This month has been a bit challenging for me. My father’s health is declining, and as a result, I’ve made a few extra trips to Toronto in recent weeks.
On the last flight to Toronto, I wasn’t feeling particularly chatty. I sat beside a polished young woman. She was well-coiffed, armed in high heels, a white designer bag and immaculate make-up.
She didn’t make much eye contact, so I took it as my cue that we wouldn’t chat. I developed an internal story about who she might be based on her appearance. As we got up to leave, she stood and with her perfectly manicured hands passed me my bag from the overhead compartment, even though she did not have one of her own.
This thoughtful gesture prompted me to revise my initial appraisal of her. We chatted as we stood in line for our bags, and I learned that she holds a doctoral degree in genetic engineering and is dedicating her life working to develop drugs to cure hereditary illnesses. She was passionate, thoughtful, and inspired. My superficial impression proved to be very wrong.
This brief interaction encouraged me to be more open to the idea of getting to know people before judging them.
On the flight home, I felt exhausted, after five days in the hospital at my father’s bedside. An elderly woman, was sitting beside me, scribbling furiously into a journal. Her notes were organized and meticulous. Remembering my earlier vow, I threw her a line, asking if she was a writer. It turns out she holds a master’s degree in divinity and has spent the latter part of her life on a spiritual quest.
The next three hours proved to be a fulsome conversation around topics of Buddhism, consciousness, spirituality, quantum physics and mysticism. She writes under the penname Augusta. The conversation was good enough that I ordered two of her books. I left the plane feeling grounded, calm and appreciative.
I am grateful to the universe for sending both women my way. I wonder how often people of potential importance in our lives are sent to us, but we miss the opportunity to benefit from them because we are closed off or not looking.
I am renewed in my commitment to being open and receptive to what the universe has to offer. I hope you will do the same.
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Executive Director, Landing Strong