Everything is here to help you.
Everything is here to help you.
And in one way or another, you always get what you need.
You always get what you need.
That’s the lesson I learn again and again on the road. The more I travel the more I recognize that everything that happens is here to help me in exactly the way that I need to be helped. You might even call me a pronoiac.
I learned this word “pronoia” a year and a half ago in my Yoga Teacher Training at Pavones Yoga Center. Since then I’ve yet to meet another person who knows its meaning. Though everyone seems to know pronoia’s twin shadow: paranoia.
Pronoia is a psychological condition considered to be the opposite of paranoia, though just as delusional. Rather than believing that the world is out to get you, in a state of pronoia you believe that the world is out to help you. You take everything that happens as a sign that life always works out in your favor. I suppose one man’s happiness is another man’s delusion.
On my never-ending journey across the world, I’ve found that pronoia can turn even a nauseating course into an absolute joy ride. Pronoia can paint a rainbow across any gray sky. Pronoia can turn heart broken into heart open. And pronoia has been my key to happiness living on the road. The other day was the perfect example.
I was sitting barefoot in a Thai restaurant in Puerto Escondido, the famous surf town on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Oaxaca. I had just watched a gorgeous sunset, I was surrounded by shirtless surfers, and I was eating fish curry from a wooden swing in a restaurant with a sand floor.
On the outside my life was perfect.
On the inside, I was filled with anxiety.
In two hours I was leaving on the night bus headed for San Cristobal de las Casas. My bags were packed and I had my ticket in hand. Every sign I could have asked for told me I needed to go to San Cristobal. But I still had many doubts about my spontaneous decision to leave. I was as afraid to move forward as I was to stay still.
My plan had been to stay in Zipolite, San Augustinillo, and Mazunte, a cluster of small beach towns south of Puerto Escondido, for much longer. Though after just three days in Zipolite and three days in Mazunte, I felt surprisingly content to move on. In perfect synchronicity, the annual Jazz Festival began and every cabana within ten miles was booked, deciding that I would in fact have to.
Friends had mentioned how much they loved Puerto Escondido, so I considered that perhaps it was my time to saddle up there. With perfect sunsets and a pumping surf scene, it sounded like my kind of place. Besides, I could always return to Mazunte after the crowds had passed.
Though when I arrived to Puerto Escondido, I didn’t feel the vibe at all. To be fair, I didn’t offer it much of a chance, but I didn’t feel the magic like I had further south. I missed meeting shamans on street corners and soul brothers on cliffs at sunset. I missed collecting the magical puzzle pieces that told me the ancient history of the earth.
I guess Puerto Escondido didn’t feel me either; my hostel only had space for one night and I would have to leave the next day. I felt like the force of the universe was pushing me away from the coast one town at a time.
I didn’t want to admit it, but I knew why.
If I left Puerto Escondido the next evening, I would arrive in San Cristobal just in time to face a piece of my past that I never completed. I had always planned to go to San Cristobal after Puerto Escondido, I just never imagined it would be so soon.
As much as I didn’t want to look at it, I couldn’t ignore the synchronicity. I knew that if I waited even a day longer, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to face my past in the flesh. Pride told me to stay in Puerto Escondido and forget the past completely, but that also seemed like direct avoidance.
I believed that these circumstances were here to force me to face it. Something that deep in my heart I truly wanted to do, despite how much I feared it. I hoped that facing it in San Cristobal could help me finally make peace with it. I hoped it could lead me to the closure I never received.
Whether the universe had conspired to make it so, or my subconscious mind had created circumstances to make it so, all of the signs pointed to San Cristobal.
That afternoon, on the way to the bus station to purchase a ticket, I made one last bargain with myself. “If it’s not meant to be there won’t be any tickets left. If it is mean to be, there will be a seat.” I arrived at the station, and there was exactly one seat remaining. Unfortunately positioned in the back of the bus beside the bathroom. The coin landed on San Cristobal with a smirk.
So there I was, swinging over a sand floor, eating Thai food, surrounded by chilled out surfers, dreading my voyage that night. Knowing that I needed to go, but rationalizing all of the possible alternatives. Feeling like a simple decision of whether to stay or go was a matter of life or death.
My highest self knew better. That part of me had the awareness that I could never make the wrong decision, and that all I needed to do was let go and trust. The outcome didn’t matter so long as I moved forward with pronoia. But for the ego, that’s often easier said than done. So I turned to my deck of Flower Oracle Cards, as I often do, and I asked for words of reassurance to help me.
I first pulled the Lavender card, titled “Let Go of Anxiety.”
I laughed out loud. Duh. Trying. Struggling. Next!
Gerber Daisy. The “Balanced Friendships” card. “Let go of all toxic relationships,” I read. Ok, heavy. The very karma I struggled to heal. My very reason for dreading San Cristobal. How? How? How? I’ve tried so many times so many years so many relationships. How can I let go?
With the next card I pulled, the Orchid spoke. “Reach for the Stars.” She said, “You deserve only the best and that is all that you should focus your attention on. You have the support and love of your healing angels and the flower kingdom. By working with these energies of the light, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Please continue pushing forward and very soon you’ll receive the blessings and miracles you’ve prayed for.”
Ah that felt better. That felt so much better. Silently I said, “I want to be shown that I’m moving in the right direction. Whether it’s to face a demon of my past or to learn something else for my future, I don’t care. I just want the confidence that I’m following the right path.”
A few minutes later I had paid my bill and was in a taxi bound for my hostel to pick up my bag. I chatted openly with the driver as I often do, enjoying the beautiful gift of speaking with a foreign person in a foreign place in a foreign tongue.
When we arrived at the hostel I handed him some coins, only he wouldn’t take them. “No, please, this ride is on me,” he said. I insisted with wide eyes. He replied, “Please, it’s just a pleasure to know you, I don’t want any money for that.” I looked at him and said, “Tonight you are my angel dressed as a taxi driver. I’m more grateful for this than you know.”
My spirit instantly lifted.
Inside of the hostel restaurant I told the owner and the bartender, who I had become quick friends with, what had just happened. They appeared dubious, telling me they had never heard of that happening before. Actually, it had never happened to me either, in four years of global travel.
I went into the bathroom to change into my “bus clothes” and when I came out, a woman at a nearby table asked, “Are you Camille?” It turns out she had been reading my blog for a while, and she even told her daughter that she hoped to run into me in Oaxaca.
In her presence my anxiety melted completely. She reflected back to me an image of worthiness, strength, and confidence. She reminded me how powerful and pure I truly am. Her excitement and authenticity raised the vibration and I got completely high off of it. Her energy helped me to fly.
When she left I turned inward towards my heart and said thank you. “Thank you for reminding me of what is always there. Thank you for letting me see you so clearly.”
Waiting in line to board the bus I struck up a conversation with the driver. I made a cheeky comment, that if no one took the front seat I’d love to switch, since I was in the aisle beside the toilet. “Just take it, and if someone comes on the bus with that seat assignment, I will just have you move. Who knows, maybe you’ll be lucky!” he said.
For the entire thirteen hour journey, no one ever claimed that seat. My iPhone, which was nearly out of battery when I got on, somehow lasted the entire ride. Inexplicably I was able to sleep for most of the journey, and woke to see a stunning sunrise in the mountains outside of San Cristobal.
When we arrived at the station the driver pulled me aside, “You’re very lucky!” he exclaimed. “Luck, no, I just have a lot of angels,” I said with a wink.
Wandering the streets of San Cristobal, I instantly discovered a green juice bar, a vibrant music festival, and watched tag artists paint murals in the main square. I fluttered around like a butterfly enchanted by the stimulation. I couldn’t take the smile off of my face if I tried.
I checked into a sweet little hostel called Ganesha that even had a yoga studio. The man working reception had eyes that glowed with spirit and over the week that followed I came to know him as one of the most compassionate humans I’ve ever met. On the courtyard wall was a painting of Ganesha himself, the Hindu deity with the head of an elephant, known as the destroyer of obstacles. I couldn’t help but laugh at the symbolism.
I felt like I had made the right decision. I felt like I was where I needed to be. And in San Cristobal I received all of the blessings, the messages, and the closure that I could have hoped for.
Ironically, the reason I felt I had to get to San Cristobal so quickly, didn’t even transpire. The piece in my karmic past, who existed for that single day in San Cristobal, decided not to join me. My free will chose to come together to close the circle, but life reminded me that it wasn’t actually in my control. It takes two to tango, but it only takes one to let go.
This experience could have easily hurt and confused me.
But instead, it helped me.
Just like everything else.
It helped me to recognize that all you have to do to heal the karma is survive it. All you have to do to break the cycle is keep going. All you have to do to let go is realize that you already have. And you learn all that you need to learn from whatever life presents you the moment that you say,
“Thank. You. For. Helping. Me.”
Ultimately, that’s what pronoia is all about. The practical magic that transpires from a positive perspective.
Because I could have taken this very fairytale and turned into a horror story.
I could have believed that my taxi driver was creepy and trying to hit on me, as someone else actually suggested. I could have believed that I nearly missed the bus, because I was distracted talking with a fan of my blog. I could have believed that I had a terrible journey to San Cristobal, miserably cold with the air conditioning. I could have believed that the entire reason I thought I was destined to go to San Cristobal didn’t actually pan out at all, making my journey meaningless.
And I could have believed that every magical moment along the way was nothing more than a coincidence.
But instead I saw an angel in the face of a kind stranger who gave me a free ride. I heard a confirmation from heaven in the compliments from my blog reader. I felt blessed that I didn’t get nauseous at all on the bus ride and somehow I managed to sleep. I felt content knowing that even when life doesn’t work out the way that I thought it would, I am always exactly where I’m supposed to be, having precisely the experience that I am meant to have.
And I believe that every magical moment along the way was the world conspiring to help me.
Decide that everything is here to help you
from the really yummy stuff
to the really tough stuff
and watch how quickly
it actually does.
If this message resonates with you, watch the speech Everything is Here to Help You by Matt Kahn.