February 27, 2019Note: Paths that cross will cross again...I think Patti Smith said that in an awesome song. Anyhow, this week's story about Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Mikann Thompson's visit prompted me to dig out this column. Kindred spirits, I am so not surprised that our paths are crossing again. This column dates back to 2009, and details how Mikann and I met...
"OBJECTIVE: To explore the secrets of becoming a wildly disciplined, fiercely tender, ironically sincere, scrupulously curious, aggressively sensitive, blasphemously reverent, lyrically logical, lustfully compassionate Master of Rowdy Bliss.
DEFINITION: 'Pronoia' is the antidote for paranoia. It's the understanding that the universe is fundamentally friendly. It's a mode of training your senses and intellect so you're able to perceive the fact that life always gives you exactly what you need exactly when you need it..."
—Rob Brezny, author
I walk into the restaurant ready to enjoy a meal and a glass of wine.
Before I even have a chance to put in my usual request for a corner booth in the bar the dark eyed hostess exclaims "Is that 'The Sun?'"
She's not referring to the big yellow orb in the sky, she's referring to the magazine I have folded under my arm. It's a monthly that I always highly anticipate. It's one of those things—I don't know how I got on the mailing list or why I ended up taking a chance on it—but now cannot survive without it.
It's one of those magazines that begs for the stories, essays and poetry to be photocopied and passed out. One of those magazines that you want to share with those who you JUST KNOW will love it as much as you do so you give them a gift subscription and they, too, get hooked.
Until running into the sparkly eyed restaurant hostess I knew no one in the area who ever heard of 'The Sun.'
"My sister sends me her old issues and I can't wait to get to them," the hostess—whose name I later learn is Mikann and whose job I find out is manager—says.
I am happy we crossed paths.
After the initial 'Sun' encounter, I run into her again at Isola's Bistro where she's playing cello with a singer/guitarist. We talk some more and it's interesting and fun. Could the universe be conspiring? Things start to add up...
"HYPOTHESES: Evil is boring. Cynicism is idiotic. Fear is a bad habit. Despair is lazy. Joy is fascinating. Love is an act of heroic genius. Pleasure is our birthright. Receptivity is a superpower..."
Mikann stops in my office on my birthday. By now I know that along with being a 'Sun' reader/restaurant manager, she and her husband are creating a sustainable farm in Brown City. She's a twin. She's a mom. She's a former teacher. She makes Native American flutes and likes to laugh.
Mikann's carrying a plant and some cards. I am surprised and happy—receptive to her unexpected visit and grateful for the pleasure it brings. Later I learn that the plant and cards aren't from her—she's the messenger. Pronoia? I'm beginning to think so...
"PROCEDURE: Act as if the universe is a prodigious miracle created for your amusement and illumination. Assume that secret helpers are working behind the scenes to assist you in turning into the gorgeous masterpiece that you were born to be. Join the conspiracy to shower all of creation with blessings..."
I open the card and am once again filled with surprised pleasure. The shock feels like a tickle, a punchline, a woozy grinning stupor. The sender is yet another Pronoiac who was put into my path to remind me of these things. A wise class clown, a supremely confident humble person, a...
"TOP-SECRET ALLIES: Benevolent pranksters, apathy debunkers, lyrical logicians, ethical outlaws, aspiring masters of curiosity, homeless millionaires, humble megalomaniacs, lunatic saints, slyoptimists, mystical scientists, dissident bodhisattvas..."
I think there's something to this Pronoia thing. I first read about it when 'The Sun' printed an excerpt from Brezney's book months ago. At the time I think I'm going to buy the book, but soon I forget about it.
I have lazed into the slumber of the cult of doom and gloom. I am not feeling very well. I am wounded, wallowing, weary. I stop in the restaurant and there's Mikann. For some reason, she brings up Brezney's book excerpt in 'The Sun.' Two days later, she gives me her copy of the book. I am using it right now...
"DAILY PRACTICE: Push harder to get better, become smarter, grow your devotion to the truth, fuel your commitment to beauty, refine your emotional intelligence, hone your dreams, negotiate with your shadow, cure your ignorance, shed your pettiness, heighten your drive to look for the best in people, and soften your heart—even as you always accept yourself for exactly who you are with all of your so-called imperfections..."
I'm not much for conspiracy theories, but I have to admit Pronoia is real. The universe is conspiring to give me exactly what I need when I need it most.
Email Catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.