There’s something you should know about me: I’m a pretty rational person, and I don’t get into religion all that much. I’m also highly reflective (and I have a thing for alliteration). On a scale of 1-10, I’d say my self-awareness score is a solid nine. So, when I tell you that I had a profound experience that involves Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and New York Times Best Selling Author, Michael (Mickey) Singer, please know that I’m sharing a story that had a significant impact on how I view the daily events that unfold in our lives.
Like most of you, there are only a few days that stand out in my mind as “life changing.” Days that make you say, “This is exactly where I’m supposed to be.” The day my daughter was born and my wedding day (not necessarily in that order) top the list. There are others, but I think we can all agree that these are two “biggies!” Another day of significance for me wasn’t actually one particular day at all, but rather a series of days and events that unfolded over the course of several months.
It began on a typical Saturday in 2014. No, I wasn’t watching a Florida Gator football game – although that would be considered typical for most people in this part of the country. My typical Saturday usually involves putting away laundry while binge watching a few of my favorite TV shows. This particular weekend I had a taste for something a little deeper than my usual dramedy programs, so I decided to watch Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday series. If you’ve never seen it, all you need to know is it’s a place where spiritual thought leaders, mindfulness experts and other higher-frequency individuals come to chat with the mighty “O.”
While my outlook on spirituality and religion have evolved somewhat over the years, my view on Oprah as one of the best places to turn when I need an introspective boost to my day, hasn’t wavered. So, off I go. With one episode down and countless more to go, I was settling into my soulful Saturday.
I eventually came across an interview with Michael Singer. I did not know his name before that day, but I instantly had a deep appreciation for how clearly and simply he was able to articulate a solution for reducing some of the stress that had been building inside me for years. His practical wisdom and sage advice resonated deeply. He was basically speaking about the practice of Mindfulness, although I’m not even sure that phrase was even mentioned in the interview.
Within 24 hours, I was purchasing his book, The Untethered Soul, from Amazon. I took it slow – reading one or two chapters a week so I could put my newfound knowledge into practice. As I approached the last few chapters, I put the book down and didn’t pick it back up for several months. I was getting so much out of it, and wanted to savor those final pages. I finally finished, and proceeded to tell everyone I knew what an amazing book it was and the profound effect it had on me.
Over the next year, I would take what Mickey Singer taught me to reduce stress and become far less serious about the issues that once plagued me. Eventually, I was ready for another dose of his wisdom, so I googled “Michael Singer” and found a simple, straightforward website that was being used to promote his books. As I clicked to learn “What’s New,” I was amazed to see that he had recently keynoted the first University of Florida Mindfulness Day here in Gainesville. What a coincidence! This author/teacher who I had been so drawn to, was giving a talk minutes from my house on the UF campus.
I continued to click around on the website to see what else I might learn, but there wasn’t much information. I was curious about the publisher of Mr. Singer’s books – perhaps because of my own background in media and publishing – so I clicked on a link to Shanti Publications and saw that it’s office was located less than two miles from my house. OK, now my head is spinning. How is this even possible? Before today, I had no idea that this man even had a connection to Florida, let alone that his book publisher was in spitting distance of my home!
I promptly purchased his second book, The Surrender Experiment. I was craving another dose of that Mickey Singer special sauce that took me to my happy place, and wasn’t sure that the autobiographical nature of this book could deliver; I decided to roll with it and give book number two a try. After all, if there’s one thing this man had taught me, it’s that sometimes you have to lean back and get out of life’s way.
As I dive into the first few chapters, you can imagine my continued surprise as I learn that the entire book takes place in Alachua County – yes, the very same county I have called home for nearly the last decade. Not only that, but the author still resides here and is the proprietor of a spiritual community called Temple of the Universe, where he offers his mindful insights to attendees of the “church” on a weekly basis.
Wha-wha-WHAT?! Mind. Blown.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t make a habit of becoming enamored with teachings of spiritual thought leaders that I learn about on Oprah. And even if I did, the odds that this person would live 15 minutes from my home in N. Central Florida, and that they would give talks a few times a week to small groups of locals …. let’s just say this definitely fell into the “biggie” category as far as profound moments were concerned. I was convinced more than ever that I should be listening to what this man had to say. So, my husband Daryl and I attended a Thursday night session.
I was familiar with most of what he discussed that night as it mirrored what he discussed in his books, but it was still a positively powerful experience. In that moment, as I looked around the room, I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Not particularly because we “fit in.” I wasn’t screaming, “I found my people,” inside my head or anything crazy like that. I felt that I was where I was supposed to be because of the naturally unfolding path that led me there. I felt passionately about something, which led to genuine curiosity, which led to embracing new experiences and ultimately to Daryl and I sitting crisscross applesauce on the temple floor.
Have you had a similar experience, or set of circumstances that make you say, “this is exactly where I’m supposed to be?” Tell us in the comments below. You can hear more about the Mickey Singer Story on episode four of our podcast, Never Said We Were Perfect.