Do You See the Signs of the Universe: Ulla Suokko (Transcript)

“How much longer will you go on letting your energy sleep? How much longer are you going to stay oblivious to the immensity of yourself? Don’t lose time in conflict; lose no time in doubt – time can never be recovered. And if you miss an opportunity, it may take many lives before another comes your way again.”

Fast forward, and there I was in New York City, a doctoral candidate at the Juilliard School, flute major, studying with the amazing legendary Julius Baker. I loved it. I was thriving. I loved both the academics and the performance opportunities.

I was in Lincoln Center. I got to play with some of the most brilliant people on this planet and to study with some of the most brilliant people on this planet. And yet, at the same time, often I felt insecure; I felt not good enough or even doubting if I was on the right path.

So one particular summer Sunday, I was in that conflicting moment where I felt that nothing was moving, that I was stuck or I couldn’t advance or I couldn’t figure it out.

And I say “conflicting” because at the same time, I loved performing and I felt something wanted to be born through me. And I was playing in hospitals and mental wards and by hospice-care patients’ bedsides. Especially in those moments, I really truly felt the healing power of music and I felt my soul calling me to that greater purpose, but at that time, as I said, I could not figure it out, I could not see it clearly.

I was banging my head on the career doors that were not opening, so I decided to talk to the universe.

“Hello. Anybody? I am tired. I am frustrated. I am scared. I don’t know what to do. And please don’t give me that listen-to-your-inner-wisdom business, because I don’t hear a thing, and if I hear something, I can’t trust that, because I’m a mess. So here’s the deal: I am willing to persevere if I know for sure that I am on the right path. If I’m not on the right path, let’s change it right now. I can do many things. So – are you listening? – give me a sign. And give me a sign that I can understand. None of those cryptic messages, okay?”


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On one hand, I felt better because I had vented out to the universe; on the other hand, I felt a bit shaken because I had just demanded a sign from the universe. So I decided to go for a walk. And as I was walking, I really felt sad and lonely and lost: “Nobody loves me.”

And as I was crossing Broadway at West 83rd Street, I saw a book on the ground – again a book. It must be somebody’s book, I thought, but I can at least take a peek.

So I pick up the book; I turn it around. The title of the book is “The singing flute.” Hmm. Could this perhaps, maybe, possibly, be my sign? – I was still doubting. They might as well drop the book on my head, but I had asked for a clear sign.

So I open the book and I read, “This is a story of a little Finnish girl.”

I close the book and say, “Okay. You got a deal. Just show me the way.”

Why I love sharing this story is that it really happened. If my mom was here in the audience, she would say, “I’ve seen the book.”

I love it because we all have signs. And in my case, I was looking for other people’s signs – I was looking for my professor’s signs or other colleagues’ signs – totally missing my own unique signs.

And I am here in front of you, from Finland, through New York City, through the Andes, because I did start paying attention to signs.

Since finding the book, I have grown to the habit of talking out loud to the universe. I have manifested computers, cameras, a piano, amazing journeys around the world, amazing people around the world, men. We’ve manifested each other tonight here in TEDxBigSky.

And also when I was planning to go to Peru for the first time to fulfill that promise that I had made at 13 – in 2010, when I was going there – I asked the universe for an extra financial assistance as a sign that this indeed was my time to go, and at that exact same day, an unexpected substantial amount just showed up.

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So I got my sign and I live in Peru. So remember the universe speaks to you through everything. Listen to it. The signs are everywhere. See them. Recognize them. Feel them. Be them. Make them up. Trust them.

I am the flute, the singing flute, and so are you.

The 15th-century poet and musician Kabir wrote:

“The flute of the infinite is played without ceasing, and its sound is love. When love renounces all limits, it reaches truth.”

So we are all flutes through which the infinite longs to play. Listen to the sound of love beckoning you, your own soul calling you to renounce all limits – there are no limits. And remember, when in doubt, brrr.

Have courage to follow your heart and to create your story. Choose to live as though everything is a miracle – it’s in the small things. And when you show up authentically here and now, you might be a sign for someone.

So I ask you, “What if this was the moment your life changed? What if this talk was your sign?”

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