The universe, our guides, are smarter than us. They know our path and future, and give us signs we’re on the right path. They’ll also provide people on our path at a certain moment who will illuminate a topic or theme we’re either contemplating, trying to figure out, or perhaps there to offer a different point of view that we never thought of.
It happened in this month of Mercury retrograde when I met a stranger who was somehow meant to share her story when we were on line (the old-school way) at a brick and mortar record store trying to liquidate our CDs. The way conversations used to happen – in real life – and because people were not looking down at a piece of glass. Since neither of us were looking down at our pieces of glass, this analog meeting got to happen as it was meant to. Which resulted in a reading I was meant to give as a mitzvah.
After many decades of being single and giving up that there might be love, she met someone “randomly” and in the old-fashioned human way. He also had been single and given up on it happening to him in this life. After five minutes they just knew. And they quickly moved in and got married. The intensity was so great, but instead of fearing it, they went with how they felt, because on a soul level, a higher level, they knew there wouldn’t be much time. They had three years before he passed unexpectedly. It reminded me of Gloria Steinem’s story, I said, who also met someone, at 66, and just knew and they got married and got to have three years together before her husband passed.
They didn’t hang out much with friends because they wanted to just spend time together, but when they did, people around them saw the intensity, the connection, the electricity. Her story gives people hope, I said, that it can happen at any age. Just when you think it could never happen.
In the last year I’ve been spending my time with friends in their 70s. They’ve been here awhile and realize the value of time, so when they hear something, their reply often has a way of distilling a moment, or thought, or scene in one sentence that helps crystallize something I’m trying to process.
I was sitting at my friend’s koi pond in her secret garden, trying to figure something out about the way I communicate. Words are important to me. Words are our bond. All we have is what we say. So when someone doesn’t keep their word, it’s hard to forget the person’s lack of integrity, especially when they have no self-awareness. Words are also powerful and should be used with care when giving and receiving information. That’s what the throat chakra is about. Often something is said that could’ve been said in a different manner that would’ve been more helpful rather than hurtful. So many of us are hard enough on ourselves, we don’t need others piling on us.
My friend was about to leave town and we never sit by her calming pond enough, we always say. And who knows what will happen down the road in life? So we keep saying we should try to do that more often. By the time I walk to the end of a trail (that makes me feel like I’m somewhere in Israel) to get to her home, I already start to feel more zen about life. That everything is ok. I am where I’m supposed to be.
We had a few minutes before neighbors were coming and I was about to leave, and that’s when I shared something that was bothering me. She said she has a daily devotion book that her ex left, from Alcoholics Anonymous, that’s in her bathroom that she reads every morning, adding, “When someone takes an inventory of you…” The rest of the sentence was something along the lines of how people’s presence in our lives should be one of making us want to be our better selves rather than make us feel worse about ourselves. I pointed at her, somehow never having heard that word used that way before and yelled, “Yes! That’s it!” It just made sense. Someone was taking an inventory of me. I state what I don’t like about things, but I don’t actively try to critique someone else. It reminds me of some Bible verse about pointing out the speck of dust in someone’s eye but forgetting the log in our own eyes. I then called a friend who was once a major catalyst in my life, someone I could bounce profound thoughts I was dealing with, who has been in AA for decades, who told me about a step that has that word.
I was having a bento lunch with Joy and Dr. C, also in their 70s, when I told Joy what someone said to me that lingered and had upset me. True to her name, Joy is always positive and uplifting. Even when she answers the phone, her voice is always upbeat, happy to hear from you. She said in her uncomplicated way, “Oh, that person just doesn’t know you! I thought you were like that too, but once I got to know you, I realize that’s the way you communicate. And you jump from topic to topic and you’ll go back to a topic, too.”
Last week, a friend, who’s really a sister minus the DNA match, said the same thing when the topic came up, but she added, “I used to talk that way too! I would talk over someone as they were saying something, and they didn’t think I heard them, but I did. It’s a gift that I’m losing now for some reason.” I’ve always felt it was being an intuitive – I can hear the other person’s thoughts as they’re saying it so I want to save time and say my response. My friend is also the same, a sensitive. Although we both struggle with being negative and a curmudgeon in this era, I realize now how positive her sentiment was, because we’ve taken the time to get to know each other and we get each other. When I told her about the meeting with a stranger that was profound and how she just knew after five minutes to move in with her now late husband, my friend said she just knew her own husband was the one, because when she was with him, she always felt safe.
After my friend left town, I went back to her koi pond to sit with a friend staying there who I’d always liked when I met her, also of that same age group. She shared that when she met her late husband, the connection was immediate. These intense soul connections are rare and when we meet them in our lives, it can knock you of balance. Instead of fearing this unusual feeling, they moved right in because she just knew. She had to explore it she said, to not have regrets one day, despite a friend questioning her seemingly hasty quick decision. How did she know? “It was a feeling of safety” she felt with him. They, too, also did everything together and focused on spending what time they had with each other, more than with their friends. Until his sudden passing.
For me, love, and that deep soul connection, is always – the answer. And a given. I never thought about “safety” as the answer. It was just an adjunct to love.
But what these two friends said also crystallized what I was trying to process. It made me think about young love and our first love – before life took us down and walls started to go up, and people started to say hurtful things, that in turn made us defensive. I actually did something I never thought I would do, in high school, because of the person in my life then who was always ebullient and uplifting about how I could do this or that, how I aced a test if I put my mind to it, and saw the gifts I had and underscored it. He pushed me. And unwittingly pushed me to my best. He was an Earth angel in that moment in time for me. It made me recall how he never said anything negative and how because of that I instinctually aimed higher to try certain things in life that I would never have thought of, like go to a foreign continent with cities I never heard of by myself for a college course, because I felt he had my back. I always felt safe and protected when he was around.
It’s interesting, this notion of safety, because that’s exactly how it is with my friends in their 70s – I feel safe when I’m with them. It’s familiar to the kind of relationships we had in the analog days – they answer the phone just after the first ring when I call. Even if they didn’t know it was me, they still answer their phones because that’s what we all used to do once upon a time. But I also feel safe in that they’re real, analog, unplugged, they aren’t on anti-social networks. They aren’t living their own Truman Show on Robot Land. They’re living very busy, productive, analog lives, and having real in-person interactions. They aren’t broadcasting a cup of coffee they’re about to drink to 500 strangers to tell them where in the world they are right now in Creepyville (which smacks of someone not having a real life, not to mention an ego that’s starved for even the fake attention these things garner).
Since that kind of privacy is important to me, I find myself valuing and respecting the people who are on that same page more and more. The one on one interpersonal relationships, where the conversations are quiet. The relationships are quiet, low-key, off-the grid. And safe. There is a dignity about it. There’s a dignity with not broadcasting what we are doing or eating, to a group of strangers that haven’t earned the right to our private lives and private scenes. Yes, these analog friends have sent me photos and notes electronically from a vacation when they’re supposed to be away from it all. But it’s private, and just to me. And perhaps to other friends in that old-school email way.
Years ago, I recall reading that after cameras were invented, some ancient cultures feared it because they felt that a photo took a piece of our soul. There’s something to that (especially in this seemingly less-soulful era). A photo of a moment diminishes the moment, it takes away energy from our being fully present in that moment. I learned that the hard way when I first got my fancy Treo when people were still on flip phones. I was so into this one song at The Who concert, that I took a video of it, instead of enjoying the song in person just a few rows from Roger Daltrey. I can never have that moment back. And I never did look at the video I shot.
These recent in-person interactions were clarifying about what I was thinking when it comes to our throat chakras, of how we give and receive information. And how to say it. Or maybe say it differently so that it lands on someone’s ear in a way that makes them feel safe and not feel torn down by someone who they should feel safe with, but rather now feel defensive with.
Since those little unsafe moments can quickly add up and then the whole point is lost when we’re too busy feeling unsafe, and not listening. And we can miss the boat when that person we “randomly” are meant to meet comes in, who has that intense soul connection we’re supposed to recognize. The one who might’ve been – The One.