We joke in our family about “parking karma,” specifically my mother’s supernatural knack for pulling into a newly vacated space right near the entrance to the store, or doctor’s office, or mall. Other drivers will have trolled the aisles for ages waiting for something to open up, but Mom will be the one to come along just as a car pulls out. It’s become our shorthand for cosmic generosity, an almost-superpower of ease—sometimes earned, but often just kismet– in a specific corner of one’s life. Mia, for example, has great waitlist karma. She doesn’t always get what she’s going for on the first pass: a fellowship, a class she wants to take that’s closed, admission to a program, or college. But she has been waitlisted a few times, and then effortlessly prevails. Lucy seems to have good job-finding karma, which is a pretty sweet gift from the universe. Although this could simply be that she’s crazy competent and talented and people recognize that about her. Either way, she’s about to move to Los Angeles to pursue her fortune as a costume designer, so I’m grateful for it.
My own karmic blessing is that I’m adept at recognizing moments of grace or universal abundance that others may miss. John had a nice one yesterday: For his upcoming sabbatical, he’s been casting around for experiences that will profoundly refresh him before he begins a new venture in September. We’d been talking about taking weekend trips here or there, but that didn’t seem bold enough for this opportunity: What can he do with these six weeks that he really couldn’t manage any other time? He’ll be in New Mexico at a conference about Contemplation and Action, so that’s something. But it isn’t quite gutsy enough, it doesn’t have teeth, a sense of adventure. Then Tuesday, a trusted counselor suggested he go on a Vision Quest. John’s eyes lit up. A colleague of his had been on such an adventure led by a renowned Shaman, John Milton. Perhaps Milton would be offering something in August? Indeed. Not only that, but it’s in southern Colorado, not far from Albuquerque, the site of the conference. The Vision Quest begins the next day after the conference closes. Yes, there’s space. Yes, it’s within our budget. Yes, there are nonstop flights from Albuquerque to Crestone, Colorado.
Sometimes, you can hear the universe clicking into place like tumblers in a lock.
Today, I got a taste of Mom’s parking karma. I had to pick up a package from the Amazon Locker in Cambridge’s Central Square – a 25-pound box of pool chemicals that would have taken a week to arrive at the house, but came overnight to the locker. Street parking in that area is harder to find than a clean t-shirt on laundry day. I was resigned to parking a half mile away, trudging back and forth to the car in the midday heat with my heavy box of chemicals. But on my very first pass around the neighborhood, there was a nice, shady metered spot open on Green Street, just about a block from the Amazon Locker. They were super nice in there, by the way – an attendant explained everything before I could even think to ask. “Man in the Mirror” was playing on the sound system, and she and I both bopped to it while I waited to for my package to be loaded in to the locker, but a guy came out from the back carrying it because it was heavy, and he wanted to be sure I could get it to my car.
“That’s okay,” I said. “I got a spot right across the street.”