Three years ago, I fell in love. And then I fell in love again. And then I decided that I had to leave my job. That fitting my life into a 9 to 5 box in a toxic environment not only wasn't working for me, but it was making me sick. At the time, my body was riddled with autoimmune issues, and I decided I had to break free. I decided that I could break free.
So I quit my job and broke my lease and decided to find what freedom felt like. And then, right as I was about to leave New York City, I fell in love...yet again.
For the purposes of this story, the details of these many loves are unimportant. What is important is that while all of them fueled a certain passion and creativity in me, none of them lasted, and all of them distracted me from wholeheartedly pursuing my dreams.
I wasn’t going to let that happen again. I knew I had to stick to my plans and leave the city and follow my heart despite the fact that part of my heart was totally wrapped up in this human who happened to live in New York. I was torn, to say the least, and kept wavering on what I should do.
Then, something happened to me. At the time, it struck me as incredibly important. Afterward, I immediately opened my journal and wrote down my experience, and I planned to share the story with you then, but I never did.
Instead, life happened, and the story got buried amongst many other stories. Stories about leaving New York and coming back and building my business and working magic, and then, two weeks ago, I moved back to the very neighborhood I left all those years ago.
And one week after my return, a client told me a story that reminded me so much of that moment back in 2015. So after she left, I opened my journal and read my notes from that day, and I started to cry, and I realized that now, I have to share this story with you.
I was going to tell you another story this month, but that story, you see, will have to wait. Because this story, you are meant to read now:
June 23, 2015
I walked to the edge of the park. The edge was demarcated by a short, stone wall, and just past the wall, there was a tiny mountain of stones leading into the East River.
I’d sat on the wall many times. I'd sat and watched the ducks dive in the river and the boats sail by and the new buildings rise and alter the Manhattan skyline, and in just two weeks, I was leaving, and I didn’t know when I’d sit here again.
I looked in all directions and saw that no one was standing by, so I climbed over the wall and sat on the largest boulder at the top of the tiny mountain of stones, and I peered out onto the water from there, just a few inches closer.
I looked down closely beneath my feet, at what I feared was shattered glass, but it was just the stones glittering, and when the wind blew, it felt like everything was alive.
I heard a man’s voice behind me.
“Ma’am,” he said. “I’m going to have to ask you to return to this side of the wall.”
I looked up at him and said, “but it’s so lovely.”
“I know,” he said.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
I carefully moved myself back within the bounds of the park and continued to watch the geese. Some were eating. Some were primping. Others were sleeping on one leg with their heads tucked beneath their black feathers.
I was about to walk back home when for some reason I decided to go to the little crepe cafe down the road. When I arrived, I ordered the last piece of cobbler, and I fully intended to sit in silence, by myself, enjoying this delicious treat when I heard a woman's voice.
"This place is so nice," she said.
"It's a good Tuesday," she said.
I looked to the table to my left, where she was sitting alone, talking to me.
She was in her early fifties, and her turquoise eyes matched her earrings and her shirt and the single colored feather I'd seen under the wings of the black and white geese. Her skin was tanned and freckled, her hair was blonde, and her voice told me she’d been born somewhere other than America.
“What are you eating?” she asked. “It looks good.”
And so the conversation started. It started and lasted for one hour.
She told me how she'd lived in the neighborhood decades ago back when she was my age and when it was a very different place. That day, she had dropped her daughter off in Manhattan and was stressed by traffic on the drive home, so she decided to stop here and rest for a bit.
She asked me what I’d studied in college. “Film,” I told her, and she told me how that makes me better at what I do, how not everyone will get that but that it does, that my being an artist makes me succeed.
She told me not to lose faith and to be grateful every day.
She told me I am brave. She told me that I have struggled, that I came here on my own, and I worked hard, and I built this, and that it will all work out, that I will get everything. She repeated that I must have faith and to not lose sight.
She told me about her son who left his cubicle job in finance because he needed freedom because, she said, we need freedom for our creativity and our souls to thrive.
She told me that I am in the right city, that she’s glad I’m treating myself, that I am a giving person and to just keep giving and the world will return.
She told me to make time to find The One - the one I’m on the same level with and on the same page with, not the one with the smile or who pays for drinks or who takes me out once a week. She told me to find the person I can build a life with, and she told me that if he's not the one, then don’t hesitate to say, “Next,” and move on. She told me: “you can even love him, stay friends, but move on.”
She told me how she’d struggled with finances, how her son helped her get ahold of her finances, and how money provides comfort, but she didn’t realize that until much later in life.
And she encouraged me to confide in people like her - the older women, the fleeting connections - whose advice is pure and not tainted by jealousy. She encouraged me to always wonder “why” when my friends advise me, and as she was leaving, she told me to never forget that God is with us, that he is on the throne and he has mercy and that we are blessed.
“God bless you” were her last words to me, and after she left, I sat in the cafe, full of joy and love and awe.
I don't remember saying much to her. Truthfully, I don't think I said much at all. I just sat and listened while she spoke and told me everything I needed to hear in that moment, and in that moment, I had no known relationship with angels. They weren’t a part of my spirituality, but I knew then, sitting alone in that cafe, that I had just met an angel.
And it was then that I realized Joan Osborne’s “One of Us” was playing in the cafe. I heard her singing the words, “What if God was one of us,” and I know that may seem too on the nose, but let me tell you, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about angels, it’s that they are never, ever subtle.
They will speak clearly so you can understand them, and they will speak to you in whatever form you will receive them - whether it’s through a stranger in a cafe or your Spotify playlist.
All you have to do is listen.
Angel Wisdom from that Tuesday in June
If you’re an artist, be an artist.
Be grateful every day.
You need freedom for your soul to thrive.
Just keep giving and the universe will return it to you.
Make time to find The One.
Money provides comfort,
Always wonder “why” when people advise you.
We are blessed.