NPR This American Life

Spectacularly Perfect Coincidences

My husband and I have been listening nightly to This American Life, the NPR radio show. Decades ago when we would listen, we would call it “driveway stories” because we would get home and have to stay in the driveway to finish listening to the story before we left the car. These days we listen online at night and call the show “This American Nap” because the show often lasts longer than we do. But that is not the point of today’s musings.

What I want to talk about are coincidences. I have always loved coincidences, or what I like to call Spectacularly Perfect Events (SPEs). My experience of SPEs is one of wonder and magic. It is the physical manifestation of a power that is beyond our five senses. SPEs are not simple coincidences but divine or at least invisible intervention in our lives.

Our latest listen to This American Life was an awesome show called No Coincidence, No Story! We were especially touched by Act Two of the story because it was set in our old hometown, and it had such a sweet and unexpected ending. Truly it had a miraculous ending. Listen in about the dollar bill and see if you don’t agree.

My life is better when I am open to and allow myself to be amazed by SPEs. I find them to be guidance and support for my life. The SPEs in my life appear at the right time in the right way. They feel different from normal events. I can tell they are special. Like when the hair on my arms stands up when I walk down a scary alley, my body feels different when I know I am in the middle of a SPE. For instance:

After being released from the UCLA graduate theatrical program, I was down to my last dime in Los Angeles. Driving to a job interview, I became lost. This was before the days of smart phones or even cellphones. I spotted a payphone on the side of the road. When I hurriedly turned into the parking lot so I could call the recruiter, I cut the turn too quickly and hit the curb, puncturing my tire. A man approached me – I was frightened because I was a 21-year-old woman in a bad part of town. He very nicely said, “I saw what happened. Let me change your tire.” I was in no position to refuse. As he changed my tire, I called the recruiter to receive better directions. Returning to my car, I fingered literally the last $20 dollar bill in my wallet and offered it to him with gratitude for his kindness. He refused the money saying, “I was on my way from a job interview. Hopefully, this good deed will help me land the job.” I hope it did. No Coincidence, No Story.

About a year later, I was contemplating moving back to Illinois. I had found a job, a wonderful job, but the company was no longer financially sound. I was at a crossroads. My future was a blank slate, or more like a black hole. I wasn’t sure if I should stay and try to make it in LA or to head back home and start over. At the time, I worked less than 10 blocks from where I lived and was probably the ONLY person in LA to walk to-and-from my job. One day as I was walking back to my apartment after work, a guy on a bicycle passed me and said, “Going home?” Never had I seen him before nor never after. But that day I took it as a sign that I was to return to Illinois – where my life restarted. No Coincidence, No Story.

Where in your life did things happen that seemed more than just happenstance? Did you receive direction? Did you receive support? Did you get that gentle nudge in a new direction? Share with us your thoughts on coincidences and SPEs in your life.

Melissa Heisler, Stress Reduction Expert

The Power of Surrender

My life has changed immensely over the last few weeks.  Goals I had given up upon have been coming to fruition seemingly out of thin air.  It is a truly amazing time.  What is so hard to grasp about it all is that I have not done anything different.  The wonderful new opportunities I have received did not come about due to planning, strategy, or hard work.  They came about because I surrendered.

ALS_2401_8x10The theme of surrender has been coming to me from many different angles this year.  It is a hard concept to understand and even more difficult to explain.  Surrender is not giving up.  Surrender is not releasing desire.  Surrender is not powerlessness.  Surrender is tapping into a greater power by releasing one’s focus on outcome.  Surrender is focusing one’s energy in their mission and passion instead of on tasks and to do’s.  Surrender is focusing on one’s heartfelt desires but not being caught up in what it will look like to manifest them.  Surrender is living in the bliss of one’s true purpose without regard to what the end result will be.  But I gotta tell you, the end results are pretty cool too.

It all started when I was approached to write blog posts for the Linked Local Network (LLN).  I am always open to appropriate resources to gain a greater audience for my messages.  LLN’s desire to build communities and share positive information was in alignment with me so it was a perfect fit.  But as I began to become involved, I saw that the mission of LLN was even more intrenched with my own.  Although it is a for-profit company they desire to support non-profits through resources and finances, a giving back element.  I learned about opportunities to become more involved with LLN by becoming a Hub Administrator, meaning that I would lead one of the city-centered websites.  As we talked about the opportunity, I went to a state of surrender, surrender of what I “should” say in a business meeting, and instead spoke from my authentic self.  I was called to bring forth my true mission to empower individuals.  What came about was the new Women’s Hub on Linked Local Network.  A website where I could choose the types of news and voices to be represented.  I didn’t have to ask, bribe or negotiate it.  It was handed to me, for it was aligned to my purpose and I had surrendered to my purpose.

There was not only surrender in how I thought things had to be done but also surrender in that I had to follow my heart and not my pocketbook.  Accepting management of the Women’s Hub meant providing lots of volunteer hours and taking my focus away from promoting my coaching business.  Or did it?  This year I have been trying to promote my business and grow it more.  I was doing everything the sales books told me to do, networking, social media, presentations.  Surrendering my time from these sales functions to focus on a website would on the surface be the wrong business choice.  In my heart however, it was right.  I knew I could reach and affect more people through this opportunity.  The hurdle to get over was money and compensation.  In the short term, there is none and there are no guarantees that there will be any revenue.  I surrendered to being the Women’s Hub Administrator because the alignment with my purpose and desire was higher than any immediate materialistic need.

And I was rewarded with yet another vehicle to get my message out.  A message meant to connect, educate and change people for the better.  I was rewarded with a radio show with which to project my message.  If you have been reading my journey, I tried all of the conventional ways to get my word out.  They usually required me to exchange my authentic self in return for a platform.  Now I have a weekly platform where I can share my authentic self and the information and power of those I respect.

Surrender is truly powerful.

Join me May 21st at 6pm on The Empowerment Show as I interview the documentary filmmakers behind The Empowerment Project:  Extraordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things.