For the most part, I am not one of those people that wins things. I do not normally win the online contests or giveaways, the million miles, lotteries or scratchers, nor have I really ever been the recipient of a pay-it-forward experience. In my 35 years of life, I think I have won a handful of these types of things.
However, in the last few months, things have been a bit different...a change in the tides, a shift in the wind, a parting of the seas, if you will.
In the last one and a half weeks alone, I have been on the receiving end of a pay-it-forward (PIF) experience three times. THREE TIMES. IN ONE AND A HALF WEEKS. (And once on the giving end. And although I am QUEEN of donations to various organizations multiple times each year, yes, I am aware that I can up my game here)
Interestingly enough, while these PIF moments have been at the same location, they have occurred with three different individuals, playing three different roles in my life- once, a complete stranger took care of my bill, another time a fellow parent at my daughter's school covered a portion of my order, and lastly, one of the employee's happily chipped in her PIF money to cover the remaining bit of my tab.
I know it may seem small to some, but to me, these were breathtakingly beautiful moments. Like going from a world of black and white while proceeding to jump into a cold plunge pool or an ice cold river, only to come up, cold but rejuvenated and feeling very much alive, now able to see color for the very first time.
Could it be that despite the many horrors that are going on worldwide, despite the many, many talented individuals that died this year, and despite the political chaos we have/continue to experience as a nation, perhaps, despite all of this, people are remembering that we need to take care of each other, be kind, do for one another in any small way that we can?
I think so. Perhaps I am an eternally naive optimist, but I truly believe this in my heart of hearts and soul of souls, and I do not think that I am alone.
I can feel it. Like a static electricity in the air, jumping from person to person, similar to a radar beam. A virus of the heart.
I can see it in the social media realm as people come together to fight for various injustices in our world- Syria, veterans, LGBTQ, womens, and POC's rights, equality, or DAPL, to name just a few. It is apparent in the not-so-secret online groups where thousands of people are sharing beautiful, tear-jerking stories about experiencing acts of kindness, sometimes by a group of people, but often just from a single soul, fighting against hate and bigotry. I witness it as scientists, activists and regular citizens are coming together in droves in an attempt to secure our environment and planet in any way possible. A protego maximo on us all.
Even though I reside in the Aloha State, I have personally experienced this on my morning walks where the common place, yet rushed "Hello" and "Good morning" has now been upgraded to add a softness and a yearning to meet the eyes- from theirs to mine, and mine back to theirs; seeking a true connection, to relate.
It reminds me of an event called Worthshop I recently had the pleasure of attending and two speakers that stood out.
The first was Dougan Cuceloglu, Ph. D, (the information on this link is in Turkish), and he touched on this very topic of what it means to relate. Specifically, he is a well traveled man and his message was, despite the cultural differences he has experienced with people's ability to relate and connect, he continues to witness acts of "relation" in small ways such as a when others give up their good seat on a plane or a bus, just so some stranger can be more comfortable. To see someone talk about this with such wonder and excitement reminded me there is magic in these interactions, and if a man of his age still has hope, we all can step back in line.
The second speaker, Kumu Hina, is someone I feel is very much in tune with her dhi. Her message was simple, but compelling: KNOW YOURSELF.
You feel it when she walks into a room. Her energy and mere existence are power in the physical form because it is very obvious she knows who she is and is living her purpose. You know these people. When you speak to them, it's as if they exude electricity and light and sometimes it is almost intimidating to look them in the eyes, but you cannot bear to look elsewhere because they hypnotize and draw you in.
Her story was brief, but told a tale of pain, inner turmoil, failure, and ultimately a survival of the soul- in a world where it may be easier to ignore your dhi, instead- know you, be you.
So what is dhi?
Gut. Intuition. Inner voice.
It is a word of sanskrit origin. If intuition is a sailboat, dhi is the wind that moves the sailboat across the sea, getting you to the right place at the right time. Dhi is the light of the inner teacher that lives within us all. It is always there, no matter how dark the world may seem, how unfocused and scattered the mind may appear, or how negative that voice might be, dhi remains, persevering, hangin tough.
Although the location of my three PIF experiences is one that I frequent often, on those occasions, I had no plan or intention of going there that day. But I did have a feeling. A little tug. A whisper in my ear to listen. And so I did, and found myself in the right place at the right time, every time.
This whole experience- these three, separate individuals that gifted me with my PIF moments- are basically my own version of Scrooged, reminding me that it is okay, no, it is NECESSARY to listen to myself, and to believe in people. As individuals. As a group. As a society.
To relate and to know that I am the good things. We are the good things. YOU'RE THE GOOD THINGS. YEAH THAT'S YOU, YEAH THAT'S YOU, YEAH.
***Interestingly enough, as I was editing this post, I received a message that I had just won an online giveaway...***