Last night, a cab dropped me off at apartment in Paris around 9 PM. I get in, warm up dinner, relax. Two hours later, I’m on the phone with my girlfriend when suddenly — in the middle of our conversation — I realize that I can’t find my wallet.
I spend 10 minutes methodically searching the apartment. Nothing. Another ten minutes unpacking my bags. There is no wallet anywhere to be found. With growing disappointment, I see that I must have left it in the cab. I know that I must cancel my cards. I begin to wonder how I can possibly get new cards while abroad. I take a breath, tell myself to relax. I get the phone and start to look up numbers for my bank. A flood of self-judgment: How could I have left my wallet in a cab? Why didn’t I look down at the seat as I usually do before getting out? Is mercury in retrograde? In my mind, I tried to retrace my steps. Had I taken the wallet out to pay, and then put it down to find my keys?
At this point, something tells me to stop. Something tells me to go to the window. It’s not that I heard a voice or anything like that — it’s that I heard a thought. “Go to the window.” As I stood up and walked toward the window, I realized, inexplicably, that I was hoping the taxi would be there.
Now, understand that it did not make any sense whatsoever to hope or expect the taxi to be there. It had been two hours since I was dropped off.
I go to the window.
There’s a taxi.
I can’t believe it. I think: Well, someone else is being dropped off. But, as I go to close the curtain..
The taxi driver appears. My taxi driver. An Asian, middle-aged man. He’s waving at me. Breathless, I rush to put on my jacket and run outside.
“How long have you been here?” I ask.
“I just arrived — I was getting off of work.”
“How did you know which apartment was mine?”
“I didn’t ..”
I checked my wallet. Everything was inside. I still couldn’t believe it. I walked back into my apartment, in a daze.
* * *
I must have realized I lost my wallet around the same time he began driving to my apt. As he arrived, something within “happened” to tell me to get up and look out the window. I “happened” to listen to this crazy thought. The driver “happened” to actually be there — and find my window right before I closed the curtain. All of this defies any rational explanation. I’d never taken this taxi before. Hadn’t written down his info. I had no way of contacting him. Two hours had passed since he dropped me off. I figured that if I left the wallet in the cab, another passenger might have swiped it. Even if someone turned it into the police, I could not imagine how they would find me. (Though I’m sure they “could” if they wanted to..) So I just wrote the situation off and figured I wouldn’t be seeing my wallet again.
Then the thought: Go to the window.
The driver said that if he couldn’t find me, he would have left a note with his information. But how amazing is it that he didn’t have to? What if I hadn’t listened to the inexplicable thought that said “go to the window”, hours after my taxi drove off? I listened.
He was there.
For me, the gift was not merely getting my wallet back, though that was nice. But the truth is that I would have been fine without the wallet. The cards would have been cancelled, and arrangements made. The gift was being attuned to the synchronicity of the moment. The gift was hearing a message that didn’t make any kind of rational sense, but listening anyway. The gift was seeing that listening confirmed before my unbelieving eyes.
If anyone else told this story, I wouldn’t believe it. It happened to me and I barely believe it. But this kind of thing actually happens to me all the time. I call them “Matrix Moments” and over the years I’ve come to see them as signals to trust the Universe, to trust myself. I also experience these moments as reminders that there’s a side to life that defies conventional explanation, that is magical, mysterious. Moments when everything is so obviously, inexplicably aligned
that I’m reminded that every other moment is also aligned. Because if even one moment is “on time”, then every other moment must be on time, too..
as all moments are interconnected and interdependent.
The beautiful alignments
remind me to remain calm and grounded during moments that seem misaligned, uncomfortable, undesirable, painful. And what’s interesting is that after all this time, after all these reminders, I still need reminding, because of course, I am consciousness expressing Itself through a limited, human form — and these limitations necessitate faith in the Unlimited, in the Unseen.
Years ago, when I began intentionally “listening” to the Universe, I had a lot of doubt: How could I trust something that I could not explain? As I prioritized spirituality, Life began to speak to me in ways that seemed increasingly magical. But I had to stop trying to explain it. I’d have a dream that something happened, and would wake to see it actually happen. Or, discover that it happened while I was sleeping. An intuition would compel me in a certain way. I began to listen, without knowing why, but only knowing that it felt “right”.
As a fairly rational person, and an academic, I had to consciously overcome my fear of acknowledging this magical, inexplicable side of life. I had to let go of my fear of being seen (or seing myself) as crazy for embracing things that could not be explained, for having faith in the unseen, for trusting in processes and experiences that did not “make sense” in a conventional way.
But the synchronicities and messages were so direct and obvious that I could not deny them. Over time, my faith and trust began to grow. I began to trust my inner knowing, my intuition — even in moments when it seemed that my intuition was wrong, that I’d been mistaken — I began to see that even these “mistakes” were apart of a purposeful unfolding. The conventional, human part of my identity still doubts on a daily basis. Always stressing about something, fearful and striving. But over time, something more profound has grown within me that allows those human fears to be, but also eclipses them with an inner knowing.
On a conventional level, my ego worries and despairs about many things. But the greater part of me knows that everything is in alignment. Aligned for what? I don’t know. And I don’t need to know. Aligned by whom? Can’t say, exactly. But there’s something mysterious, benevolent and intelligent that I trust.
The idea that everything in life is unfolding as it “should” is not something I would impose on anyone else. It is a difficult notion, one that requires a nuanced understanding of different levels of analysis for taking stock of life in all of its complexities. Because the truth is that lots of awful things happen every moment of every day — across the conscious experience of every living being on the planet, unimaginable levels of suffering coexist with joy, love and feelings of peace. What one person experiences as a “blessing” is another person’s “curse”.
But it seems to me that if anything at all is as it should be, then everything is as as it should be — for everything that has ever been, everything that is now and everything that will be is inextricably interconnected. It may be a stretch for some to say that everything as it should be, given the realities of oppression and suffering. Indeed, it is obnoxious, unhelpful and even abusive to try to make someone else believe that an awful thing that happened was “meant to be”.
But there is part of me that holds space for this paradoxical truth. There is something in me that feels that it must work to change things about myself and about the world, even as there is something more profound that knows that nothing needs me to change anything at all — rather, there are simply changes taking place, changes that are changing me, changes that must take place, changes that are meant to be.
The human concept of a blessing is often very selfish, very confused, dualistic and dependent on a Santa-Claus-like image of “God”. And while it’s fine to feel blessed and acknowledge blessings, I personally feel that accepting all of life as a blessing, as one interconnected and mysterious unfolding is my spiritual work. I’m grateful to the taxi driver, for sure. But I’m even more grateful to the Universe for continuing to wink at me in such a delightful way.