Last updated on December 23rd, 2019 at 05:37 pm
As part of my dream journey, I’d flown to Phoenix, Arizona to meet one of my heroes, Martha Beck, who is a best-selling author and life coach. Martha is a producer of Oprah’s Live Your Best Life OWN network television show, and she writes for Oprah’s O Magazine.
I’ve followed her work for years before deciding to sign up for her life coach training program. I was already getting paid to coach clients and manage political campaigns. I’ve worked with life coaches myself for years, but I tend to feel better when I have the proper certifications.
I’m a Princeton and Harvard grad, and for me, there is something about earning a degree that still feels satisfying, a way of proving to the world and myself what I can accomplish. I was excited to make my life coaching career official under the guidance of Martha Beck.
Visualizing A Magical Reality
Martha’s writings and teachings had always appealed to me immensely. One of her memoirs, titled “Expecting Adam: A True Story of Birth, Rebirth, and Everyday Magic“ spoke to me. I admired Martha’s courage in sharing experiences from her past that were nothing short of mystical: visions and dreams that helped guide her to her future path.
I’d had visions and dreams like these for years, but it is not the sort of thing you generally talk about at cocktail parties. One might think you are mad.
I was happy to find a kindred spirit who was also a Harvard grad, three times over, and obviously, someone who is very successful in the material world, who was also able to navigate both “worlds,” apparently, living in the realm of spirit but also firmly rooted and accomplished here on earth. In this world, but not of this world. I have always felt like that, like I was straddling two realities, living in my brand of magical realism.
Magical Realism In My Life
That is what my life feels like to me. It is so full of magic, and synchronicity, with coincidences that seem just far too improbable to be real. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. In my case, life is stranger and more beautiful than fiction. I often say I am the “Luckiest Girl Alive,” and these days especially, it feels like that’s the case.
After spending a few days with the Martha Beck coaching “Tribe” learning life coaching techniques, I had camped out at the Squaw Peak Resort Hotel for a few more days with my also charming life coaching partner, James, who is really like a real-world equivalent of James Bond, including the irresistible and sexy British accent.
We are plotting world domination through love and healing, and we had projects to map out together. I was planning to stay in Phoenix for one whole week and was on vacation, so I had time to give to our visions. James, however, had to head to the Rocky Mountains to visit family friends on Tuesday afternoon, which is why I decided to go to dinner on a blind date on Tuesday night. It was more fun than eating alone, and I figured at the very least I’d make a new friend in Phoenix.
A member of a fund-raising committee that I am part of in Massachusetts had told me a week earlier about her brother, Matt, a pilot, who lived in Phoenix, and said I should meet him when I was there.
“Are you single?” she asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
I am up for anything and hope to be with a life partner whenever it aligns, sharing life’s adventures. I’d take a chance and meet her brother.
I had never seen his picture, so it was indeed a real blind date. He rang my cell while I was in the hot tub at the hotel. We set up a time to meet. Since I had never met him and figured this would likely be a dud date (since I tend to be so ridiculously picky when it comes to the men I date) I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into getting ready.
My hair was still hot-tubbed frizzy, and I had already checked out of my room, so there wasn’t much I could do about it. I tossed it up in a quick ponytail. How to dress? I went for a sexy-business look, wearing black pants and a black blazer with a slightly low-cut top.
I threw on some earrings, powdered my nose, put on a little lipstick, and figured, well, at least I’ll have company for dinner tonight!
Dinner by the Fire
Matt picked the restaurant, named Chelsea’s Kitchen, in downtown Phoenix. I beat him there by five minutes since he was returning home from a flight and had to rush to change and meet me, and I was enjoying a relaxing vacation at this point. I picked a table in the back courtyard underneath a tree by a fire pit. I texted him to say I’d be the redhead sitting by the fire.
I was facing the fire, so I didn’t see him when he approached.
I didn’t see him until he was standing across from me, and I’m surprised my jaw didn’t drop. It was tough to keep a poker-face. He was way more than I had expected, and I figured I would make the most of the date. Why not? We lived far away from each other, might as well enjoy this time together.
After dinner, he asked me out again for Thursday night, two nights later. I said I’d get back to him. I was thinking about spending Thursday at the Grand Canyon and wasn’t sure I’d be back in time.
But I have to say it was nice that he wanted to see me again, despite my frizzy hot-tub hair and less than fantastic date attire. I liked it that he clearly wasn’t just about looks, because if he was I can’t imagine why he’d want to date me (I figure I’m about an 8 and he is a 10, physically).
A Map of Destiny?
I texted Matt the next day to tell him that I wasn’t going to be able to meet him Thursday night in Phoenix. I had decided that I wanted to travel to the Grand Canyon on Thursday, stay overnight and then meditate at the edge of the canyon on Friday morning at sunrise.
I let Matt know, “no can do.” We agreed that maybe we’d get together sometime in Massachusetts if he came home for the holidays since we’d grown up just about one hour away from each other.
First Sedona, Then the Grand Canyon
I headed to Sedona first to see its famous red rock cliffs. I arrived in time for dinner. The sky was already dark, but the moon was full over the red bluffs. I drove around for a while just admiring the beauty of the cliffs under a deep midnight blue sky and a full moon, and appropriately enough ate at a little roadside restaurant.
The following morning, it was time to head to the Grand Canyon. I had been told it was only about 1.5 hours from Sedona. No sweat.
I had breakfast at a Denny’s restaurant, a chain known for its’ “grand slam breakfast special” and I ended up getting directions to the canyon from my waitress, Denice. She asked me, “Do you want to take the scenic route or the direct route?”
I opted for the scenic route since after all, I was on vacation; I had all day to get there and I would be staying overnight as well. Why rush? Armed with Denice’s directions, I headed out into downtown Sedona, where I stopped to buy a bottle of water for the trip. I was going to fast for the next 24 hours, to prepare myself for my meditation at the edge of the Grand Canyon.
I’d never done that before and was looking forward to the experience.
The Road Less Traveled Sometimes Means Being a Little Bit Lost!
Somehow I got myself turned around right from the get-go and ended up heading south on Route 89A instead of north toward the canyon. Luckily I figured it out quickly enough, after about 45 minutes when none of the signs on the roadside matched the map I had that led to the Grand Canyon.
I turned around, drove through the center of Sedona all over again, waved, and kept going. An hour and a half lost. It didn’t matter; I was on vacation after all.
I drove and drove and drove, and at some point, it felt as though I had been driving for too long. Wasn’t I supposed to be there in 1.5 hours? I stopped at a gas station and went inside to ask the cashier for directions. She took one look at my written instructions and said, “Why on earth did you go this way?”
I laughed. “Uh, I got the directions from my waitress at Denny’s and she said it was the ‘scenic route.”
“Well, maybe, but it’s going to take you twice as long to get to the Canyon. Let me show you a simpler route…”
I bought a new map, and she directed me to a faster path to making it there. At this point, I was open to a quicker drive since I hoped to be at the Canyon before dark. It was getting late in the day.
I re-routed myself and started driving again. At some point, I realized that I had “cruise control” on my rental car and I set it for 70 mph, which made the trip seem a whole lot breezier. I rolled down my windows, cranked up the radio to full volume, and sang along with the radio as if I were a teenager.
Finally, I saw the signs for Flagstaff, Arizona, which meant that I was getting close. Good thing, because it was already about 5 p.m., and the sun would set early. I had lost a good three hours on my trip due to wrong directions and getting lost, and then another two hours when I stopped to take a client call along the way.
Five hours lost. It was what it was, I was where I was, and I was relaxed and having fun.
As I pulled into the commercial part of Flagstaff, I suddenly got the impulse to turn into a gas station. I checked my gas gauge. There was gas in the car, enough to get to the Grand Canyon for sure. I had water. I wasn’t eating anything, except a handful of sunflower seeds, which I had decided to allow myself to make my fasting more palatable.
Why did I want to stop, then?
Who knows. I was a bit annoyed, honestly, by my impulse to stop, but have learned enough in this lifetime to know that if the thought of doing something makes me feel open, that I should go with the impulse.
Follow the Bliss, Follow the Joy, Right?
I had already passed the gas station, so I pulled into a hotel parking lot across the street to turn around and go back. As I sat waiting to cross the two lanes of traffic, I suddenly got the sensation again that I should wait. Don’t go yet.
These “impulses” of mine, wherever they come from, are strong, and I don’t know that I could have pressed my foot to the gas pedal if I tried. Oh well, I thought, maybe some higher power is saving me from a potential car accident right now because I seem to have a very active fleet of guardian angels.
I waited, for about 12 minutes, until I finally got the impulse to go. Off I went. I pulled into the gas station parking lot and parked right in front of a massive truck with a giant target on it. It was for the company Core-Mark.
I wandered into the gas station store, grabbed a few big bottles of water and a package of sunflower seeds. I headed to the register. I was the third or fourth person in line. Suddenly, I got the urge to turn around, sensing the presence of someone behind me.
I turned around and found myself staring into the deep blue eyes of the six-foot-three, strapping, handsome pilot, Matt, who I’d been on a date with just two days before. We just stared at each other, stunned, for a bit, maybe 20 seconds, who knows. “Whoa,” I said. “What are you doing here?!” I know one person in the state of Phoenix (well, two, counting Martha Beck). I’d been on a blind date with him two days before. We’d agreed that we wouldn’t be able to see each other again on this trip.
And yet here it was, Thursday evening when we’d talked about meeting up again, and here we were, standing next to each other in a convenience store in Flagstaff, Arizona, three hours from where he lives, and one hour from the Grand Canyon.
After we got over our shock and surprise, I said, “You know, it’s Thursday night. We could still go out for a drink after all. Are you free right now?” He said his co-pilot was waiting in the car, and they were off to board a flight. So no can do.
He texted me later that night and said, “Wow how random to bump into you today. Enjoy the sunrise as I’m sure it’ll be spectacular.”
4 Life Lessons from A Gas Station in Flagstaff
The moral of the story, as I see it, is as follows:
1. EVERYTHING is aligning in Divine Timing.
If something seems not to be lining up the way you want it to in your life, surrender it. I lost five hours on my trip (1.5 hours getting lost and rerouted; 1.5 hours due to wrong directions; 2 hours due to a client call; and then another 12 minutes when my body’s impulse’s told me to just sit still for a bit before pulling into the gas station. Matt was in the store for all of five minutes, so if I had arrived five minutes sooner or later, we would have missed each other. Tell me, can you explain that one away? Because I can’t.
To me, it has the hand of God all over it, a mini-miracle, a true synchronicity story.
2. GETTING LOST may be a rouse that also puts you at the right place at the right moment in history.
I know at least a half-dozen people who narrowly missed being in the World Trade Center towers on that fateful day on 9/11, 2001. Some missed a bus or train. Some had sick children. Some were running late. And fate, or whatever you want to call it, saved their lives.
Sometimes maybe we are “lost” just because something worse would happen (a car accident? Who knows!) if we arrived on time.
3. CEASE endless worrying.
Due to the “miracles” that happened to me in Phoenix, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon, I seem to have lost the ability to worry any longer. I don’t miss it, honestly. I was a chronic worrier since I was a small child until I learned as an adult from spiritual teachers, Abraham-Hicks that worry is really negative prayer. When I focus on what I fear, I increase the likelihood that it may happen.
Experiencing miracle after miracle in Arizona made me decide that I am not ultimately in control, anyways, and I might as well put the car on cruise control and go where my heart tells me to go.
4. ALL is well.
I have fallen into such a deep well of peace, a place of complete and utter absolute surrender and trust, and I plan to hang out here for a while, a lifetime if I may. It feels incredible to live with total and complete faith that somehow, somewhere, some force is out there conspiring for our highest good. I believe, no matter what the future holds, that I was meant to bump into Matt the pilot again. As he said, the odds of us bumping into one another like that were apparently 100% or meant to happen.
I won’t argue with destiny.
Lisa Powell Graham
Lisa P. Graham is an inspirational writer, life coach, TED motivational speaker, and globe-trotter whose passion is to help others to find happiness and meaning in their daily lives. A political activist at heart, Lisa would like to empower more women to run for political office as a way to create positive change in the world. You can find her on her website or watch her TEDx speech on YouTube.
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