I recently took a spiritual trek to OMEGA, a retreat center for holistic studies nestled in the rolling hills of the Hudson River Valley that encourages disconnecting from the outside world and reconnecting with the beauty of the spirit within. If you've ever been to this idyllic place you'll notice the campus is surrounded by miles of farms and corn fields, quaint one-street small towns, and as I quickly discovered a cellular dead zone where the Maps App on your phone simply does not work. It is the Bermuda Triangle for finding any sort of internet connection on your phone.
I made this discovery leaving the safety of this bucolic compound at 10pm on the first night of my workshop headed to find the bed and breakfast I was staying at just 20 minutes away. Surrounded by darkness and the occasional street light, I drove by miles of farmland hoping to run into a town where I would have cell reception and could load Google Maps to get safely home. After what seemed like an eternity, rambling deeper and deeper into "The Nothing," I started to wonder if I would every find my way home, or a bathroom again.
Now you might think, if you're medium and you're so connected, why can't you just ask your guides to get you home. Well, call it my guides or my internal guidance, but I heard plenty of times, "Turn around. You need to go back." But still I persisted thinking, "No. There must be a town just a little further down the road where I can get cell reception." As the minutes turned into hours, and with a very full bladder I might add, a voice inside my head started to scream, "It's time to call 911. You are so completely lost at this point you may never find your way home." Was this a guide or my fear beginning to set in, who knows?
I pulled off onto the side of the road, and began to think. "I could sleep in my car, wait for daybreak and try to find my way home in the morning. But, sadly, without GPS there is no way I will ever find my way at this point." So I did the only thing I could. I listened to the screaming voice in my head saying, "Call 911!" I swallowed my pride and made my emergency plea for help. "Yes, operator, I'm lost. Can you please help me find my way home?"
"Where are you going?"
"I'm headed to a bed and breakfast in Rhinebeck."
"Well yes, I can see you're very, very lost."
The dispatcher then spouted off at least 10 turns that he said would get me back to Rhinebeck. My head was spinning as I choked back tears, and I thought to myself, "Dear God, I can't even see 10 feet in front of my car. How am I going to find these signs in the dark?"
The dispatcher than assured me that he would be there all night and I could call him as often as I needed.
"Great." I mumbled to myself. "I may need a personal escort if I'm ever going to make it home."
I then cursed my cellular GPS and prayed, when suddenly the light inside my car began to sparkle and in the side pocket of the passenger-side-door I spotted what looked like a miracle. Yes, it was the 1999 model of my old-school Garmin. I thought to myself, "Dear God, could it be?" As I reached frantically across the seat I said, "Please God, let there be a charger to make this thing work."
I heard a choir of Angels rejoice. I found the charger and after much anticipation the Garmin turned on, the map loaded, and directions to my bed and breakfast appeared on the screen. It was a miracle. I breathed a sigh of relief. I would survive this night and learn a very important lesson, never leave home without a paper map and an old-school Garmin.
The next morning I woke, exhausted from my night in the wilderness. I overheard the innkeeper talking to the other couple staying at the bed and breakfast, "Did you find your way home OK last night?" To which the other couple responded, "Yes. It was awfully dark but we made it."
"Oh good," said the innkeeper. "I didn't want to tell Lori and scare her since she was traveling alone, I've had people get totally lost leaving OMEGA and end up in Poughkeepsie."
I chuckled to myself and thought, "Well, that would have been helpful information to know."
I have since reflected on my trip, wondering why did this happen? Even in the dark of that fateful car ride I now realize I was never alone. My spiritual GPS tried to help me several times, telling me to turn around, to go back. And even though I persisted on, finding myself even more lost than before, when I finally made my 911 call to the Universe, God responded by sending me the help of a patient dispatcher and a Garmin I forgot I had.
Although I can't say I'll be returning to the Hudson Valley anytime soon, I can say I am incredibly humbled by the unseen forces at work in our lives. I was in awe that night when I realized I had the power to get home all along, I just had to shift my perspective to see it.