A couple of weeks ago, God gave me Mary. Just who I needed, precisely when I needed her. Going into her Forrest yoga class, I was a little anxious, not knowing what to expect. A girlfriend with whom I occasionally do hot yoga told me it was her absolute favorite class. But this friend has more yoga (and stronger, more flexible legs) under her belt. Adding to that was the neck pain I’ve been having, which seems to be aggravated by yoga. I had been wondering if my neck problem would get in the way of my fulfilling my commitment, as part of the “40 Days to Personal Revolution” program I signed up for, to do yoga almost every day for the next five weeks.
Enter Mary. At the beginning of class, she asked for a show of hands, “Who is new to Forrest yoga?” I and a handful of others in the class raised our hands. I found that mildly comforting. I also noted my friend wasn’t there, which I also found comforting.
Early in the class, Mary picked up on my – let’s call it what it was – poor form. I was struggling to keep up, let alone do things right. I told Mary I was suffering from neck pain, and for the duration of the class, she looked out for me. While she usually offers variations of poses, from beginner to expert, to allow for varying levels of capability, she added a whole new set for me, pre beginner. Throughout the class, she checked in with me to see how my neck was feeling and to offer me tips and gentle encouragement.
After class, she approached me. She had this amazing sense of calm about her. The studio was dim, the sun having almost set, and we spoke for about 15 minutes. As a result of the conversation and her subtle guidance, I realized that what I committed to was developing a lifelong yoga practice, not necessarily attending one of the studio classes every day. More than that, she helped me realize that I can get fixated on the doing, letting my to do list rather than my overall intent, be my compass. We discussed alternatives, including my working with her one-on-one to improve my form, so I could go back into the classes better prepared and with less likelihood of injury.
When I began the program, I mentally locked in on going to the studio six days a week. The very moment I met Mary, I was at a crossroads as to whether I was going to have to abort my mission. (To me, my choices were to take care of my neck and stop doing yoga or keep going and suffer.) I am grateful she entered my life to show me another way.
You might say, what a nice coincidence. And a couple of years ago, I might have agreed with you. But I have come to believe that everything happens for a reason. Coincidences are like unicorns, fanciful figments of our imagination. We have free will, yes, to choose our paths, but I believe God (or a higher power, or our deceased loves ones, or our spirit guides) intervenes, subtly and lovingly planting tidbits of guidance. (Sometimes it’s not so subtle, just ask the guy who missed or for some reason chose not to get on his flight, the one that went down.)
After my sister Julie died, I volunteered to help with the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) at my Catholic church. I was somewhat randomly matched (or so I thought) with a woman, Pamela, who was there to become Catholic. She was a little younger than I, a career woman like me, and we began to get to know each other. Pamela mentioned she was in the lighting business. Looking for common ground, I mentioned my deceased sister had been into interior decorating (along with drag racing, music production, African art collecting, and a bunch of other things). I added that my sister had a friend, Linda, in the lighting business. I might have met her once. I thought she lived up north somewhere and wrote for a lighting magazine. Turns out Pamela and Linda were friends, and Pamela had just spoken to Linda the day before.
As a result of my conversation with Pamela, a few days later Linda contacted me to tell me a story about how shortly after Julie died, a palm reader/spiritual medium Linda’s magazine had hired as entertainment at an event, without any prompt or clues at all, told Linda things about Linda’s relationship and experiences with my sister that no one else on the planet knew about. Apparently Linda and Julie had an inside joke about a teddy bear, based on an experience they shared on a trip. The woman told Linda the story as if she had been there. She then told Linda that the deceased was very worried about someone she had left behind, a family member whose name begins with K.
Was my being paired with Pamela a coincidence? I think not. I think it was a roundabout way of my sister letting me know she was worried about me. She left so suddenly, without saying goodbye.
So the next time something happens and you think, What a remarkable coincidence! Say thanks. Someone’s looking out for you.
Any remarkable coincidences you’d like to share?