Once upon a time, I would have considered some of the events of my life to be fodder for Twilight Zone episodes, with the theme song (do do do do do do do do~) playing in my head when they would occur. I didn’t dare talk about them, out of concern for being thought weird or committable. The more they appeared, the more I thought “hmmmm, perhaps this stuff is real and those who don’t notice them are the ones who are missing out.” Dream messages, thinking of someone and they call or email, singing a song and then having it be the next one played on the radio, reading license plate messages, always finding the perfect parking spot, having a book literally fall of the shelf into your waiting hands, are examples of what I am referring to. I’m sure you have experienced even more of what I call ‘cosmic coincidences’. These days, they fall into the ‘of course, realm.” A Course in Miracles expresses this concept eloquently. “Miracles are a Natural Occurrence. When they do not occur, something has gone wrong.” I do see these as everyday miracles, perfectly orchestrated and placed for us to discover them as a reminder that life is truly wondrous.
This past weekend, I trekked up Rte 95 from PA to RI for the occasion of my niece Rachael’s gradutation from Johnson and Wales, which is a prestigious culinary arts school. She had worked hard to earn both an Associates degree as a pastry chef and then a BS in Entrepreneurship, even in the midst of several family crises that were swirling around back at home. I am so proud of her accomplishments and sat next to my sister in the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence as she received her degree. Besides ‘kvelling’ (Yiddish for bursting with pride) for Rachael, I was moved by two speakers in particular. The first was a UCC minister named Rev. Dr. Barry Fleet. I was moved by his ecumenical references; sensitive to the fact and in recogntion that he was speaking to an international, multi-cultural audience about ’the One’ reflected in all of those here.” He acknowledged the “source of love and wisdom, and creativity and all that is good.” To seal the closing benediction after the ceremony, he offered the words “Blessed be and so it is,” which made my interfaith heart swell with joy.
The second was Steven Spinner who is the CEO of United Natural Foods. He shared this wisdom “Do what you love with passion and enthusiasm. Do it right and and succeed with integrity. Treat each other the way you want to be treated.” He encouraged the grads to “Use the smell test. If it doesn’t smell good, walk away.” He then invoked the lyrics to the Pearl Jam song called Just Breathe, attesting to the blessings in his own life that he passes on to others.
Following the festivities, my sister and her family headed back to New Jersey and I decided to make a weekend of it in Rhode Island. The first stop was at the lovely home of Courtney A. Walsh, another wild word wrangler who I befriended via facebook about a year ago. Hand- rubbing- with -glee anticipation of our face to face meeting, I walked in and felt welcomed right away with a boisterous hug, rippling laughter, a big glass of a healthy concoction of juice, herbs and a dash of love blended in for good measure. We spent hours talking, completing each other’s sentences, business brain and heart storming, comparing notes and even kvetching a bit about things that we felt weren’t as we might have them be, but ultimately life lessons that made us stronger and more resilient. One of the concepts we laughed about was that of ‘woo woo vs. whoohoo!’, to which we both ascribe, which is that amazing experience of accepting that what we might have considered ‘airy fairy cosmic foo foo’ was indeed as ‘real’ as that which we can take in with our five senses.
I slept on the comfy sofa in her living room and when I turned in, I had turned off the lights. In the wee hours, I opened my eyes and saw a string of Christmas lights that were illuminated. I wondered if Courtney got up in the middle of the night to turn them on. Once the morning sun shone through, she came in and noticed that they were glowing too. She told me that they had stopped working awhile ago and I guess she had kept them up because they were pretty anyway. We laughed as we mused that the energy we had called forth had turned them back on. In the past, that would have been a woo woo moment for me. It was a similar occurrence when I had visited my friend Nancy Smeltzer in MD a few months ago. We were immersed in the warm, soothing waters of her outdoor hot tub and looked over at the clock and saw that the hands were spinning around and around the entire time we were out there. It hadn’t done that before, she laughingly informed me.
On Sunday, Courtney and I did some strolling in a local park where there were beings of all ages and configurations, people and critters enjoying a mid Spring day. I felt cradled by the light green tree leaves that hovered above and was fascinated by the tree trunks, some of which were wrapped around each other, as if in an ancient embrace. I couldn’t resist engaging in one of my favorite activities; tree-hugging; gracefully aging hippie that I am. We sat under one and did a facetime chat with another kindred spirit, Goddess sistah named Jenny Perry who lives in NJ. Courtney had introduced us a few months ago. It was lovely to be able to connect through means that would have been sci-fi when we were kids. We are coming up with all sorts of juicy ways to collaborate on teaching together.
Heading back home, crossing over into Connecticut, I made a stop at a cultural icon that I had wanted to visit ever since I saw the 1988 film Mystic Pizza. Legendary cuisine indeed, as I enjoyed a small broccoli and eggplant gourmet delight; half of which I took home with me for dinner.
I had the added pleasure of watching it on a screen in front me while I munched.
Where is the line between what might be considered other worldly and weird and what is simply out this world wondrous? For me, there is none.
http://youtu.be/YzkZPI-HKsk Just Breathe by Pearl Jam