Just recently within less than 48 hours, I have run into people all across town and been reminded of what a small, big world it is. Especially following the tragedy in France, the coincidence of connection is an important reminder of how powerful serendipity can be.
My good friend Lani is what I call a “universe translator” and has taught me a lot about being open to what is happening and to heed the message in the moments. In fact, she would interject here to say that coincidences aren’t random. When a connection presents itself to you, it’s an opportunity for you to take action.
We’re surrounded by noise and one day can feel like a series of non-stop actions and decisions. But a connection is taking an action in a different way – something you wouldn’t have otherwise done. A karmic nudge of sorts.
Friday morning brought dark clouds and steady rain. The type of weather that begs you to stay indoors. Instead I found myself at a suburban Target store when I heard someone say, “Are you Kristin Graham?”
I turned to see a woman I met last year when I was speaking at an event. We made a connection that day and stayed in touch. This spring, Meaghan called to tell me she and her husband were looking to move to the Pacific Northwest. I told her about my move to Seattle eight years ago and that I was just about to embark on my own life sabbatical.
I was thinking of her last week and wondering how her journey was going when suddenly she called out to me next to the greeting card aisle. She and her husband had just arrived into Seattle that morning, driving in a U-Haul with their belongings and two cats. They pulled into to this store at this hour for some quick supplies.
“You’re one of only five people I know in Seattle and I just found you right off the highway,” she said. We laughed, hugged, and shook our heads at the happenstance. I walked away feeling certain that I am supposed to be here for her as she settles into her new life.
Later that day I was sitting with my friend Lisa in a restaurant in downtown Seattle. After getting settled into the booth, my creative muse Lani and Melissa (another creative spirit whom I adore) came to the table.
“I was just thinking about you both,” I said, reaching out for hugs. “I can’t believe we’re here at the same time.”
“Of course you were,” said Lani with a smile and a shrug. “And of course we are.”
It didn’t matter that Lani and I both live miles away from this particular restaurant. We were there just when we needed to be. Serendipity, she would remind me, is about receiving the connection and taking the action from it.
The next night, I met a group of friends to go to a concert of a musician I didn’t know. After dinner, we headed into the venue after the opening act and I ran into two friends right away. We had been talking earlier in the week about getting together and plans fell through – until we were supposed to meet by chance (in the line at the bar, but that’s a different karma).
Then as the concert began, I sat listening to the music of Glen Hansard and was transported. I felt the music before I heard it, knew I was hearing my favorite songs for the first time. As I sat next to my friend Ash who brought me, I felt such gratitude for her invitation to experience this music at this time. Soon thereafter, I felt a strong reminiscence of an old friend.
In the middle of a Seattle-casual concert hall where hundreds of strangers were singing and swaying along song after song, I felt enveloped in familiarity. Sometimes a connection isn’t a person but more of an experience. And sometimes it isn’t a person who is in front of you. At the concert, I sent a note to my friend. It’s been years since we’ve seen each other but it was just as if they were there in front of me saying, “Are you Kristin Graham?”
Crossing paths in another time and place. The here and now and the then and when. All the connections helped me remember – as I watched news of global solidarity and sadness – that life is best lived in the presence of those who know you as you are.
In writing this blog, I came across a quote from the author Nancy Thayer that says: “The universe is always speaking to us, sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more.”