmore Worldwide Who’s Who.  Her current projects in Africa are World Peace Forest (Africa) in Egypt and Africa Nomads Conservation in Kenya.  She is an honorary president of World Peace Forest (Africa) and the USA Regional Director for Africa Nomads Conservation.  Her book is entitled Because I Believed in Me (My Egyptian Fantasy Came True).

Georgia, USA

 

 

“Sometimes the universe shows you your direction even if you don’t know the way.” I heard this insightful quote from one of the characters on the Hallmark Channel’s movie Love on Safari which takes place in South Africa. My life has been a perfect example of this quote.
 
Growing up in a small town in West Virginia, USA, I spent my youth as an insecure, shy girl. Feeling physically ugly due to years of verbal abuse from my alcoholic and cruel father, I often hid from the world in my books and studies. Through them, my heart and mind dreamed of many things—seeing the world, finding true love, being successful, helping others and making a difference in their lives—things I felt I would only achieve in my imagination.  
 
As a teenager I suffered from a serious knee injury which made it difficult for me to walk for five years of my life. Looking back at these painful years, I was forced to become strong to survive my disability even though it also enhanced my feelings of inadequacy. I have continued to suffer from knee problems all my life but have found ways to deal with these, including having to learn to walk again too many times.
 
Going to the university was the beginning of my much-needed transformation. I gradually emerged out of my protective shell and began to explore all my possible life choices. Choosing to be a secondary school language arts educator for the next 37 years after graduation was not my initial goal. I had dreamed of a life involving music. However, as I look back on those many years, I do believe I was able to inspire my students and hopefully change their lives in some way even if only miniscule. Several years after my retirement, a life-changing opportunity to teach young adults in Cairo, Egypt, further convinced me I was destined to be a teacher. I truly believe teaching was God’s universal plan for me.
 
During my first summer of graduate school, I met my husband Bill. We quickly fell in love and were engaged six weeks after our first date and married eight months later. During our 46-year marriage, Bill has been my biggest supporter encouraging me to take risks and dream bigger than I ever thought I would be able to do. He has always been there for me.
Another dream became a reality in 1981 when Bill, my son Mark, and I traveled to nine countries in Europe. This would become the first of many international adventures spanning four continents—Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America—for a total of 53 countries so far. Highlights include walking on the Great Wall of China; searching for the Loch Ness monster; cruising the Nile, Seine, Thames, and Danube Rivers and several oceans and seas; riding camels, donkeys, ostriches in exotic lands; and exploring famous museums and other tourist attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Cairo Tower, and tropical rain forests of Thailand.
 
Being able to become friends with people all around the world, experience their cultures, religions, and cuisines, and explore breath-taking geography enabled me to accept all the differences I learned with an open mind. When that unique opportunity to teach English at an adult language center in Cairo, Egypt, in 2011 was offered to me, I flew to Egypt for three months for this life-changing adventure. Having been retired for three years, I had become bored so this was a chance to do something exciting. Little did I know Egypt would start a violent revolution, and I would live three blocks from Tahrir Square, the center of the protests. My incredible students taught me as much as I taught them. Because of them and other helpful Egyptians, I transformed into the Egyptian woman I needed to be to survive the turmoil constantly surrounding me. A few years later I unsuccessfully opened two centers in Cairo with some Egyptian partners—Ahmed Mohamed, Ehab Mohamed, and Samar Farouk. Sadly, both are closed now due to the struggling economy there, but the lesson I acquired was valuable—taking risks is necessary even if the result is not what you desired.
 
When I came home from Egypt, my heart compelled me to tell my story—this love story of Egyptians and their struggle for better lives.  My first book Because I Believed in Me (My Egyptian Fantasy Came True) was born and published in November 2012.  Since then my love for writing has erupted in the forms of poetry, novels, blogs, short stories for adults and children, YouTube videos, and magazine articles/essays. With my dear friend Ayoub Ait Elkadi, I am the chief editor and contributing writer for his online magazine Morocco Pens.  Since 2014 my professional achievement has resulted in numerous awards and radio, video, and magazine/newspaper interviews for my hard work and for my writing. I humbly accept these honors, but the best feeling is being able to teach others with my words once more. In my heart, I will always remain an educator. Now I am able to reach more students in innovative methods.
 
Another “universal” experience directed me to an important life goal. After my eye-opening game drives in Kruger National Park, South Africa, and the several parks and reserves in Kenya, my heart was captured by the African wild animals and their current plight for survival from the evil hands of poachers and game hunters. I am now a serious animal advocate and have created videos on my YouTube channel about the endangered species. Being a member of ANC in Kenya and co-worker with its dedicated founder Noor Santosian, I pray citizens of our world will recognize the seriousness of this problem and fight for more laws to protect these precious animals.  We must be their voice.
2014-15 turned out to be life-threatening. In June 2014 I had a total left knee replacement operation followed by a near fatal car accident in December that broke eight bones in my body, collapsed my left lung, and lacerated my spleen. Wearing a neck brace for 93 days and with an eight-inch plate surgically implanted into my left arm, I suffered through eight months of physical therapy on various parts of my body. I could have sat around and felt sorry for myself, but that was not who I had become. Instead I chose to use my right hand to write my first novel Random Wanderings, a world adventure story about Veterinarian Vanessa Lambert.  Through this imaginary character, my mind was often able to suppress my agonizing pain and travel around the world again. Writing this novel was my salvation during this stressful year.

 

Having received what I will call “subliminal messages” from the universe, I honestly believe my life has been directed in subconscious ways. Always surrounding myself with things sometimes unfamiliar to me, I have discovered it is wise to listen to my heart and then program my mind to follow that new calling. Life is short. I do not want to waste one moment of it. As I always say, “Don’t dream big; dream bigger.” Now I will also add, “Let the universe guide you to achieve your dreams.”  

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