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

Ulla Suokko at TEDxBigSky

Following is the full transcript of transformation expert Ulla Suokko’s talk titled “Do You See the Signs of the Universe” at TEDxBigSky conference.

Ulla Suokko – Transformation Expert

What if this was the moment your life changed? How would you know? How would it feel?

Imagine there were signs from the universe, clear signs that you could trust, so that you would always know which path to take or which decision to make.

What if I told you that those signs are right here for you just to see them or even to make them up. Quantum physicist Max Planck has said:

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

When I was growing up in Finland, I loved books — I still do. One day I was in my hometown bookstore and saw a book that caught my attention. I had to open it. I began reading and tasting every word. It was Pablo Neruda’s poetry about Machu Picchu and the Andes.

Honestly, I didn’t understand much at 13, but every word somehow moved me into my core. I had to know more, so I bought the book and I went to my hometown library, and there, looking at the pictures of Machu Picchu, I promised myself that one day I will go there.

At 13, I didn’t know much about signs, yet one sign was given to me, and some part of me understood it. As it so happens, I currently live in the Peruvian Andes, and I have been many, many, many, many — did I say many? — times to Machu Picchu, and I stopped counting when I hit a hundred.

So we often see our lives through limitation; we hold on to stories that make us small or keep us small. We even start seeing signs that support those limiting stories, or we start seeing even bad signs — I don’t recommend that.

So sometimes we might lose or miss the signs that are there to support us in our path because we are too busy and too hardheaded, maybe, to think that we need something else or want something else.

One of my favorite poets, Rumi, has said or asked us:

“Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?”

So what do you do if you feel that you are in prison or stuck with a limiting story? Do something surprising, like brrr, to shake it off. Let’s all do that. Brrr.

And just to demonstrate, if you do it without sound, it doesn’t work so well, right?

Another good technique is snap out of it, literally, snap your fingers and move out of that space – something happens in your brain. Try it.

But you have to move from that space, so — you try it at the intermission — and then you blow that energy out: Swish! You might do this – Swish! Swish! – quite a bit. Feel your body. Do that right now. Hug yourself. Hmmm. Tell yourself, “Oh, you’re so amazing.” Hmmmm.

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And remind yourself that this is where you are, not in the future, not in the past, not in the story of should, could, would, not a victim of the circumstances, but right here. Tell yourself, “I love you.” Tell yourself, “I’m so proud of you.” And breathe, right now: Ahhhh.

Remember the signs themselves are not good or bad; it is our judgment or our interpretation that makes them so.

So why don’t we decide, right here, right now, to only see good signs? Good, a deal.

Albert Einstein has said:

“There are only two ways to live your life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is a miracle.”

Remember the law of physics: When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Let me tell you a story about hard-headed.

When I was preparing to come to New York City to study at the Juilliard School, I went to a bookstore again, and I found a book that was meant to deliver messages. You open the book and you read the message — easy.

So I took the book and I concentrated, asking for a message, and I open the book: Hmm. I didn’t like the message so much, so I decided to concentrate again, and then I opened the book again: that same message.

But I thought there was something wrong with this book, so I took another copy of the book, and I opened that; and I ended up opening five different copies of the book. And did I read it? No. I thought that there was something wrong with all of them: they opened up on the same page – a defect of the book.

So I told a friend afterwards that this is what happened and it was really weird. And he said, “Well, what was the message?”

“I don’t know. Something like energy or opportunity.”

I had no idea. I had not even bothered to really read what it said.

Some weeks later, he and I were having dinner, and he said, “Close your eyes.” He gave a book into my hands, and he said, “Open it.”

I opened it. Can you guess what happened? Mm-hmm, yep — that same quote.

So at that time, I started paying attention. This is what it said:

“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.

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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?”


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.”

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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.

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?”

Thank you.


Download This Transcript as PDF here: Do You See the Signs of the Universe_ Ulla Suokko (Transcript)


For Further Reading:

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Daniel Amen: Change Your Brain, Change Your Life @ TEDxOrangeCoast (Transcript)

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