What to Do in a Rut

Sometimes, racing toward the intersection, as the lights are changing from green to yellow, and I’m faced with the split second choice of whether to slow down or speed up, I consider how these micro decisions shape our entire destinies as human beings.

How many of them do we encounter in a day without even noticing?

On a soggy morning in April, years ago now, I walked from my lawyer’s office across the parking lot to my station wagon, without an umbrella, clutching an oversized envelope which contained my official, signed divorce paperwork.

Little drops of rain spit down on the envelope from the heavens, leaving dark marks in a confettied pattern.

I sat in the car breathing heavily. I closed the door and I dropped my head in a gesture that felt like bowing to my opponent. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t even relieved. I was just quietly reverent. My ex and I had been sword fighting through many lifetimes, I’m sure of it. And for now, in this incarnation, the battle had come to a close.

The circumstances around how my ex-husband and I crossed paths in the first place have always felt too impossibly fragile to be anything less than divinely orchestrated.

I was interviewing for a new job during the lunch break of my current job, trying to line up a shot in secret so that when the time came to jump ship, I would have a safe place to land.

When my taxi completed the 24 block journey from my office on the Upper East Side to Midtown Manhattan and pulled up to the building where I was slated to have my interview, I reached into my bag for my wallet and realized I’d left it back at my office.

I had absolutely no way to pay for the ride.

I felt like sobbing. I told the driver to go back to my office. This would mean using up my entire lunch break driving back and forth and it would mean taking myself out of the running for the position.

The taxi driver looked at me through the rearview mirror. I could only see his eyes. I’ve never forgotten his eyes in that mirror.

“Just go,” he said. “It’s ok.”

‘You don’t understand - I don’t have any money. I left my wallet - “

“Just go,” he said.

I got the job and a few weeks into it, I met someone who would become a lifelong friend. We met because he was playing an obscure, late 80’s emo song through the speakers of his office computer as I was walking down the hall. I stopped short and popped my head through his doorway.

“Hey! How do you know this song?” I asked him.

He told me it was a mix from a friend of his. They’d gone to high school together, known each other for ages, through all kinds of crazy ups and downs. “You’d really like him actually,” my new friend said. “I should introduce you.”

That’s how I came to meet the person who would become my husband, my business partner, the father of my children and the toughest, most brutal, most profound teacher of my life.

Were we always going to meet? One way or another? Even if that taxi driver hadn't extended a life-altering kindness to me that day?

Do the fates keep alternate game plans on hand for all of us, like a choose-your-own-adventure story with many possible endings?

Do all rivers lead to the same sea?

Or is it possible to miss the turn, take the wrong road, miss out on the most important soul contracts we’re meant to experience in this life?

I’ve noticed, when I’m in a rut, that it’s usually because I’ve lost touch with the preciousness of life. I’m glossing over. I’m taking for granted. I need to bring myself back into the minutiae. The heart exploding delicacy of every single moment.

We can never know how different our lives might turn out because we lingered a few extra seconds to hold the door for a stranger or compliment the person at the cash register on their smile or slow down to let the other driver come into our lane.

This is timing. These are points of influence. Our paths are shaped in these moments, by these moments.

We are atoms bumping up against each other. The macro is also the micro. When I tune into how fragile life is, it’s impossible not to feel a swell of appreciation. And also awe.

I want to live in that state of awe and appreciation. I want to live inside of moments, not days. I want to feel a deep kinship with the details. Because that’s where the magic happens.

Till next time friends,