The plan went like this: complete pre-publishing prep at a high-vibe, low-distraction area with a blooming spring, and finally get Love Without Traffic (the novel) into the world. As has been the case each and every time I’ve tried a plan of that nature, it failed spectacularly. At least this time, the list of unexpected distractions did not include any future ex-husbands.
They did include a loud construction project next door that sent me running for the hills. Literally. I packed up my frustration, filled some empty Kumbucha bottles with water and went on what turned out to be a miraculous hiking adventure.
I did some EFT (tapping) while driving, a tool I’d recently reconnected with while guiding a coaching client to higher self-worth with it. Within minutes, I felt calmer and remembered how often construction, despite its violating noise, has often served as a great guide. It has led to necessary life changes, special friendships and even a magical experience or two. I decided this experience was going to be one of those.
First, I needed to surrender the idea of publishing Love Without Traffic on Mother’s Day. Honoring my mom that way had been a special idea; trying to make that day suck less with something to look forward to had not been. What I clearly needed to do was hike, Wild-style, let my heart experience the core of the grief I’d been trying to outrun since August, and find new ways to connect with my mom.
Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild) wasn’t kidding. Hiking may have started as a construction coping mech and escape, but those mountains and waterfalls taught and healed me so much. They also led straight to that new connection with my mom that I’d been craving.
I’d experienced some amazing signs since her passing…but nothing like the almost unbelievable ones that began when I surrendered my self-imposed publishing deadline that day!
I ended up on what I thought was the wrong trail until learning that very day there is no such thing. At an overlook, a woman approached and offered to take my photo. I wasn’t in a social mood so I offered to take hers and began to move on when she also declined. A few steps later, I felt as if a force was pushing me back.
Okay. I’ll receive that photo.
I learned that just like me, this woman had meant to hike Craggy Pinnacle and accidentally ended up where we stood. A few hours of hiking with my new friend and a long soul-nourishing conversation later, I decided to check out my original destination.
After a few moments of that, one of their phones began to play a Carpenters song from the 70s. It only took me three notes, since I was a Name That Tune master back in the day. It took the guy whose phone it was a little longer.
“What the?…” the guy asked, staring at the device.
“Can you make that happen again?” I asked.
“Probably not,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t know how it happened the first time!”
“That’s not your ringtone?”
“I’ve never even heard it.”
I don’t like to make assumptions based on appearances, but this guy was not someone I expected to tear up when I told him my mom, who passed on in August, has been sending my sister and I song signs – primarily from the Carpenters.
Even though I’m a big believer in signs and magic, the logical part of my brain still sometimes searches for explanations – usually for other people, who may not be as open.
“Do you have a voice activation thing on there?” I asked. “Maybe you said the song title.”
That would have made since we were, indeed, on “Top Of The World.”
He and his friend looked at one another and laughed. Neither of them had said a word since arriving on the summit.
The song was still inexplicably on his music app, so he played it while I filmed, and then the three of us got into a conversation about our travels.
“Where are you heading next?” Chris, the owner of the Carpenters-possessed phone, asked.
“Pawleys Island,” I revealed.
“Stop!” he exclaimed, with a look of utter shock on his face.
Not only had he heard of it, which would have been surprising enough since I hadn’t until a few days prior, but he’d also vacationed there throughout childhood. It had been the favorite destination for his own mother, who had passed on a few years ago. The very last spot she’d enjoyed her last vacation.
He teared up again, and told me I’d made his day.
Although no stranger to magic, I was in awe of that experience, even before learning he and his friend had also ended up at the wrong trail that morning, and arrived at Craggy when they did as a result – just like me.
A few weeks later, I shared my Asheville adventure stories with friends at a Floridian beach, as a live band began to perform at a restaurant across the street.
A cloud shaped like a heart formed in the sky as I heard them play a very unlikely cover song for that scenario. Once again, I could name that song in three notes.
That exact same song!
Thank you, Mom. And thank you, construction, for once again sending me where I was meant to be! I will publish Love Without Traffic this summer. Follow the journey on Facebook or Instagram.