We have all had moments in our lives when something feels “meant to be.” Those are the moments when, in the middle of saying or doing something, the hair on your arm raises and you can’t believe the coincidences that brought you to that particular point in time.
Last night I ran into a woman at the gym who I haven’t seen in probably a year or more. When I saw her, she was talking to a couple of other women I know. They were talking about how the first woman is moving out of state to provide her children with a private education at a school she can afford. The children had been in the school before and she said the difference in their education level was so huge she could no longer rationalize keeping them in the school district they are in now.
I stepped away from the conversation, but then, as I was leaving, our paths crossed again. We hugged, and exclaimed how good it was to see each other again. As we stepped out the door on a lovely spring evening, I asked her for more details. She reiterated that when she had the kids in that school before, they had done really well. She felt like it was the right thing to do to move away and give them that opportunity again.
Then, she looked at me and said, “But Jean, I just don’t know if I’m doing the right thing.” Looking at the not quite fear in her eyes, I responded the way I seem to be responding a lot lately, “You are moving energy, and that movement will bring more good energy.”
She seemed willing to listen, so I told her, like I’ve told literally hundreds by now, about my story. How I was working a job that made me miserable, so I quit with no idea what I was going to do to support myself. All I had was a strong conviction that the money would come. That, and I was lucky enough that I had a small discretionary fund I could use to support myself for a couple of months while I tried to figure things out.
For those first few months, it seemed like all I did was read, meditate, and make lists of what I loved and what made me happy. I will always be grateful for that time in my life. Eventually, a few patterns started to show up in my lists. There were two things that showed up consistently: I love words and how people put them together; and I love teaching yoga and actually making a difference in how people feel about their bodies and their lives. So, as I told this friend, I decided to start a blog and increase the number of yoga classes I taught.
At the time, everyone asked me how I was going to support myself from these endeavors. I told them, repeatedly, that I had no idea if I could support myself with them, but that I knew that in putting my efforts into things I loved I would be stirring up energy. There were a few random moments of panic, but my conviction that everything would be okay always won out.
Six months into this life experiment, painting came back into my life. The opportunity literally came out of nowhere, and it brought me back a creative experience that I have loved since I was a very young girl. I have painted joyfully ever since. With luck, good timing, good investments, and a willingness to sacrifice some material niceties, I have managed to live over three years now on my part-time wages. I get to do things I love every day of my life.
The important message to me though, and the message I was trying to share with this woman, is that we don’t always have to be concerned with the end game. We don’t always have to know where we’re going. As I told his friend last night, the important thing is to move, be willing to make uncomfortable shifts, and to be open to what comes.
The part of last night’s conversation that will stick with me was this woman’s response to my story. There were literally tears in her eyes as my friend looked at me and gave me another hug.
“I have been praying to God to give me a sign that I am doing the right thing. You just mentioned the two things that have been coming to me over and over again as I prayed: yoga and writing.” Well, it was at this point that the hair on my arms was beginning to stand up. In that moment, we both knew our bumping into each other wasn’t a coincidence.
In the 24 hours since I spoke to this woman, I have experienced some shifts. Opportunities I had no way of foreseeing have come my way. I intend to pursue these opportunities with gratitude and joy. I hope, and pray, that the woman I spoke to has a similar experience. I hope, and pray, that this woman, who was willing to jump off the cliff of her comfort zone, finds a safe landing place. I hope, and pray, that her willingness to move forward without a clear picture of what her future looks like proves as overwhelmingly satisfying to her as my life is to me.