Tuesday, August 3, 2010

meeting a new friend

I met a woman under very curious circumstances at a UFO conference in 2006. When I first saw her, I was immediately struck by the way she held herself. She was handsome and confident, and a very hip dresser.

At another point during the conference, I ended up siting at the bar with a crowd of people, including Linda Moulton Howe. We were all trading stories, and it was a really pleasant time. I told the story about seeing a young woman on a subway in New York city in 1984. (this very curious story is linked HERE). The punch-line of this memory was involved seeing that young woman again, and the second event was exceedingly synchronistic. Linda asked me if I had ever seen her again.

I thought for a moment, and then said, “I think she is here, at this conference.”

I explained about seeing the handsome woman earlier in the day, and how if I added about 22 years, she would very closely match the girl from the subway. Everybody at the table told me that I simply MUST talk to her. So the next day I walked up to a complete stranger and started a conversation by asking if she had gotten on the uptown E-train at West 4th Street during the summer of 1984. She laughed and said no.

We had a pleasant conversation, but she was extremely guarded. Typical of me, I spoke a lot, but she wouldn’t tell me anything about herself.

Years later we met her again, at another conference. It was at a point where I was having a hard time trying to make sense of my own conflicted experiences. We sat outside, away from the crowd, and I tried to explain my dilemma. I was meeting people at the conference, many with stories that I found outrageous and unbelievable. I recognized my own harsh judgments, and at the same time my memories were equally unbelievable.

She calmly spoke to me, and what she said has become a sort of mission statement for me. She said that these people all have personal experiences that are just stories and nothing more. They might be outrageous or simple, and I should be very cautious about these feelings of judgment, because I simply can’t know if they are true or not. All I can do is listen, and know that these individuals are all on their own journey. If I close the door on something just because it challenges me, I might be missing a very important clue, maybe even to my own story.

She was calm as she spoke, but she was also stern in a way that forced me to look at myself, and my own prejudices.


Natalie said...

'If I close the door on something just because it challenges me, I might be missing a very important clue, maybe even to my own story.'

That is a brilliant insight.

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Good story, Mike. A postscript to the subway girl. Do you think it was her?

Traci A said...

I have noticed with myself that my beliefs are totally believeable, yet I draw the line with other peoples stories sometimes. For example, I believe in past lives, ghosts/spirits, UFO's, Aliens, and possibly bigfoot (I'm 50/50 on that one)....but when someone mentions pixies, fairies, trolls, and the like, I just want to roll my eyes! I've become very aware of the way I draw the line on someone else's beliefs. I'm not sure what to do about it and it bothers me that I can believe in these outrageous things, but yet I feel like I discriminate on others' experiences. Keep us posted on how you become more tolerant of others belief systems.....maybe we can all learn something positive from it! Thanks for sharing....Traci

Mike Clelland! said...

My friend was never in New York during the summers of 83 & 84. The girl I saw on the subway had very short hair, and my new friend had long hair during those years.

But, she is the only person who I ever confronted and asked - and the only person who it ever even occurred to me to ask. And out of that asking, I received a very sound bit of advice that I've tried to live by.