I often say “You know what — I could get hit by a bus tomorrow,” as a way of portraying the immediacy of acting on our dreams. Don’t wait, do it now, we could be hit by a bus tomorrow, act TODAY. I’m not sure why I’ve always chosen the bus metaphor over more tasteful images.
But I think I need a new mantra because Today I had a life-changing experience involving almost being hit by a bus.
I say that my experience happened Today even though I know I will publish this blog post tomorrow, and these words will immediately be ambered in internet time. But Today this experience feels so raw that I don’t care if this blog post will age and fade – I just need to share it.
Today at 11:30 AM I was wearing my red swirly sunglasses and my tan, fake-suede “rock star coat” while I crossed Wacker Drive in Chicago. I was on an early lunch break and thinking about how I wasn’t really hungry, but I needed to eat because I was speaking on a webinar in two hours, and I hadn’t packed my lunch… some of the more mundane thoughts of Daily Life.
Even though I had the green light, I looked to my left to make sure no cars were coming. I crossed the street, my eyes focused on the little lit-up white man in the WALK signal that told me I was safe, my brain thinking about the lunch I wasn’t hungry for.
Halfway through the crosswalk, a yellow school bus swung around the corner at me. Since it was daytime, I was there first, and I was nearly finished crossing the street, I trusted that this speeding bus saw me and planned on going around me.
But it didn’t. This giant schoolbus careened straight at me, and before I could register what was happening, its little gnarled yellow grates were a few feet away from my face.
My realization, my actions, my mortality all blobbed together in one instinctual moment. Some primal power within me made a decision to take a few running steps and fling myself forwards. In the process of dodging the bus, I fell onto the concrete median in the middle of the street – a buoy of safety that scraped up my knees, hands, and feet upon landing. The lifeline on my sore right palm looked like it was going to burst in two, like I was a ragdoll whose stuffing was poking out of her stitches.
The bus didn’t hit me. My scrapes meant I had gotten away.
There were no other pedestrians on the scene – just the bus driver who waved her hands from the windshield in a useless “Sorry!” gesture, her vehicle paused askew in the spot where my bones had been a moment before. And me on the ground, scraped up, in an adrenaline daze, feeling very, very alone.
I got up, quivering and waving my arms at the driver. I turned my back to her as she drove away, and I stepped shakily onto the median, preparing to cross the second portion of the street.
I shook and I cried. I told myself I’m alive… I’m okay… I’m safe… I’m alive…. I’m okay…. and I did what I always do to clear my head: I walked. One foot in front of the other, I walked around downtown Chicago, crying the entire time, debating whether I was going to be able to hold it together to speak on this webinar, and asking the Universe for help.
Without paying attention to my route, I found myself standing in front of the doors of a bookstore I like. I stepped inside the bookstore, teary-eyed and surprised to be alive.
The very first thing greeting me in the store was a turquoise shelf full of peacock-themed merchandise. This shelf cradled several varieties of journals with peacock images, gift bags with peacocks on them, books about peacocks, peacock gift card holders, all arranged perfectly by the door as if it was waiting for me to find it.
Peacocks are an animal that follow me around. I accidentally come across real peacocks on my travels, in art galleries and on retreats, and I find likenesses of them in notepads and journals and signs wherever I go. I have started posting on social media every time I find images of peacocks because they are my metaphysical signal for guidance, expression, and protection.
And there I was, standing in this bookstore minutes after dodging a serious accident, staring dumbfounded at a display that was entirely devoted to peacock-themed merchandise. I had never seen so many items with peacocks on them in my life. I’m alive…I’m okay… I’m safe…
I wanted to kneel in front of this peacock-themed shelf. I wanted to bow and pray and cry and laugh and wonder about what I am really living for.
Find holiness wherever you can. Let Spirit speak to you in your most fragile and unclear moments. Your synchronicities are real, your guidance is real, and Life is churning behind the scenes working on your behalf.
See the peacocks, see the signs, and say Thank You to this loud and juicy life you have been given. These lives that we don’t quite understand, these moments that will terrify us to our core and re-center our priorities.
I grabbed the most sparkly peacock journal and held it tightly to my chest. Loud and clear, ThankYouThankYouThankYou until the end of our days.
Love and Life and Strutting Blue Feathers,
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