It started on a Sunday that I expected to be ordinary. I met up with my friend Mehret inside a vintage shop in Roncy where we bantered with the owner, a curmudgeon with a secretly soft heart and an exacting eye for fashion. Whenever new customers entered, she would feign annoyance and later approach them to talk them out of buying whatever vintage piece they were considering. I tried on Victorian hats with the other ladies in the shop for about half an hour, oohing and aahing over the gorgeous but impractical headpieces that I wouldn't have the occasion to wear unless I got invited to a royal wedding. I started feeling like I was in a movie surrounded by a cast of quirky characters.
Mehret asked me what freedom meant to me. My definition is in the form of a poem. A street poet in New Orleans channeled the poem for me after I gave him the word "freedom" as a prompt. I told her how much I loved this poem, that I kept it framed by my bedside. We were walking and talking along Roncesvalles Avenue, going in and out of mom-and-pop shops. Soon I recognized what movie we were in: a platonic version of Before Sunrise.
A couple of blocks later, we ran into a poet sitting outside of a store in front of a typewriter, ready to write a bespoke poem for anyone with a prompt. Mehret got really excited because we had just been talking about street poets and here was one before us. She'd never encountered them before. I'd never met one outside of New Orleans either. We got to chatting and the poet told us that New Orleans had become over-saturated with street poets and now they'd spread to other cities. Mehret commissioned a poem about living life offline (she writes a newsletter about living life offline). I read the poem and saw that the poet shared the same name—first and last—with a friend of mine, minus one letter in the spelling. Mehret got excited again, giddy at the incredible coincidences.
Did they mean something? At the very least, it proved life was full of everyday magic. Mehret was new to manifesting, embracing her intuition, and letting life flow and unfold in kismet. This way of existing was so much more fun than being overly rational and second-guessing herself. The more she talked, the more I realized I was jaded. Because I experienced minor miracles regularly, I had taken them for granted. I should be more excited. Mehret agreed. The more excitement we expressed, the more miracles we'll attract.
Weird things happened to me all the time, but I accepted them as part of ordinary life. Just a few days prior, I entered the subway after visiting my parents' home. I ran into a new acquaintance of mine. He was carrying a rotisserie chicken from a grocery store I'd just been in as well. I had tried to buy something but couldn't because their power was off. He said they were experiencing a power outage. We had both been in the same grocery store at the same time before meeting on the subway platform. The kicker was that he had also come from visiting his mom, and she lived in the exact same building as my family.
If I looked back at my life, I bet I'd find a long list of these synchronicities. Should I have kept a better record of them? Now they were buried in the recesses of my memory. One strange fateful occurrence that I'll never forget: waiting at an airport in Vienna during a stopover to France and running into my facialist from Toronto, who was also there on a stopover on her way to her home country. I'd see her occasionally at the spa over the years, and we'd always marvel at the miracle of that encounter. What were the chances?
Recently, something terrible happened to me on the road. I could've been badly injured, but miraculously, I was okay, save a skinned knee that is healing nicely into a thick scab. I was numbed by the incident. A bystander was more outraged for me, yelling that what that guy did was fucking dangerous and that I could've died. I should check the security cameras, call the police. Before that, I had called 9-1-1 and given up because it went to voicemail. What were the police going to do? It had already happened and I was shaken but fine. But I listened to this guy, a messenger. I called 9-1-1 again and the police came. I was surprised they actually took it seriously; a detective was later assigned to the case. My mom, with her mother's intuition, texted me unprompted during this time, asking if everything was okay. Although I've since learned the mystical reasons behind the event after discussing it with my spiritual teachers, for a while, it shook my sense of safety. The world felt unsafe, death imminent.
After I thought about it more thoroughly, I came to accept that life was full of unpredictable danger. A friend in India had broken his leg not from the perilous traffic of his city but by walking in socks and slipping on the floor of his own home. Another friend had injured his back from falling on the steps of his porch. No matter how many precautions we take, we are all at risk of getting hurt or dying (God forbid) at any time. A macabre view but one that helps me. There's no point in living in fear. And there are always people around to help when needed. Even a stranger I'd likely never see again.