“It’s a dog eat dog world, and I’m wearing Milk Bone® underwear.” It’s one of only two lines I remember from the show Cheers. It’s sad that this aligns so much with my view of the world that I still recall it decades later. This is the way I’ve always viewed the universe, at least since I can remember at around eight years old when I concluded it’s a cold dark, uncaring place that I was unlucky enough to have been born into. I was told there was this God who loved me if I did what he said. But, if I didn’t do the right thing, he would torment me with no end. I couldn’t count on someone who hated me for being the way he made me. This God scared me and made me feel very unsafe. I had this great loving family, for now. But, I was told, one day I would be out on my own, so I better start preparing, as an eight-year-old, to be ready to face this world by myself. I was told to get good grades and get a good job so that I could survive in this place.
Not much has changed from five-year-old Brian lying there in my dark room, feeling all alone. I still feel that same feeling in my bed at night. I’m working on seeing the universe as a loving place and things happening for me rather than to me. Of all of the changes I’ve had to make in my life, I think this is the most difficult. This concept wasn’t even introduced to me until about three years ago. It’s entirely foreign to me. Meditations, affirmations, books, Podcasts, I’m doing it all. I trust. I try to manifest. I trust some more. And, I’m looking for clues, any clues, that it’s working, that the universe does have my back and I can manifest what I need, want, and deserve. I’m finishing up the book series The Team which is all about how we are never alone. I’m working on developing the inner knowing that I’m not alone, like I was told.
A few days ago, I was heading out to Costco to pick up a few things. As I was making a left-hand turn, I looked up to see a van that seemed to appear out of nowhere barreling down on me. There was no way to avoid the collision. I slammed on the brakes as hard as I could and waited for the impending impact. I haven’t been in a car accident in over 35 years. But, I still remember what it feels like. In that split second, I wondered how much damage it would do to my car, how much my insurance rates would go up, thought about having to have the car towed in for repairs, and hoped no one would be hurt. I think my eyes might have closed for a split second. Then, suddenly, I was sitting there, car untouched. The woman driving the van got out of her van and walked around to the side where we surely collided. She looked for damage. There was no damage. There was no collision. Everything was fine. She went on her way. I went on my way. I wondered. Did I just experience a miracle? How did we not collide? What is my lesson in this? Should I pay more attention when I’m driving? Is that the lesson? I started to think about all the things that almost happened, then realized my focus should be on gratitude that none of them did. Maybe the lesson was that what I knew was inevitable wasn’t inevitable at all.
I get to Costco and as I get out of my car, a woman approaches me. She’s a white woman about my age. People don’t often approach me in parking lots, so I’m a bit taken aback. She proceeds to ask me if she can ask a favor of me. She’s been in Costco and something’s going on with her credit card. It won’t work. She needs gas money to get back home. She wants to know if I can go with her to the gas pumps across the parking lot and pay for some gas to get home. I don’t really want to go with her to get gas for her. I say it won’t be necessary for me to accompany her and I ask her how much money she wants. I’ll give her cash. If she can’t use it at Costco, she can go to another gas station where they take cash. She says it’s up to me how much I give her. I ask her how far away is home thinking it must be quite a drive. It’s Batavia- it can’t be more than 30 miles. She tells me she put $15 of gas in her car to get here. I never did see her car, but unless she’s driving an original Humvee, if she put $15 of gas to get here, she should be able to get home without putting more gas in the car. But, mine is not to question why. I reach in my wallet and give her $10. She asks if I want her “information” so I can get my money back. No, I tell her. Just keep it. No problem. I head off to do my shopping, grateful to her because I love the opportunity to help people out. Whatever she did with that money isn’t my concern. I’m glad I was there to provide it.
When I get home, I reflect on the trip to the store. I think about the accident that wasn’t. I still don’t know how the physics of that worked. As I think about the woman in the parking lot, I’m reminded that a couple of days before I was on my walk and listening to a Podcast where someone was talking about trusting the universe and being generous. I think I wish I could be more generous. Just as this is playing a woman walking the other way on the street passes me. Her t-shirt reads “Live Generously” in six inch high letters. OK. I get it. I’m supposed to live generously. I want to live generously. But, when you’re a person like me who counts every dime, even in good times, and you don’t trust the universe to provide for you, living generously is difficult. What I realize though is, in my heart, I want to. I enjoyed giving that woman the money. It would have been really cool if I could have given her $100. I’d love to randomly hand $100 bills to people.
I acknowledge to the universe, “messages received”. You took care of me in that (near) accident. I don’t know how, but you did. And, I was there to take care of that woman in her time of need. The next day as I go for my walk, I spot this van parked on the street. I couldn’t get a great picture of it because I didn’t want someone to spot me taking a picture of their van. There are a lot of Beckys in our neighborhood. But, you might see that it’s been struck in the front, and the tire is flat. I imagine the damage to the van that I nearly collided with would have been about the same- probably worse.
As a little experiment, I decided to try to manifest something small. Every time I walk into Costco I see the new TVs, and I want one. I decide I’ll try to manifest a new TV. So, I put that out there. I set the intention. I immediately begin to wonder how it will happen. Maybe I’ll get a free one from the Amazon Vine program I’m in. I get free stuff all the time. I’ve never seen any TVs in the five-plus years I’ve been in the program. It could happen though. Probably not. Maybe I’ll win the lottery. Oh wait, I don’t play the lottery. Perhaps someone will simply send me a random TV. I haven’t told anyone about this intention, not even Ty. Then, today I’m sitting on the couch, and I see an email pop in on my phone. The subject line says in part (the part I see flash up on the notification): “Be sure to redeem your $933…” and I see it’s from Costco Citi Visa. I perk up. I think this must be a new phishing scheme. I don’t have that kind of money coming or any money coming. I open the email, and it says I haven’t redeemed my certificate from Costco. Still thinking it’s a phishing scheme, instead of clicking the link in the email, I go to my office and get on my computer. I open my browser and go directly to the Citi Visa site. (If you ever get an email you’re not positive is from your bank/credit card company, do not click the link. Go directly to your bank’s site and log in.) When I get there, I see that I have a $933 cash back check waiting for me, for Costco, that I neglected to claim back in February when they initially sent it out.
Is it time for a new TV? Maybe, but thanks, either way, universe.
p.s.- the day after I write this post and right before I’m set to publish it, I’m listening to a podcast on my morning walk. Someone says that our President is kind of like that drunk guy at the end of the bar and… wait for it… someone else says “Norm!” (In case you’re not a Cheers fanatic, Norm is the guy who uttered the line “It’s a dog eat dog world and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear). I cannot recall the last time I heard a reference to Norm.
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