Fateful Meetings

There is a scene at the start of a quirky Indie film – Interstate 60 – where a man on a bicycle cycles past a parked car just as the driver of the car is getting out. The driver is on his mobile phone and not paying attention to the world around him. The cyclist crashes into the suddenly opened door and falls into the middle of the street. The driver of the car assists the cyclist to his feet, and as the two men stand in the road trying to deal with their awkward meeting a truck comes barreling down the street. The cyclist sees it and acts quickly to save himself and the driver of the car. Rather than be relieved that his life has been saved, the driver of the car has a temper tantrum. His suit is ruined because the cyclist threw him onto the ground when he was saving his life, and his mobile phone, which he dropped, was crushed by the truck. He starts screaming that his life is ruined and he wishes none of this had happened. The cyclist asks him if that is truly his wish, and the driver screams over and over that he wishes none of this had ever happened.

Time rewinds.

The scene starts from the beginning but events play out differently. The cyclist stops his bicycle and does not cycle passed the car. The driver opens his door, steps out into to street, talking on his mobile phone, the truck comes barrelling down the road, hits the driver of the car and kills him. The cyclist watches all of this and then remarks that some people just don’t know what to wish for.

Please note I may have some details of the scene a bit wrong. I could watch it again as it’s on LoveFilm and be more precise but that’s not the point and not my style. I was only half watching it due to being distracted by the thought that I’d seen the film before. I had in fact seen it before, and enjoyed it. I switched it off shortly after that scene. However it stuck in my mind and it occurred to me that it was a very good example of a gift in a curse.

The driver thought that the incident with the cyclist was the worst thing that could have happened to him, a curse, just one more bad thing on a day of bad things, the last straw, which is why he wished that it had never happened and meant it. He was caught up in a drama which was playing out in his life, focused on the conversation he was having on his mobile and getting more and more stressed out. He had become separated from the world around him due to his intense focus on his problems. To him the cyclist was an intruder, a trespasser who had crossed an imaginary boundary and ruined his life which was already bad enough as it was. Being separated from the world around him caused him to have a blind spot which stopped him from seeing how interconnected everything which happens to us and in our life is. He did not notice how the random accident had saved his life from a far greater accident.

What the driver did is not unusual. We all do it. We get so caught up in one problem that we lose sight of everything else.

Our lives are an interplay of merging and separating, of being together and alone. The two sides make a whole and we see-saw between them, now and then reaching the sweet spot of balance between the two. Life is fluid, so we’re not meant to remain in one place. Feeling completely detached from the world is just as important as feeling immersed in it. However when we get stuck on one side we develop a fear of the other side. And that’s what happened with the driver. The incident with the cyclist triggered a reaction of fear. He was angry, but anger is often a fearful response. Ultimately his fear came out in the fervent wish that the incident had not occurred.

Our fear makes us want to return to a safe place, even if that place is not safe at all and we know it, at least it is familiar. The unfamiliar tends to make us feel as though we have run off the edge of a cliff, like in a cartoon, and are suspended over an abyss waiting to drop now that we have stopped and realised there is no ground beneath our feet.

How many times have you wished for something new to happen, something different, something which would change your life, then when something new and different happened, your life is changed, you wish that it hadn’t and that things were back to normal, back to the way they were before anything happened?

You can recall what your life was like before the incident which created a chaotic shambles of it. However the memory is infused with nostalgia for how things used to be, it seems rosier, brighter, because it is influenced by the pain you are feeling now, rather than the pain which you felt before now. Life always looks better in retrospect because we edit out the bits we don’t want to remember.

In real life there is no rewind, so we will never know how our life would have turned out if what has just happened never happened. Chances are if this ability was available we would get stuck on rewind, never being able to go forward because we’re too busy trying to fix the present by messing with the past. We are convinced life should be neat and tidy, painless, and happy. But life keeps thwarting our attempts to achieve that, and insists on being messy, chaotic, painful, and so emotional that we lose sight of whether happy is in the soup of emotions which we feel.

Yet life is actually not as disorderly as we think it is, and within the disorder there is a very structured order.

““If a fool persists in his folly”, says William Blake, “he will become wise.” This is a rule. We tend to think of our self-destructive folly as highly undesirable. We feel burdened, limited, even cursed by the irrational problems that place such restrictions on the way we’d like to live our lives. We spend much of our time feeling the effects of our folly, trying to ‘work out’ our problems, or figuring ways to be rid of the psychological demons that plague us. We rarely stop to think what the need for neurosis might be, or what purpose these quirks of the psyche might serve. As a result the resolution to our self-destructiveness would seem to be in head-on conflict. The smoker uses brute force to quit. The anorexic makes herself eat, or is made to. The depressive coerces himself out of bed. It fails to occur to us that the tenacity of our neuroses is for reasons far greater than their seeming need to create misery in our lives, that the symptoms of our dis-ease are precisely the statement of the soul’s discomfort which, because we will not heed its knocking at our door, must come in by the window.

The pain, the despair, the craziness of self-destructive behaviour is as loud a statement as it is possible to make that the soul is in exile and under attack. Very often our problem is not so much that we suffer from self-destructiveness, but that we hold it at arm’s length and in so doing deprive ourselves of its instruction. The source of our suffering is as much our ivory towered existence and antagonism to realities deeper than those of our narrow self-image, as it is the blows of fate from which we are so keen to defend ourselves. If we cannot or will not hear the soul’s rumblings, then it will find some artful way of rubbing our noses in that to which we needs must pay attention.” – Andy White, Going Mad to Stay Sane

I have recommended Andy White’s book, and I need to apologise for that, but I am not sorry. The apology is because it is hard to find and if you do find it, it is very expensive. I feel as though I have dangled something precious in front of you, but it is out of your reach unless you take a leap of faith in a stranger’s word… but what if that trust is misplaced and you end up worse off than before?

I’ve had the book for about ten years and I have to confess that at a point not so long ago in my life I considered selling it because I needed the money, but I couldn’t bring myself to part with it, just like when I found it in a secondhand bookshop, once I’d picked it up I couldn’t put it down again. It only cost £8 but to me that was pricey for a secondhand book and a lot of money to me. But throughout my life I have always chosen to buy books over food and other necessities, because knowledge to me is more important than anything else. Knowledge which leads to understanding. So I bought it. In truth I felt that I didn’t have the luxury of choice to buy or not to buy, it was more to buy or to steal it as it was stuck to my hand by invisible glue. I’m not prone to stealing because the ripples effects of such an action are not worth the momentary satisfaction of getting something for nothing. That particular type gift is a curse, and shows how there is a flip side to everything, thus if there is a gift in a curse, there is a curse in a gift (especially one which has been stolen).

This book changed my understanding of my life completely… all at once but also very gradually. Because things take time to sink in and become a part of you. Rewiring your system is an ongoing process, but the awareness of the need to do it can be sudden and sharp. I’ve reread it several times, and dip in and out of it regularly. So it is priceless to me. It explained my childhood, my parents, my pain, and my personal insanity, the inner conflicts which were tearing me apart and had been doing so all of my life. So, I am not sorry for recommending it, but this book is not necessarily going to impact your lives as it impacted mine, or be worth the price it costs to buy it. However if you like what I share with you on my blog, if my words speak to you and help you find your own answers within, then you’re getting the benefits of the book filtered through me.

How I found that book – I wasn’t looking for it, but it found me and it took me a while to realise what a fateful meeting that was – is a classic example of the order in the disorder of life.

You have had many similar fateful meetings, with books, with films, songs, with people, known and unknown, with incidents which seemed random and meaningless, interruptions of your day-to-day, accidents which turned out not to be accidents in retrospect. Life works in mysterious ways, but the ways are not as mysterious as they seem. We like mystery so sometimes it is better not to see that things are not mysterious, because it inspires us.

We are connected to everything and everyone, we just aren’t always aware of it, because part of living requires for us to remain separate from our interconnectedness.

Next time you watch some random film just because it’s on TV, or hear a song because it’s on the radio, or click a link on the internet, perhaps get distracted during a search, frustrated by the random results which are not what you are looking for, and decide to check something trivial out… maybe there is a message in it for you, relevant to your life right now.

Fateful meetings can be very short. Bumping into a stranger and exchanging a few words or a glance can be just as life changing, perhaps in a subtle way, as having a long relationship with someone. These meetings, short or long, can be good or bad, a bit of both, or indifferent and neutral. That moment may be chaotic and unexpected or tidy and expected. There’s a message, a piece of information, a part of the puzzle, in it for you, it is a movement in the music of your life, a sentence in your autobiography.

People do know what they are wishing for, what sometimes eludes us is how those wishes are granted.


10 thoughts on “Fateful Meetings

  1. Dear Ursula,
    How wise what you have just posted.I am really mad at the book as I can’t find it even at the library here ( amazon has even incresead the price for the second hand ones..) and it seems impossible to get hold of it ( the closest copy is in Cairo but I live in Europe) but the more I hear about it, the more it talks to me; luckily you are generous with your time and thoughts and so I can grasp things better.
    What you say is true but it is difficult to apply such wisdom to our present life pattern; although I have felt better in the past weeks, I am stuck as i do understand with my mind but my emotions don’t follow steadily.I am still very fragile and confused. I don’t want to transform your blog into a private soap opera, but I have met a man and talking to him brought me to life, the emotion was so deep and upsetting, it has been such a long time I didn’t feel alive, acceptable and well, human, therefore accepted; but the confusion which has instilled in me as a poison whether it is true or it is a creation of my mind tortures me.
    Being accepted is the pivotal issue of my life, i haveto thenak my parents for this beautiful curse to which I can’t find any counter gift.(yet)
    You talk about fateful meetings, is this one?Is he there to teach me something?I do feel a connection with him but at the same time it’s an impossible situation, we live different lives.
    I have more than once heard a malignant voice telling me-see, you like this, but you are not enough good for it…maybe my parents, maybe life.
    I feel very lonely these days and made up my mind not to see my father for xmas, i haveto get used to be alone for the next thirty years and i am not very good, as you said ,at accepting help by my support system.
    Great issue. I sometimes feels abandoned by life and at the sametime I need to think it will change- maye this is fantasy.
    I am so happy you are writing again and it is so poignant and meaningful what you do. I do appreciate your presence and effort to be present. Thank you.
    Thank you for your company and open mind.
    seashell xx


    1. Thank you 🙂

      Forget about the book, if you’re meant to have it, it will happen and it will be in a way which works for you, price and location and everything. Everything you need will find you, what you don’t need will remain out of reach because you don’t need it. If you want to strengthen your ability to trust, try trusting life to give you what you need when you need it. It’s a difficult test, I know, especially if you feel life has betrayed you or treated you badly, but it’s worth it because it means you can stay centered in yourself and build a strong relationship with yourself. Society tells us repeatedly to chase after things, dreams, and people, to go and get what we want and keep chasing it until we get it. Sometimes that is what we need to do, but sometimes it is not. It takes a bit of practice but you can figure out when it is the right time to chase something and when it is not. There are times when we just have to put the energy out there, make a wish, and then let go of it and see what comes back to us.

      All meetings are fateful. Sometimes the fatefulness of it is very simple, sometimes it is more complex. Just try to enjoy the meeting itself and live the experience in the here and now. Future thinking tends to dilute the power of the present moment. So, enjoy your meeting with this man, let it inspire you, don’t worry about it by over-thinking it, just let it follow its course. Don’t expect anything from it, just let it give you what it has within it as is. The things which it stirs are for you to observe and understand.

      And remember you’re not the only one involved in this meeting, the man has a story too, a path he is walking, and this meeting is fateful for him too and will be stirring issues for him too.

      What we seek from others is often what they are seeking from us.

      I think one of the things which may be of help to you in dealing with the fragility and confusion is to realise that although you may feel alone, you are not alone, all humans, including this man, feel the same. The same but different, as we are different. So we deal with how we feel, with our fragility, differently yet it has a common thread. Our pain connects us because all living beings feel it. Perhaps this man also feels as though he is not good enough, perhaps he is also looking for acceptance, perhaps he also feels abandoned by life. And perhaps the fact that you live different lives is why this meeting is important, to show you – both of you – something about life.

      Take your time, take it slow, there is no need to rush – to rush into the relationship or rush out of it. There is a flow and rhythm to life.


      1. it’s interesting what you say about meeting someone as a matter of two people involved; at first it’s obvious but it takes two to tango and it’s up to which kind of path he’s going through, maybe he won’t see anything. You have to acknowledge what you have in front of you as something valuable, as though you had met it already in yourself and then it’s there.
        I don’t like to force things, but unluckily there are so many situations we have to push.
        here it comes my bad image of myself, i don’t think I might be valuable.Is to call to force things? In a way, it is looking for an opening.But if we stay still nothing happens; I always try to change what is stiff and what doesn’t work, in spite of my poor results.For instance i have been linving here for almost nine years and there is nothing for me, except my friends, so i am trying to move away, but things are not materialising, not taking shape yet, maybe the reason is the one you mention.
        In a way you are right about his feeelings, as he’s married to the N “friend” I mentioned a week ago, he’s trapped.i also don’t want to be responsible of a separation, i am so good at feeling guilty ( i have been royally trained).
        But it’s refreshing to see a beautiful soul, someone who is not into manipulation and lies. maybe this is my gift in the curse of not being able to share more with him.
        thank you for your words.


        1. When trying to heal and recover from Narcissistic abuse, it is usually advisable to try and keep your life simple and to avoid unnecessary complications if at all possible. Learn to enjoy a simple life. This has helped me a lot, because my life when I was trapped in the dramas of Narcissists was always so incredibly complicated, utterly confusing and extremely exhausting. It taught me to appreciate simplicity. I seek that simplicity in everything, in thought, in emotion, in the day-to-day, and especially in relationships.

          Those who have been wounded by Narcissists have been trained to live life on a seesaw of highs and lows, and often have a hard time letting go of the intensity of that kind of relationship, because Narcissists make life very dramatic, and that drama is like a drug, without it life can seem dull. It is sometimes the reason why a victim of Narcissistic abuse will end up, again and again, in a relationship with a Narcissist. Narcissists make life exciting, one minute it is heaven and euphoric, the next it is hell and horrific. You feel like you’re a part of something intense and alive. Normal life seems very dull after that. It isn’t dull, it just appears that way because of having lived in a Narcissist’s chaotic fantasy for so long.

          This is partly the reason why you hold on to the bad image you have of yourself, there is something about the drama of feeling guilty, unworthy, which is exciting in some way. It’s subconscious. The low lows make the momentary highs feel higher, so when you feel good about yourself it is more intense, and feeling bad about yourself is intense too.

          Friendship is valuable. The simplicity in friendship is a healing power. Perhaps the reason you can’t move away is because right now, as you heal your life, you need the stability of being in a place you know with your feet firmly on the ground, and you need the calm support of having your friends close. Enjoy the simplicity of the ‘nothing’ it is not as much of a nothing as you may think it is as it offers you a quiet place to heal with few distractions. If you move you’re throwing yourself off of a cliff before you are ready to jump and fly. Keep the distractions to a minimum and just be in the present moment, getting to know yourself with love, and give yourself quiet simple time to heal properly.

          A relationship with a married man, who may be wounded in his relationship and seeking a means of escape and an angel to save him from his wife who may be a Narcissist, a wife who is also a friend of yours… sounds like a recipe for the sort of drama you do not need in your life right now as you try to heal yourself from previous relationships which were dramatic and complicated.


          1. Dear Ursula,
            thank you for your precious advice. I am angry with myself because I ventured to get to know this N “friend”, as it seems it is the longlife magnet of my life to be in contact with such people, you say it’s subconscoius but it’s truly an endless curse.
            i think I appreciate this man as my love life is a desert, so every gentle drop of anything sounds like a miracle. I have learnt and paid for the N ups and downs and most of all of their projections- she was such a good friend that she told me I studied useless subjects as I expected my father to pay all his life adn she added i was looking for a man to pay my bills. Actually I never had such thoughts and this hurt me a lot, but i do ignore what led her to tell me all this, I just liked her company and i never had an offensive behaviour towards her. i don’t like though the fact i allowed her to aggress me without answering back, as my reactions come with time and never on the very moment I need them. I will withdraw as this is far too much than i can take, even my body is telling me so, as this week my migraine lasted five days and left me in the darkness(out of metaphor).
            Not understanding is very confusing, and maybe the answer is that she is sick in her mind.
            At the moment it’s hell, a very intense hell, with no way out.
            I find very difficult to accept help from my friends and i all I can perceive is my wound, which doesn’t allow me to get out of this dreadful place I am in.
            I do cherish your presence as i sense you are honest with me.thank you with all my heart. Thank you for the time you spend pondering for a reply to someone you don’t even know.thank you, this is very generous of you.


            ps: I would be grateful if you could post some more about the Andy White’s book, I know maybe it’s out of reach because i don’t need it, but it’s definitely terrific.enlightening! Sorry if i dare ask you this.


            1. I can’t post more of the book as that would be copyright infringement, and disrespectful to the author. He put a lot of effort into his writing and shared his experience and wisdom, and he deserves respect for that, and the money which his book makes for him encourages him to continue with his work.

              The sort of knowledge in the book is knowledge available to us all by living our lives with self awareness. Your life has much wisdom in it. Such as the fact that at this time you say your love life is a desert, rather than seeing that as a negative thing, see the wisdom and positive side of it. You need the time to devote to building a loving relationship with yourself. If you had someone else to love you and whom you could love it would distract you from finding the core of love within yourself as the love would be coming from outside of yourself and be directed outside of you. Take this time to learn to give love to yourself and receive love from yourself.

              And love is abstract and can be found in many things other than relationships. You mentioned your painting, perhaps now that your life is fairly quiet you can explore that love and see how it enriches your life. Or your love for concerts can become a source of love for you. Take the time to discover the different aspects of love in your life which don’t require other people. Generate your own source of love from within.

              And learn to view Narcissists as muses who inspire their victims with the desire to get to know ourselves well and love ourselves. In everything which and everyone who appears bad there is also good. That is how you find the gift in the curse, earning to see the good in the bad, and thus you transform how you experience it.


              1. thank you.
                I am sorry I asked you about the book.
                What you say is almost impossible for me to put into practice, as art comes from love for yourself and not vice versa and at the moment i can’t see anything positive in my desert.Thank you for your patience with me.


                1. That’s the challenge – to see the positive in the desert because the desert is there for a reason, and the reason it is there is not a bad one.

                  And I could argue with you about where art comes from. My father was an artist and made a career form his art. I grew up surrounded by artists and having love for themselves is not the first thing which springs to mind when I think of them. They use their art to sublimate their pain and self hatred, it inspires what they do. They tap into the feelings which we all have and connect with and give expression to them for us in a way which shows us the beautiful side of what seems ugly. You said you studied art, you must have seen the pain in the work and read about it in the biographies of artists. They are very self-destructive beings as that is their muse.

                  So I think you’re stopping yourself from finding the love within because it frightens you to love yourself perhaps because you feel it is a betrayal of your hate for yourself which your parents instilled in you and which you consider a crucial part of your identity. I think being creative and pushing through the barriers between you and your creative self expression would have a big healing impact on you. You have the power, how you use it is up to you.


                  1. I sense my point is not really arguing to be right, and there are so many different perspectives, but I feel that to create art, to be an artist and to be able to inform matter with your own way of feeling things and life, you need to love your ego, you have to be convinced you have something interesting to say, to be “entitled” to express yourself; it’s a sort of pride, a primordial feeling about your self. Therefore you can be an artist even if you don’t love yourself properly, in terms of sane self love, but you do need to believe you are talented and good at it. And that is what I lack, what prevents me from acting. It’s a bit related to give voice to yourself, to stand for yourself, like when I wrote on your blog what i have lived this year, which left me devastated and all bruised.
                    You hit the point when you say it has to do with the image of myself that I have been fed with by my parents, this is one of the reason I am undergoing an analysis. When you are not free inside and you have a hard time to accept your shortcomings- such as not being loved by your parents or by a man and having only your friends but no family, then it would be better to be more assertive or reactive as you are, but unluckily I am not; and that was already written somewhere as my sister didn’t suffer in the same way as i did, but reacted in a more (sane) selfish way.
                    The inner structure of each being is different: you call yourself damaged, but i feel a great strength behind the pain and you do believe in your art, you are brave, you expose yourself.
                    You also have the courage to say what you mean in a blunt way, which is good as once people get to “know” you, they’d appreciate your honesty.
                    I am struggling but to tell you the truth at the moment i have no courage and i doubt about myself more than ever, for instance I got the feeling I annoyed you, i,don’t want to invade your blog. Very bad boundaries.
                    But in a way it’s as though we met a long ago, I trust you and I always find rewarding to open up with you; for instance about that man, you helped me to stay put and to see things properly, you did it, more than all of my friends.
                    My deep feeling is that I have wasted a whole year into something which deprived me of a subtle and poor hope I tried to nourish my soul to survive, my N shrink left me empty, maybe i needed to live something so horrid to be conscious of all this.
                    I’d love very much to be active with my art and less of a passive art lover, a listener or a reader or a museum dweller. All the energy I have I use it to survive, but it’s not like living fully and freely.


                    1. Time is never really wasted, it is just perceived to be that way. You’re going through a very tough time and need to respect the process, the fragility and vulnerability and not make too many demands on yourself. Be gentle with yourself.

                      I’m not annoyed with you, but you may have picked up on the fact that I’m always a bit annoyed. I’m a fighter by nature, and nurture inspired me to develop that natural trait. Those who know me well, get used to the fact that I’m always feisty and don’t take it personally. It’s not you, it’s me and I like myself this way so I’m not changing for anyone 😀

                      And I relate to much of what you have shared with me. I know very well the block which is stopping you from expressing yourself creatively because I had it too, a similar one, and I made similar excuses to myself as to why I could never express myself creatively. Those who have been abused by Narcissists, especially growing up with Narcissistic parents, are professional excuse generators. We learned to do that to explain away and forgive the Narcissists all the nonsense they put us through, and the abuse. Make it liveable and survivable. That’s why I’m blunt. I need to be to cut through my BS. I finally confronted myself and told myself to create or shut up about it because my whining about it was driving me crazy. That’s the best bitch slap I ever gave myself! But that’s my story, yours is different and only you can figure it out.

                      Explore your passions, passively or actively, and just let yourself drift until you reach the shore where you can create a home. The ocean may seem a cruel place at times, but the longer you drift upon it, the more it reveals to you its kind and giving side. So just drift and see where it takes you. You’ll find what you are looking for, it just take time and patience, and a bit of faith in yourself and your life.


Comments are closed.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: