Who Is Really In Control?


cross country boston nike race 1987
I believe this picture was taken in the fall of 1987 or perhaps 1988. Seven young ladies at a cross-country race. Nike Boston was a sub-elite running club that you had to be invited to join. A stepping stone to national and international competition. I am on the bottom left, next to me Lori Johnson Summers, and Marti Shea. Of the four ladies in the back, I recognize only Tina Moloney Kimball who is right behind me. The coach is Norm Levine a Boston Track coaching legend. More time has passed since this picture was taken than our ages in the photo.

I am a believer of what I call universal direction.

We as humans, encased in a physical world, like to control things. Plan, measure, check in, revise, as we journey through life. As a distance runner, this planning and revising was a daily task. All the training and motivational speeches and proper diet and alcohol avoidance were fine, but they didn’t tell the story. It was the numbers, times in races, days necessary to recover, miles run in a week, races per season.

And the numbers never lie.

The more I try to control things the more frustrated I get. The most often piece of advice I receive from everyone in my life is to slow down. You can see as a runner why this may not make sense to me. Isn’t that the exact opposite of what is necessary to win a race? Perhaps… but as I reflect upon my language as a coach, I am often reminding my athletes that the best place to be fast in a race is at the finish line. That perhaps early on there is a time to back off the pace and run a more tactical race. You know, to slow down.

I came across this picture in a middle of the night scroll on my phone. I google my name sometimes to see what comes up. It isn’t always the same and often times I find something I have never seen before. Finding this gem has taken me on quite the memory journey. It also coincides with the time period of my life I am sharing in Season Six of A Thousand Tiny Steps the Podcast.

This is where the universe comes in.

I found this picture in the wee hours of Monday morning. I used it in my weekly email. I went to the original Facebook post upon which it appeared and read the comments. I saw names of people I had forgotten I ever knew. This is when I love social media.

Tuesday morning, the day my podcast is released and my email sent the universe began to say hello. All those little nuances and coincidences that make no sense and all the sense simultaneously. So here we go.

I had discussed alcohol consumption at length with my physical therapist on Monday. I then received a plea for moral support from a friend. I messaged her, she messaged me back, we chatted. Come to find out she is taking a break from alcohol. She is battling the fall out of a less than healthy relationship. In her effort to relocate she has rented an apartment in the same town I am a CrossFit coach. This is a former runner of mine. We haven’t seen each other in years.  Both the conversation about the negatives of alcohol and the connection with my former runner are exactly what I need right now.

Ok Universe, you have my attention.

Next, as I was driving home from coaching, I put on a podcast. I use my car time to do such things. I chose The Karen Kenney Show. I seldom choose the actual episode I just plug in the channel and see what comes up. It was a quick episode on time zones. How is this universal you ask? The premise of the episode is that yes, we measure a day in 24 hours as humans. One trip around the sun for good old planet earth. Depending on where you are on the planet dictates what time it is. This all fits right in with my desire to measure and control. But DST, DIVINE Standard Time is what we are really living in. Sure, the clock on the wall might say 2:00pm but that is simply a time tracker of sunrises and sunsets. DST is our spiritual barometer of progress and truly where we are in our journey. Things will happen as we are ready to receive them and as they present themselves.

Fine…. Okay fine universe, I get it… you’re talking to ME.

The next little universal nudge came moments after I arrived home. I had my good friend Taylor on my mind a lot yesterday. We live in separate towns and very different lives so we communicate primarily through texting and social media. We never lack for conversation. I made a mental note to text her when I got home. After said home arrival I picked up my phone to make said text and there is a message from Taylor. Not just a hello, rather a long interesting meaningful message.  Clearly Taylor and I were plugged into the same toaster at that moment.

Did you not hear me universe? I got you!!!

Apparently, the universe did not receive my memo because I had one more occurrence to experience. I was checking my email and came across a message from a trauma therapist I had connected with weeks ago. I am looking to expand my podcast listenership and began researching potential guests. Mindy Higgins Kessler caught my eye. Both of her last names resonated with me which was the original draw. She is a trauma therapist specializing in child abuse and related trauma recovery. I had all but forgotten we had connected when I received her message.

Buckle up, says the universe!

After a quick hello and a brief “I think, we are supposed to connect” she shares the following. Her mother’s name is Barb Higgins. (Okay…) Her daughters are names Gracie and Molly. (Uhm, okay…) and they were born in the same years as my Gracie and Molly. (WHAAATTTT!!!).


You don’t have to hit ME over the head fifty times, I got it! I am not sure what all of these messages mean but I do know that my connection to the other side is heightened right now and I should pay attention. You know, slow down, notice things, look, listen, feel, and breathe.

So, I will.

What does all of this have to do with the picture? Well, everything and nothing, I guess. Life to me is all about the connections. I love how I meet people that know people that I know. Showing up at a dinner and seeing someone from my BU days. Chatting with someone else and finding out they live next door to someone I know. All of the things I wrote about here. There is a reason this picture came up in my google search and I am preparing to ready myself to find out what it is.

It will arrive in Divine Standard Time.

And I will be ready!

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