"The Future Belongs To Those Who Believe In The Beauty Of Their Dreams" was engraved on a plaque that was given to me at Odyssey's opening ceremony on November 11, 1997 @ 11:11 a.m. Six weeks prior to that day the thought of opening and operating a spiritual bookstore and resource center was only a spark of an idea. But once I understood the importance of surrendering and learning to flow (without concern for personal outcome) with the energy of the universe, my life evolved into its next level of purpose.
The summer of 1997 found me enrolled in a weekly Meditation & Spiritual Development course that was being taught by Fay (who also now teaches at Odyssey). One evening she led us on a guided meditation that was designed to assist us in manifesting our desires. Since I was at a crossroads in my life (I called it my "re-tooling" phase) I wasn't sure what to ask for so I simply stated to the universe that I was ready to take "the next step of my perfect life plan." This may sound easy but if you ever try it you may find that putting yourself in a place of complete trust and surrender could be one of the hardest things you may ever do in this lifetime (next to raising children of course.)
You see, we have all crafted beautiful templates that can assist us in accomplishing all of our dreams (and more) while having our human experience; it's just that we have forgotten the details. And for good reason too. If we were to be fully conscious of all the joys & sorrows that we would experience in our lives, where would the surprises be? Just know with absolute certainty that every choice you make, every fear you experience and every blissful moment you cherish is part of both your soul path and that of the great cosmic plan.
During that meditation I heard the tiniest, quietest voice say "New Age Bookstore." I barely gave it a thought though. Where would a single parent on a limited income obtain a loan to open a business? However, once I had the awareness, the voice got a little bit louder every day until the middle of September when I realized that I had to pursue this idea further.
I started by writing down all the ideas I had for courses, readings, events, gift categories & book topics. I also listed all the possible expenses that could be incurred (hence discovering that I would need at least $50,000 just to start!). In the meantime I enrolled in a course that would help me learn more about creating a cash flow statement and business plan. Once I began to work on the logistics of this endeavor (and the universe saw that I was serious) the rest just fell into place.
One day I was driving by the Courtyard in Pickering Village (a route I took at least a dozen times every week over 11 years). One day I noticed (don't ask me how) a small, hand-written "For Rent" sign in a window. I pulled in, took down the number and with a pit in my stomach (because this meant that I was making a commitment) I made the call. The landlord met me there a few days later and I looked around (interestingly enough, it used to be an office for a Health Food distributor so some of the energy was already established). After a few days of thought, I made the plunge (similar to that of jumping off a bridge while attached to a bungee) and signed a two-year lease. Of course I was petrified. What if the business wasn't successful... how was I going to pay off the debt and what about being married to the lease?
Oh well. I went into that place of trust again and just started looking after the details. The signs were all there. The first day I looked at the unit I noticed a huge rainbow over the woods across the street from the Courtyard. I have never seen a rainbow there again since. The Loans Officer I had the appointment with at the bank was a lady I took Aquafit classes with. When I went to Business Depot to purchase tables, chairs, overhead projector, printer, supplies, etc. for the store & classroom I won a 25% off scratch card while I was there (they have never repeated this promotion). The harder I worked, the luckier I got (what a concept).
Now there are two wonderful little stores packed to the ceiling (literally) with treasures from around the world. There are teachers, readers, healers, and customers as well as friends from the unseen worlds who radiate love & light wherever they go. I often joke about Odyssey being like a “truck stop” for spiritual seekers. They stop in to nourish their souls and pick up a "road map" (with books, courses, readings & other wonderful "tools" that will assist them on their journey of self-discovery) while discovering how to turn up their frequencies a notch or two so they can light both their ways & the ways of others. Some people visit often... while others stop by a few times a year or just come in once. We are here to hold the space and support the journeys of all individuals who pass our way as we attempt to demystify the mystical. It's that simple.
And if the universe decides that one-day the soul of Odyssey is needed elsewhere, then we, as its caregivers, will find our new path too. In the meantime, everyday is a joy and a blessing (even though the universe forgot to inform me that I would have to work between 10 -12 hours per day, 7 days a week and that there would be enough paper & administrative hoopla to fill Toronto's CN Tower). I have therefore found that by choosing to live in the moment I am empowered to embrace all obstacles as opportunities in disguise.
Trivia Question: Why did I choose the name "Odyssey"? Well here's the scoop. I didn't want a name that sounded too woo-woo or hocus-pocusy (I know that's not a word but I like it anyway). Instead I wanted a name the enhanced the energy that would be associated with the soul of the business. So after creating a list of about a hundred names and crafting the numerology on some of them, I turned it over to the universe. The next day I was in a parking lot and lo-and-behold... there in front of me was an Odyssey van. I looked in the dictionary to see what Webster had to say about the word and found the following definition - "for your spiritual or intellectual quest." In addition, I didn't want to use the word "store" because I wanted us to be more than that so I used "Books & Resource Centre" instead. And of the course the numerology on that one didn't hurt either – it came out to an 11 (a really cool master number).