The other day, I was waiting for a subway after a meeting in San Francisco. I was just starting to read an engrossing book on the impact of an inspiring public speaker on a particular society when a distinctly British voice asked me which train he needed to take. I looked up from my reading and saw an elf-like man in his mid-70’s with a twinkle in his eyes looking intently at me. I gave him the information and picked up my book again. He sat beside me, silent, but I felt his alert, alive energy, turned to him again, and asked him where he was from.
The next twenty minutes was one of the most extraordinary happenings of my life! My companion (that’s what he felt like, though we’d only just met) was a professional photographer, formerly an engineer, traveled everywhere, and was interested in about everything. Nimbly thumbing through photos on his iPhone, he toured me through his self-designed studio in London, introduced me to San Francisco’s jazz community, and engaged me in conversation about the endless possibilities of life.
Later I realized I’d almost bypassed this incredible opportunity to enrich my life by connecting with a chance-met person every bit as compelling as the public speaker I’d been reading about. Or was it chance? What is it that brings certain people into our lives at certain times? What is there for us to learn in connecting with them? What might we have missed if we’d refused to engage?
One person I remember vividly over the years for what he taught me was a young homeless man sitting by an ATM in San Francisco where I was looking over my two checking account balances. I had just gotten a second bank account for business expenses, and had not much money in either account. When this man demanded my attention by asking for some money, I looked at him and said, “Why are you asking me? I don’t have much money.”
Suddenly he really looked at me, his eyes overflowing with compassion and said, “It’s all right, it’s going to be all right.” I felt the warmth of the connection between myself and this stranger who was no longer a stranger. I laughed then, realizing that I had the luck of having two bank accounts, but he needed a handout and was comforting me. He laughed, too, and I gave him five dollars and thanked him for being there for me.
As authors JIll Lebeau and Maureen Raytis say in their wonderful book, Feng Shui Your Miind, “Look for synchronicities. Pay attention. Each time a synchronicity occurs, relax, allow yourself to truly experience the awe, gratitude and excitement . . . Let the positive flow of energy in.”
These so-called chance encounters are often the exact synchronistic experiences you need to transform times of limitation into awakenings that can change the whole flow of your life!