As anyone who’s dealt with me for any length of time is aware, I’m big on the idea of physical synchronicities as being some of the most useful guideposts for us. Songs on the radio, street signs, the “11:11″ phenomena… even cloud formations have served me well in the past. These signs can be useful in any number of ways, including helping us to see a new direction to try, or in confirming that the direction we’re taking is a good one. I get these little course corrections all the time, but yesterday I experienced one of the most clear and striking synchros I’ve seen in quite some time.
We had a record-setting snowfall the other day. Usually in this part of Pennsylvania we don’t see freezing winter weather until Thanksgiving at the earliest, but on this past Saturday we had 8″ – 10″ of heavy, wet white stuff on the ground by nightfall. Being so early and catching everyone unprepared, it caused some degree of havoc (not to mention loss of electricity to my home and thousands of others). We had a quiet evening listening to music and reading…it does give the brain a chance to re-boot and recover from the otherwise constant electronic stimuli that I for one normally engage in on a regular basis. Unfortunately the battery I’d hooked up to run our coal stove died just before bedtime, so we spent the night under a pile of blankets and comforters.
By early Sunday morning, the roads were clear and power was being restored to most areas. Our power was still out; I decided to make my weekly pilgrimage to my elderly Mom’s place about 30 miles away. I felt I had to get out of the house; as well, I wanted to charge the car battery so we could have some heat in case the power hadn’t come back on, and Mom’s electricity was still good to go. So I threw the battery and charger into the pickup and made the trip.
After I set up the charger, Mom and I had coffee (I bring my fresh custom-ground in a thermos every week since I can’t stand her Maxwell House anymore) and I went out to have my first cigarette of the day. It was brisk but the sky was clearing. The night’s freezing air gave way to temps in the low 40′s and rising by 10 am, and the sun shone brightly but the snow kept the temperature near the ground quite cold.
As I finished my smoke and started back to the house from the driveway, I noticed what looked like a small grey stone or clod of dirt on the sidewalk. I thought to kick it out of the way, but when I took a closer look I saw that it was a small toad. It was just sitting there immobilized by the cold. If a toad could shiver, this little guy would’ve been shaking like a vibrating Barcalounger. But being he was a cold-blooded creature, all he could do was to lie there. How he managed to get to that place and where he’d come from I hadn’t a clue, but it was clear that he was in a bad way. We humans hadn’t been the only ones caught off guard by the early snowstorm. In a normal year, the gradually lowering temperatures would’ve triggered mucous production to replace the water in his vital organs (to protect them from freezing)…eventually he would have found a safe place to spend the winter in hibernation. But this little guy was caught with his mucous down, so to speak.
Now I have to admit that for a big, strong man who has, in the past, been elbow-deep in the innards of successfully-hunted animals, I don’t care much for reptiles and amphibians. I have never in my life purposely picked up a frog or a lizard, let alone a snake (God forbid!). They just give me the willies. But the poor little toad looked so helpless that I overcame my revulsion. I first tried to pick him up daintily by a hind leg, but could’t get a good grip. So I steeled myself and scooped him up in my hand. Apparently his prodigious mucous-making abilities had all gone into protecting his exterior, because he was extremely slimy and slippery to handle. Blech.
I took him out into the driveway to a place where the sun was now warming the asphalt, to the side where he wouldn’t be stepped or driven on – I figured it would kind of defeat the purpose if he ended up flattened. I bid him good-day and headed into the house to wash the toad-slime from my hands.
An hour or so later when my unholy cravings sent me back outside for a second smoke, I decided to check up on Mr. Toad. I was pleased to see that he was gone; I’d had my doubts that he’d make it, but apparently his built-in solar charger had taken good advantage of the bright sun and the warm pavement, and he’d hopefully set out to find himself a suitable hidey-hole.
As I scanned the blacktop to see if he was still close by, a glint caught my eye. Not a foot from where I’d left him lay a shiny penny. I picked it up, of course. Funny I hadn’t noticed it before. Had it been there before?
I took it into the house and showed it to my Mom. She agreed that it was obvious that Mr. Toad had left a tip in gratitude.
I mumbled something about toads apparently being stingy tippers (while acknowledging that they admittedly possess a paucity of pockets to carry much in the way of small change). But within a few minutes of finding the penny, the significance of it blossomed in my mind like a puff of luminescent magician’s smoke going off on a darkened stage.
In my practice for the past few months, business has admittedly been on the slow side. Oh, I get clients and do wonderful work with them – but their numbers still aren’t what I should be getting considering the quality of help I offer, if I do say so myself. Also, it had occurred to me that, although I’ve consulted myself with various teachers and intuitives over the past few years, none of them had ever suggested the value of giving back. The advice I always got ranged from simply not mentioning the energy of service and contribution to the good of All, to actively advising that self (small “s”) is the only thing that matters in the pursuit of a good, useful and abundant life’s work. But my own intuition had been nudging me for some time, telling me that service to others was just as important (if not more important) as service to self. And no matter how wise or experienced the teacher, I know by now that it’s my own wisdom that counts for me. Others may do very well by embracing the love of money to the exclusion of service – but it was becoming clear that that wasn’t the way for me.
So in keeping with that notion and since things were a little slow anyway, I instituted my free “Get-Acquainted” phone sessions. As long as I wasn’t doing anything else, I figured that I might as well spend a few hours a week talking with people who could perhaps benefit from my work in some way, but who weren’t quite ready to formally hire me. I am still a firm believer that what you pay (or exchange) for something says a lot about how much you value it. In the past, when I’ve done free work for people they more often than not placed little value on it – and as a consequence usually wasted any benefit that was available. But this is different – these free calls are as much about me as about the people who call me. A work of goodness inevitably benefits the one doing the work – it cannot be otherwise. As for the one receiving the work of goodness, the effect is completely up to them. They are completely free to take the gift and appreciate it, or to discard it. That choice has no effect on me because I’ve done my part. I can say that without exception, those who’ve taken advantage of this gift have been quite grateful – most have recognized at least some benefit right there during the phone call.
As another piece of my shift in the direction of service, I consciously undertook to be more generous and gracious in my daily life. Having a very well-developed sense of humor and sometimes being quick of wit (and having been raised in an environment that perpetuated a serious culture of ball-busting humor), I find it extremely easy to apply the Don Rickles school of razoring to those around me. This is never done out of malice (well, usually not), but I realized that the recipients of my fun-time whipping probably took it to heart more often than I wanted to acknowledge. So I now think twice and consider the circumstances before swinging my flaming sword of wit. I also do my best to be generous in every way I can think of – whether that means not eating the last few handfuls of kettle corn, or sharing my occasional instant lottery ticket winnings, or even complimenting someone who deserves it. I have always loved giving things to people…it’s just that now I do it more out of love than out of wanting to make them “like” me.
The upshot of all this energy-shifting (probably to the chagrin of some of my former teachers) is that my booking of clients has accelerated – quite a lot. And these are not people who have had a free call with me or who feel some obligation or who have worked with me before. They are coming to me because their intuition lead them here. They would have ended up here anyway; but my new energy of stewardship and service has opened up the portal to them, and it’s a two-way door. They are drawn here by the promise that when they work with me, they are the most important thing on my mind. And the abundance they bring with them, one at a time, is the fulfillment of the promise made by the Universe that when I find and do my True Purpose, a Way will come to meet me.
And just to prove that point; to reinforce to me that right thinking, kindness and generosity, and concern for All that appears to be outside of me is that Way… a small hop-toad agreed to brave the frozen concrete in front of a house in Pennsylvania on a Sunday morning. He now resides in the pantheon of my greatest teachers.