For many who start to awaken and begin a quest for spiritual growth and development it takes an event or culmination of circumstances for the person to seek an alternative way of being. For me this happened back in the winter of 2007 when my business was on the brink of bankruptcy and I was close to personal collapse. I felt enveloped by despair and hopelessness.
At the time I remember reaching out to Jesus one day on a drive home simply saying, “Jesus, if you are really there, I could use some help.” I was surprised to feel a wave of peace! Over the next few days I found renewed interest in reading inspirational material, something I hadn’t done for years.
On the top shelf of my clothes closet, purchased years earlier at a business conference, I found a series of dust covered CD’s entitled “Self Esteem & Peak Performance” by Jack Canfield, (The “Chicken Soup for the Soul” guy.) I began to listen during my commutes to and from work and was riveted to Jack and how what he said felt. It helped me to feel hopeful!
I listened to that series over and over for months as Jack talked about the power of our minds and how visualizing, affirming and expecting “what we want” is powerful and would lead to experiencing it. I began to do what I could to implement this into my life while frankly not fully trusting it.
Then at the end of July in 2007 a fellow pilot I had flown with professionally called and asked if I would fly to “AirVenture” in Oshkosh, Wisconsin that coming Tuesday with him and a few friends. (AirVenture is the world’s largest general aviation trade and airshow.)
Initially I said, “No” as I felt like I was needed at our shop and it would be irresponsible for me to leave in the middle of the work week. But after I hung up the phone it dawned on me that I was trying to do things differently. Here was an opportunity to prove it!
Even though I felt the discomfort, I called my friend back and accepted his invitation. I even found myself wondering if I might find a deal on an aviation watch I had admired for years even though I knew I couldn’t afford it. I wasn’t taking a salary at the time.
That Tuesday dawned “severe clear.” It was a beautiful day to fly. Besides a fouled spark plug in his friend’s Piper Saratoga that delayed our departure a short time, we had an uneventful flight.
My buddy acted as the pilot-in-command while I performed co-pilot duties; reading checklists, communicating and copying clearances. Being in an airplane was always enjoyable and this alone was a welcome treat.
After landing we made the ground commute from the airport to AirVenture. We agreed that we would separate; each of us wanting to see something different. My buddy had an affinity for “warbirds” and I was interested in new technology in the trade show buildings and I also wanted to visit the seaplane base, something I had never done at this show since receiving my seaplane rating years earlier.
I wandered the trade show buildings finding the new technology and inventive ideas captivating. When I was about finished I rounded a corner and came upon a jeweler. For fun I asked if he had a “Citizen Blue Angel Eco Drive” aviation watch, the one I had admired for so long. Of course I had no intention of buying it. He reached under the counter and brought out the very watch.
“Here you go. It’s a show special, 25% off!” he said. He took the watch out of the fancy packaging and gave it to me. He encouraged me to try it on. Hesitantly I put the watch on while admiring it.
It had fifteen time zones, an “E6B” flight computer, aviation chronograph and a bunch of other functions. It was so cool! The jeweler asked to check the fit and described how he would fit the band for me.
I reluctantly took the watch off and gave it back to him explaining I just couldn’t buy it today. But I asked, “How many do you have?” thinking I might be able to take advantage of the deal later. He said, “Two, hurry back if you want one, they’ll go quickly!” I thanked him and said I would keep it in mind.
I left his booth as a mental storm erupted. My thoughts battled. This was a good deal. I had never seen these watches on sale. It was also an opportunity for me to step into a new way of being; to act as though I was abundant in spite of currently experiencing the opposite. It felt “right.”
Yet, I really couldn’t afford it. I really would be using money from another obligation to buy it. "But I’m trying to be different! Who do I want to be?!" The dialogue continued as I exited the building. The watch had become more than a watch; it was now a symbol for who I was declaring to be!
Having finished my exploration of the trade show buildings I decided to walk the approximate half mile to the bus for the seaplane base. As I walked my internal dialogue continued. On one hand I was disgusted with myself for not taking the opportunity to declare I was someone new by buying the watch. On the other hand I would congratulate myself for being practical, responsible and non-impulsive. Back and forth it went.
Finally I arrived at the bus stop for the seaplane base. There was a long line and I wondered if there would be room for me on this bus. I was the last in line. People continued to file into the bus. After about half were aboard a golf cart zoomed up by me and a guy jumped off asking, “Is this the bus to the seaplane base?” I said, “I think so, if not we’re both going to the wrong place.”
He thanked the cart driver and stood by me as we waited to board. Soon it was our turn and as we entered we found that incredibly there was one seat open and we sat together.
“My name is Rob,” he said. He explained he was an “aerial applicator” (we call them crop dusters in the United States) visiting from New Zealand. I introduced myself and shared a little of my background as a previous corporate pilot, and now a business owner flying a small airplane to visit prospective customers to help grow our business.
After our introductions we sat for a moment as we bounced down the dusty road. I was looking out the window back in thought about the watch. As I looked out the window I heard Rob say, “You know, your mind is a powerful thing?!” I looked back at him not believing what he just had said.
He read the look on my face as he continued, “I was diagnosed with terminal cancer six years ago and given two years to live.” He continued with his story of how he had “healed himself.” I looked around the bus wondering if this conversation were really happening.
Yet I noticed I had a familiar feeling, similar to when I would listen to Jack on the CD’s, yet one hundred times more powerful. I was shaking with what I can best describe as excitement and well-being; a very physical sensation.
The bus came to a stop at the seaplane base just as Rob finished his story. As we were exiting the bus he reached into his pocket and gave me a business card. I quickly found the card I kept in my wallet for such an occasion and gave it to him. I thanked him for sharing his story as we shook hands.
We walked a short way together to the water / seaplane base and just before we parted ways I asked, “Hey Rob, have you ever heard of Jack Canfield?” “Yeah, I’ve read all his books!” Rob said.
As he walked away I stood a few moments looking at the seaplanes in the water. I felt dumbfounded, still feeling that high energy good feeling “shakiness.” Then it dawned on me. This was the exact “push” I needed!
While I wanted to look at the seaplanes I felt compelled to return as fast as I could to the jeweler to buy that watch! I quickly snapped a picture of the Piper J3 Cubs in the water and started jogging back to the bus stop hoping to catch it before it departed back to the main show. I had just missed it!
I waited the eternity, ten minutes, for the next bus to arrive. Finally everyone exited and I was able to board. There were only a few of us returning and finally we were on our return trip.
We arrived back to the main show stop and I bounded off the bus and ran the half mile back to the trade show buildings. I found the jeweler and breathlessly asked if he still had the watch.
"I have one left!" he said. He pulled the watch from under the counter and I felt jubilant as I said, "I'll take it!" giving him my credit card to purchase it. (I just hoped there was enough credit on the card that it would go through; like I needed to worry.) The card worked!
He fitted the band for me and I was the proud owner of a Citizen Blue Angel Eco Drive! More importantly, I had just declared who I was! “I am abundant! I trust in The Universe!” I was yelling internally. I felt ten feet tall!
I still reflect on this incredible experience in wonder of all the things that were lined up with breathtaking timing. I now know this was the work of my Spirit Team. They lined up the very people, places, events, signs and experiences that even I could not misinterpret!
This was the day I declared I would be someone new! It was pivotal in my early experience of spiritual growth and development. I remain so grateful to Jack, my friends old and new and my Spirit Team who I know now as my greatest support.