Today was an amazing day. I transferred my new car into my name today, changed the license plates, trained some dogs, caught up with an old friend, and got some gardening done. Now I’m basking in the gorgeous sunset in beautiful Madera, CA. It’s peaceful, with a nearly-full moon rising in the eastern sky, and a big orange sun just barely touching down in the west.
My thoughts turn to my trip to Chicago to attend the Internet Prophets Live conference in April. The event was electric and enthusiasm was high. Not only did we have three days of exposure to some of the greatest marketing, inventive, and spiritual minds in the world, but a special hand-picked group, the Circle of 10, was looking forward to several days of live coaching with our mentor, Steve Olsher (America’s Reinvention Expert and founder of the IPL conference). If my life were a countdown, that event would have been the blast off. It proved to be life-changing for me.
I had come to this event with the intention of making a hard decision about the course my life would take from that moment forward, and indeed had come to a resolution over the course of the conference. I had selected Feeling Good Today as my brand and reason for living. I wanted to use my experience as a depressive and my expertise as a writer, public speaker, and performer to help those whom I was born to serve.
On Saturday night, feeling satisfied as the conference was dying down and celebrating our “aha” moments, a friend and I went to the in-house bar and had a few cold drinks to refresh and relax. The conversation turned to brain physiology, new Internet technologies, world travel, and adventure. When I went to pick up my bag, it was gone.
I didn’t really panic, even though it contained my laptop, all my credit cards, and my driver’s license. I figured that I had probably just misplaced it or some over-zealous security worker had removed it suspecting it was a bomb or something. But after checking around with bar personnel and security, I realized that it had been stolen. Finding that the thief had displaced and left my cheap go-phone in order to scoop up my laptop bag and my warm jacket added insult to injury as I prepared to face the cold Chicago night in shirt sleeves.
The next few days were a whirlwind of calls to the police, interviews with security, cancelling credit cards, and continuously discovering one more thing that had to be replaced. I was sickened when I realized that I wasn’t even sure I would be able to fly home to California without ID.
I also experienced some outstanding kindnesses. One lady ran right out to the ATM and came back with a $100 loan for me! I wasn’t staying at the hotel where the event was held, but the staff got me some items like a hairbrush and other things that I needed. The hotel security man even found a jacket for me!
One of the strangest acts of kindness came from another lady that I had met at the conference. She approached me, put her hand on my shoulder, and said, “You can still get your stuff back.” I couldn’t see how, since the perpetrator had obviously left the building long before I discovered the loss. But I recognized that there was something about the way she said it and her level of certainty. She predicted that I would get everything back within two days. The old me would have blown it off, but there were two factors that allowed me to hold out hope.
First, I had truly committed to living the next chapter of my life in a positive state of mind. That was the primary purpose of the trip, and I made my decision. Secondly, there was something compelling about the certainty of her voice that rang true.
Two and a half days later, during the Circle of 10 coaching, I received a phone call from an unidentified number. There was something inside me saying, “You have to get this call,” so I jumped up and left the classroom to answer.
A man identified himself on the phone and said, “I’m so glad I reached you! I just found a bag on the side of the road in Cicero with your stuff in it, even your plane tickets. I finally found your number. Just two months ago, I had everything of mine stolen – credit cards, ID, everything! I have to help you get this bag back.”
The man knew someone that worked in downtown Chicago who was able to drop off the bag.
When the bag came back to me, here’s what was inside: my laptop, all the credit cards, all the cash, the ID, the car keys, my passport, social security card, and original birth certificate! I didn’t even realize that I had stuck my passport in that bag months before I had packed it for the trip, or that the passport had the other papers tucked inside. Honestly, it looked exactly the way it did when I lost it. Nothing had been taken. The computer had not been hacked.
Miracles really do happen. The Chicago police officer who was investigating the case was clearly astonished. I continually wonder how everything was orchestrated so beautifully as to produce this outcome.
I never met the man who found the bag or his friend, who delivered it to the hotel. I had a card and a small reward to give them, but missed the delivery of the bag by a short time. I will never forget them, and still appreciate so very much what they did for me.
I am still amazed at the lady who assured me that it was possible to get my stuff back, the other woman who went to the ATM as soon as she heard what happened, and my other friends in the Circle of 10 who donated and bolstered me with love the whole time I was in limbo. Even the airport personnel were prepared to help me get through security despite the loss of my ID.
They say that God – or the Universe – works in mysterious ways. I truly believe that the outcome could have been very different, and would have been if I were still clinically depressed and expecting the worst. Since I cleared up my depression, holding the thought that good things can actually happen (even if I had just done the dumbest thing in the world) has really worked magic in my life. I can’t prove to others that there is a relationship between staying positive and experiencing positive outcomes in life, but I’ve proved it to myself.
I bet people have even more amazing stories to tell. As for me, as I watch the horizon flood with a brilliant orange color and the sun disappear, I can honestly say that this is one of the most amazing – and uplifting – things that has happened in my life.