Journal entry: November 17, 2006 (age 37)
“Sedona likes you.” That’s how our new friend, Liz Love, explained the streak of good luck my wife, Amanda, and I have enjoyed since arriving in Arizona for a vacation. She went on to explain that the Sedona area is full of “vortexes” – places where the boundaries thin between our physical world and a deeper, metaphysical plane. As she put it: “I’ve seen Sedona turn on people, and give them nothing but flat tires and lost wallets. But I could tell that Sedona liked you when you walked in here with big smiles and a friendly hello!”
We struck up this conversation today, at the art gallery where Liz is moonlighting. Her budding career as an R&B vocalist is heating up, and the gallery provides a peaceful respite between auditions, tour dates and recording sessions. Her warm personality seemed to embody the heightened spirituality of Sedona. As if aware that she was acting on Sedona’s behalf, she sent us off with big hugs and a free, matted print from the gallery.
That was only the latest in a series of random acts of kindness that have come our way on this trip. At an outdoor café earlier today, the man at the table next to us paid our check for us on his way out. When we picked up our rental car, the woman at the counter gave us a free upgrade to a beautiful PT Cruiser. When my camera died moments before a spectacular sunrise over the Grand Canyon, a stranger offered me his spare camera battery.
Indeed, the trip itself was a kind gift from strangers. We were given a free place to stay in Phoenix by Tom and Julie Eklund. Tom’s sister, Julie, paid for our round-trip airfare. Julie’s daughter, Joy, even gave us a ride to the airport. They had done all this so that we could join them for a fundraiser in honor of my late brother, Jim. Tom is the Executive Director of a charity called Orphanage Outreach, and Jim was a frequent volunteer and founding board member for the organization. Amanda and I felt like beneficiaries of some of the good karma that Jim and the Eklunds had sent out into the world.
That good karma seemed to follow us as we traveled around Arizona. We kept meeting people who had found happiness by doing exactly what they were meant to be doing. At the Grand Canyon, we had dinner with a fascinating and entertaining Brit named Chris Farrell. Chris had left a successful career as a London radio and TV personality to move to Los Angeles and become a screenwriter. Also at the Grand Canyon, we watched as the woman driving our shuttle bus waved to her husband, who was driving another shuttle bus in the opposite direction. She explained that they had each found their ideal second career.
We invited many of these new friends to come stay with us in Binghamton sometime. We have our own great scenery there (if on a smaller scale), and plenty of people that share that same kind of self-actualized spirit. Now all I have to do is find a local vortex. I think I felt funny on Bunn Hill Road one time, so I’ll start looking there.