Billie wrote the other day about meeting a woman in Starbucks who came across at first as vaguely pesky, distracting her from her writing, but then unexpectedly gave her some excellent advice about her dissertation.
My brother used to describe those people as “spirit guides,” the ones that just show up out of nowhere and tell you things you need to hear. It’s not all up to them, of course; you have to be paying attention. Spirit guides never announce themselves or wear handy name tags, so it’s easy to brush them off. I fear I’ve probably missed several, when I was more committed to talking than listening, or when I assumed a person had nothing interesting to offer. But if you’re smart enough to notice, they can make a big difference indeed.
I haven’t heard from any in a while, or perhaps I just haven’t been listening; I’ve had my head bent down a lot lately, trudging along to get things done. But for the new year I’m going to try to take a few more risks, open myself up to a little modest adventure, and see if any of the spirit guides come around to let me know how I’m doing.