Today was mysterious. As I was walking along with Judy Brubaker I missed a call from an unknown number. I began thinking that maybe it was Oprah, or Quincy Jones, or anyone! Then I realized why the “unknown” was so awesome; it had infinite potential! It could’ve been the president calling! And if it was, I’m sure he’ll try again later anyways.
In the midst of that call was my walk with Judy. That was even more mysterious. I didn’t know Judy before this. I had merely been walking home, found an elderly woman unable to unlock her door, and asked if she needed help. She told me she didn’t but would love to go on a walk with me. I obliged. I had no way of knowing who this woman was, but she told me about herself. She was 89 years old, had been living in Chicago for the past 50 years, and used to be a film star in Hollywood during the early 1950s. I believed her, but she seemed a bit forgetful, and at the back of my mind I was still wondering what her story truly was. She then told me she still sings on Wednesday nights at Maggiano’s, but hadn’t since her recent surgery. She sang a few lines for me and I was amazed; she did in fact have a beautiful voice.
She insisted that I leave her where she was and continue my walk home, but I refused. I told her that I must walk her back home. So we slowly walked along, but as we got closer she made me leave her side, saying she didn’t want her husband to think she was doing anything crazy. I walked ahead of her but I made sure I saw her walk back up the stairs to the door where we first encountered each other. She must have gotten inside because I didn’t see her as I walked back up the street in the direction of my apartment. I felt so compelled to know what she was doing, what her life was like. We made a real connection and at this point I still have no idea why.
When I got home I decided to Google her. Judy has in fact lived in Chicago the past 50 years, does still sing occasionally at Maggiano’s, and was a film star during the early 1950s. I was amazed! I had just been on a walk with the Judy Brubaker! I may never know the meaning of our encounter. I also may never know who the unknown caller was. But the mystery is so curious, and so enjoyable. Many things in life are inexplicable. Many of the things that we do explain away are, in truth, inexplicable as well. Although the mind prefers to label and have things fit into its set parameters of perception, the world beyond such explanations is more alive, more real, and more curious than one could imagine. One of the greatest lessons I have received is to embrace the mystery. Shout out to the universe, “I just don’t know! I have no idea!” It is at that point that the miraculous has an opportunity to appear. It is at that point that anything can happen.
This is a video I found on YouTube of Judy singing at Maggiano’s:
Today I had the privilege of performing with my family band at a town festival. Waiting to perform is nerve-racking for me. But the second I’m on stage and begin to sing all of the nerves just float away, and I’m there, completely present. I love the feeling of being totally in the moment. One of my favorite aspects of presence is the experience of joy; the natural state of being that is usually covered up by thoughts and emotions.
What makes you present? What snaps you out of thinking and brings in you completely into the moment?
Presence can be practiced in any situation, but a great place to start is by finding a situation that tunes you into the now. It could be yoga, taking a walk, straightening your hair, driving, singing, anything at all! When you find that thing that snaps you into the present, it isn’t really that thing that is so enjoyable. The joy comes from being fully in the now, without psychological past and future taking up all of your attention. So give yourself a gift and begin practicing being in the now. Start with whatever brings you joy!
When I really pay attention I can hear my mind labeling the things and situations it perceives. It says things like, “Wow, the moon is so bright tonight,” and, “The sky is very blue today!” But attaching words to my perceptions doesn’t mean I actually have any idea what I’m seeing. Perception becomes miraculous and new when you can see without mentally labeling everything. When labels are gone, we can see things for the wonders they truly are.
This video is a beautiful example of the magic of perception:
Part of the first experiment in E-Squared by Pam Grout is giving yourself a two-day time frame in which to look for the “field of potential” to present itself to you in a clear way. You look for a gift, for something to come out of the abundance that is in and all around you.
I started this experiment yesterday, Thursday, at 5:05pm. In last night’s post I mentioned that I went to a dance show at Columbia College Chicago. I was looking for the “field of potential,” or God, or the universe, the whole time. When the song “Anything Can Happen” by Elie Goulding came on during the show I thought maybe that was the sign. But I wasn’t sure, so I continued to ask the universe for a clear sign of its presence. This morning on my way to work I saw a cute wooden box under a tree and thought, “could this be the sign?” But I wasn’t that interested in the box, so once again I asked for a very clear sign.
Today we took the kids in our summer program on a field trip to a museum. We were having a great time. I remembered, as we were walking around to the different exhibits, to keep looking for this highest potential to present itself to me. I then checked my cell phone to see what time it was. I noticed I had a new voicemail from a number I didn’t recognize. I was so curious I listened to it right then, and heard a voice saying “Hi this is a message for Katie. I’m calling from the Dance Movement Therapy program at Columbia, and wanted to let you know that you won our raffle from last night! Congratulations! Please call me back to let me know when you can come pick up your prize.”
So that is what a clear sign is! And as if the experiment hadn’t gone well enough already, when I called the woman back I asked her what the prize included. There had been a couple different prize packages. The one I won included one month of unlimited yoga classes at a yoga studio that is on the same street, literally steps, from the front door of the new apartment I’m moving into in September. Now that is what I call the “field of potential” saying, “Hey Katie, what’s up? I’m here!”
Is there any downside to asking the universe to show you the best of itself? To believing that all encompassing abundance is on its way to you right now? As I said in yesterday’s post, the worst thing that can happen is that nothing happens. The best thing that can happen is beyond your wildest imagination! What miracles are you looking for in your life today? Are you expecting great things to happen? Even if you don’t yet know what you want, you can always ask for a clear sign from the universe to show you the unlimited wonders it has to offer.
I’m still reading E-Squared by Pam Grout and it has reminded me of what I’m always trying to convince myself of. Namely, that the world is wondrous when you look for the wonder. The universe rises to meet you where you are, with the situations and things your perception accepts as possible and real. Why not see what happens when you drop the conditioned ideas about what life is, and decide that miracles are everywhere and are readily available to you?
When you look for that highest potential you are much more likely to allow your perception to actually see it expressed in your life. And if you’re like me and your mind needs a little more convincing, ask yourself: why not?
Why not see what happens when you decide something wonderful is currently happening in your life? Why not see what life is like when you ask it to show you the best it has to offer? The worst thing that could happen is that nothing happens. The best thing that could happen is that all your dreams come true. Theres no “losing” side of suspending your disbelief and deciding to see the best of your imagination manifest before your eyes. So why not try it, and ask the universe to give you a clear sign of the abundance it has ready and waiting for you.
Tonight I went to see my former teaching assistant perform at the Dance Movement Therapy show at Columbia College Chicago. When this song came on I heard the universe saying “Yes I’m here, keep watching what I can do!”
I am a huge Michael Jackson fan. Since I was in grade school MJ’s music has had a profound effect on me, lifting me up and inspiring me. The day MJ died I was at the Satchidananda Ashram. I found out by overhearing some other people from the dorms causally discussing it. I was completely beside myself. It may seem silly to be so mournful over the death of a celebrity, but I had loved MJ for so long and was looking forward to him creating new music. I had even purchased a ticket to one of his shows in London without having any clue of how I would get there.
The day after his death I was very low. I didn’t want to do anything, let alone something enjoyable (the pain body can’t stand enjoyment). My roommates then tried to persuade me to go to “Laughter Yoga” with them. Laughing was the very last thing I felt like doing, but eventually they convinced me. In Laughter Yoga you “fake it till you make it.” I’m not sure if I truly laughed or not, but afterwards I felt considerably lighter, more peaceful, and even a little bit happy. Laughter doesn’t have to be real to have positive effects on your mood, thinking, and physical health. Now I try to remind myself to laugh every day, no matter what. And this video really helps with that:
Thanks to Marc and Angel Hack Life for introducing me to this video!