My name is Rick
Archer. Destiny is the story of how I
created a Houston dance studio named
SSQQ (short for Slow Slow Quick Quick).
This saga covers a key eight year
period of my life stretching from 1973-1981.
There is strong
circumstantial evidence to suggest SSQQ
was the largest dance studio of its kind in America.
If that is true, then I suppose
during my career of 32 years I taught
more people how to dance than any other dance instructor in
history. I taught social dancing... Swing, Disco,
Ballroom, Latin and Country-Western.
definitely the largest dance
studio in Houston, Texas. At its peak, SSQQ saw as many
as 1,400 people a week walk through its doors. My dance
studio was always a swirling beehive of activity.
This is all well
and good, but why would anybody be interested in reading a
book about a dance teacher?
to demean my chosen profession, but dance teachers are not all
that important in a practical sense. On a list of the 1,000 most important
people chosen to populate the Moon or Mars, I doubt
seriously any dance
teachers will make the cut.
So why bother to
read my book?
What if I told
you my story has elements bordering on the supernatural?
What if I said that I continued to get breaks that were so
ridiculously well-timed that I could not help but
succeed? What if I admitted I was totally unqualified
for my job and yet I succeeded anyway?
According to the
Bible, back in the days of Moses, God's miracles were both
frequent and impressive. If there is any doubt about
that, take the time to watch the Ten Commandments
with Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner. Behold the
burning bush, the voice of God, and a wooden staff that
turns into a cobra. That's just the warm-up.
Next comes the plagues. The Nile turns to blood and
fish die. Now we see a procession of frogs, lice,
flies, hail, boils and locusts. Three long days of
darkness are followed by the horrifying mist that causes the
death of the first-born. As the Hebrews escape, we see
the pillar of fire and the parting of the Red Sea. The
Hebrews are safe.
This, of course,
was followed by a moment of dark humor. As Moses
leaves to receive the Ten Commandments, the Hebrews lose
faith and conduct a pagan orgy. They build a golden
calf as an idol, then indulge their most wanton desires in
an orgy of sinfulness. I was incredulous. How
did they lose their faith?? Those Hebrews sure needed
a lot of convincing. Moses had me the moment that
staff of his turned into a snake!
And what is my
point? It is one thing to have Faith in God.
However, I am not a 'Blind Faith' kind of guy. I
prefer to have Faith based on my powers of observation.
There are no burning bushes in these modern times. If
God does exist, I think we can all agree that His clues are
subtle to say the least. Therefore I have chosen a
rather peculiar vehicle to bolster my belief in God - my own
I believe my
story is testimony to the possibility of Destiny.
There is no way to prove Destiny. However, the curious
events of my story will certainly raise an eyebrow.
There is a real chance I have been privileged to witness
something profound. Throughout my story, I point to
the unusual and unexplained experiences that have led me to
believe my dance career was predestined.
Why do I say
I was unqualified? Because I had no business
accomplishing what I did. There for the
Grace of God go I...
There are people
who have 'Most Likely to Succeed' written in
their Senior yearbook. I daresay I would have been the
hands down choice to receive the 'Least Likely to
Succeed' comment at my high school. I say this with
absolute sincerity. I am so utterly convinced of my
lowly status in high school that I wrote an entire book...
Simple Act of Kindness... simply to back up my claim.
Indeed, in a world where people ordinarily pat
themselves on the back at the ingenuity of their
accomplishments, I contend I had no
business creating the largest dance studio in America.
What makes my story
so improbable are the obstacles I faced.
I started with no talent for dance, minimal social skills, no
money, no friends, and two ridiculously inept parents (one of whom
abandoned me). I started adulthood with
profound psychological issues, a fact I will prove starting in
even want to be a dance instructor. It happened by
accident... or Fate.
Many people who
are successful start training at an early age. They
show a talent and nurture it. Not me. I
never danced in high school. I never danced in
college. I never danced in graduate school. When I
finally did get around to dance classes, I only did so in
desperation after my dismissal from graduate school. And
guess what I discovered in dance class? I was a
failure at dancing.
I was a
failure with women. We will establish that fact in
Chapter Three. That is why I decided to take
dance lessons in the first place (Chapter Six).
Strangely enough, the dance project I embarked upon would
turn into a dance career years later down the road.
After I was
thrown out of graduate school, I was
pretty much shattered. However, I was not a total loser. I did have some talents. I
was educated. I was reasonably smart. I was
persistent. I possessed burning ambition. Throw
those four qualities in a pot, add a strong dose of abject
loneliness and now we have the start of a long climb out of
mediocrity. However, there is one missing ingredient
from that recipe... luck. I was the
recipient of a countless number of well-timed lucky breaks. After
a while, I stopped wondering why I was so lucky all the
time. It was about this point that I accepted that the
best explanation for my success was Fate. In other
words, Divine intervention.
I was so lucky
that I adopted a motto:
“It is hard to believe in
coincidence, but it is even harder to believe in
I mentioned my dance career was a complete accident.
One can assume most people pursue their profession,
especially those who reach a pinnacle. Not me. I
never trained a day in my life. Any serious training I
received came one year after my career started. Indeed, I
never had a dance lesson in my life until I was 24 (1974). I had no
business being a dance teacher for the simple reason that I
was a lousy dancer. I will establish this fact in
Chapter Eight. One typically expects a lawyer to
have the gift of logic or an accountant the gift of
numbers. Who ever heard of a dance teacher who
couldn't dance? I had no gift for dancing. I was a slow learner who lacked any natural grace on the dance floor.
Indeed, I never won a dance contest in my life. Nor
could I do dance performances. Due to some sort of mysterious curse, I
failed miserably the first seven times I tried to perform.
I was strangely prone to accidents that defied explanation. Indeed, one of my dance partners came within inches of
breaking her neck. After the seventh failure without a
single success, I just quit trying. There would be no
glory for me... I was the dance teacher who couldn't dance.
The fact that I
became a dance teacher at all was a complete fluke. I never interviewed
for my job as a dance teacher. It was simply handed to me
(Chapter 24). For the next month I taught line dances to 15 people.
Then out of nowhere Saturday Night Fever hit.
Was I a star?
Heavens no. Most of my students were better dancers
than me. I was in completely over my head. I
struggled mightily for two solid years before I became an
adequate teacher and dancer. On several occasions, I
barely missed being exposed as the imposter I was.
Then, just when I hit my
stride, a crisis hit. My career as a dance teacher appeared over due to a
perfect storm of calamities. Fortunately, as usual, an
lucky break saved the day. At that point, I sprinted
to the Finish Line.
After eight years of scrambling,
my rollercoaster ride had finally reached a resting
point. At that moment, I realized that I now owned the largest dance studio in
Houston. I was mystified. This was all very
improbable to me. Did I exult? Well, kind of, except that
the whole thing felt like such an accident. I never
set out to own a dance studio. It just 'happened'.
That is when I
asked myself a question... How did I do this?
Although I was
proud of myself and pleased with my achievement, I was
aware I had no business being this successful. It
is one thing to complete a long journey, but my accomplishment
was more like a misguided Columbus stumbling onto the New
Now I was
curious. Up till now, I had been far too busy coping with
one crisis after another to
give my dance career any sort of overview. However,
due to my breathing room, I had a chance to retrace the events.
I noticed that I had received a lot of lucky breaks.
The problem was that I had taken each lucky break for granted.
For example, I was handed my job as a dance teacher.
It is one thing to acquire qualifications, then beat out
other candidates for a job or a role. Not me. I
had simply been handed this job without asking. It was
a huge break. However, one odd event by itself can be
overlooked. Once is an incident...
Once I got my
foot in the door, I was presented with one opportunity after
another which allowed me to expand my role. Given the
luxury of perspective, I realized I had not received a lucky
break here or a lucky break there, but rather an entire series of lucky breaks had been handed to me.
Two is a coincidence...
I knew the
secret of my success... I was lucky!! Make that 'unbelievably
In fact, I had
received so many breaks that I began to get suspicious.
Something uncanny had taken place. Once I connected
the dots, it appeared like I had been
following a path that had been laid out for me every step of the way.
That is when I concluded my dance career was a Fated event.
Three is a pattern...
No other explanation was satisfying to me. I certainly
hadn't accomplished this through any advanced training, any natural dance
ability, or any gift of wonderful people skills.
I had no inheritance. I had no patron. I had people who helped me along the
way, yes, but I had traveled this path alone.
Most successful people follow a well-beaten path of some
sort to the top. Not me. I stumbled every inch
of the way. Truthfully, on the surface I had nothing going for me and I knew it.
At this point, my mind turned to the supernatural. As
strange as it seems, in my mind, this conclusion made more
sense than any realistic explanation. I had no
business being here.
So here is the
mystery... was my accomplishment simply an example of
uncanny Dumb Luck or was it indicative of
I offer my story
as a public recounting of what my heart says was a religious
experience. However, I will be the first to admit that
there could be other explanations as well. So I will
leave it to the Reader to decide... did my uncanny streak of
good fortune exceed my limited talent enough to suggest the
assistance of a Higher Power? Or was it all just luck?
I contend I had someone helping me.
You be the judge.
A MEDITATION ON
"The more frequently one
uses the word ‘Coincidence’ or ‘Luck’ to explain bizarre
happenings, the more obvious it becomes that one
is not seeking, but rather evading the real
-- Robert Shea
& Robert Anton Wilson
is hard to believe in
coincidence, but it is even harder to believe in
Does Fate really exist?
certainly believed so. The Norns were female
beings who ruled the Destiny of men. Verdandi,
Uror, and Skuld were described as
powerful maiden giantesses who appeared at a person's birth in
order to determine his or her future.
miles away, by coincidence the Greeks adopted a similar
Lachesis and Atropos were known
as the Greek Fates. The Fates were three old
women who controlled the thread of life for every mortal from
birth to death.
Fates were not the
final arbiters of Destiny. In addition to the Fates,
the immortal Greek Gods meddled with the affairs of men at
every turn. The ancient Greeks held a morbid preoccupation with the
Gods of Olympus for the simple reason that the Olympians
loved to interfere with everyday matters.
Homer, author of the Iliad, the Trojan War was
the direct by-product of the Gods constantly playing havoc
with mankind. The Trojan War was launched by a beauty
contest between three Goddesses who asked Paris to pick
which Goddess was the prettiest. Aphrodite, the
winner, helped Paris kidnap Helen of Troy as his
Athena and Hera, the
sent the Greeks to start a war to teach Paris and Aphrodite a lesson. Apollo and
Aphrodite opposed them and made sure to give Troy a fighting chance against
the massive Greek force. Then, once the war began, all the other Gods lined up to see how
they too could manipulate the outcome.
In the end, it
was the cunning Athena who won the war. It was Athena
who whispered the idea for the Trojan Horse into the ear of
the Greek hero Odysseus. In other words, a person's
Fate was only as good as the God or Goddess who championed
was preoccupied with the concept of Fate.
began with the discussion of The
Will of Zeus.
made sure to demonstrate the Greek belief that man
is vulnerable at all times to
supernatural forces he cannot control.
Man's only hope was to seek the favor of their Gods.
Consequently, many temples were built.
Iliad, the characters constantly refer
to destiny and fate.
For example, Achilles, the main character of the book, was
given an overall invulnerability to injury by the Gods.
This allowed him
to become the greatest warrior of all.
despite his power, Achilles had one fatal flaw. Thetis, his mother,
had forgotten to cover her baby's heel with the magic
waters of the River Styx at birth.
Once she realized
her mistake, Thetis knew that Achilles was left with one area
vulnerable to the Archer's bow. Therefore, at the start of
Achilles not to go to war.
"Doomed to a short life,
Achilles, you have so little
time left. And
not only short, but filled with heartbreak too...
more than all other men alive.
Do not go, my son. If you go, you are
doomed twice over."
Achilles and the
death of Hector as the Gods watch on
Fatal flaws were
a favorite theme in Greek mythology. Or sometimes it
was the bad misfortune of stepping on the wrong toes.
was the story of Odysseus, the Greek hero who
ended the Trojan War using Athena's suggestion. On
his return home to Greece, Odysseus angered powerful
Poseidon by blinding Polyphemus, the one-eyed Cyclops, to
escape capture. Polyphemus just happened to be the son
of the Sea God.
Looking for revenge, Poseidon punished Odysseus. He
made sure Odysseus would face danger in every corner of the Mediterranean Sea.
Finally Odysseus fell captive to the sea nymph Calypso on a remote island.
After seven years of captivity, his patron goddess Athena
intervened. When Zeus ordered Calypso to set her
beloved Odysseus free, Calypso begged him to reconsider.
Zeus replied it was not his Destiny to live with her forever.
The Greeks were
obsessed with Destiny. Achilles and
mythological characters, but not Alexander the Great. Alexander was hardly
the product of someone's imagination. Alexander was
just as preoccupied with his Destiny as his hero Achilles had been.
Shortly before he embarked on world conquest, he made a
journey to the Oracle of Delphi. Alexander was told he
you will never be defeated.
That is your Destiny."
On one level, we
laugh at the improbable events of the Trojan War and the
ensuing Odyssey as the entertaining product of
Homer's fertile imagination. But what if the Greeks
were on to something? Maybe they were right about
Alexander the Great certainly thought so.
I was a
philosophy of religion major at Johns Hopkins University
in Baltimore. As part of my curriculum, I spent a
considerable amount of time studying metaphysics. This
was about the same time the Beatles went to India to study
under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. By chance, I had just
embarked on a
Magical Mystery Tour of my own.
During this time of searching for the meaning of life, I ran across
a remarkable book titled the Autobiography of a Yogi.
The book was written by Paramahansa Yogananda, a yogi
from India. The book purported to tell the real life adventures of
this spiritual master. In his book, Yogananda
stressed that through Reincarnation, we are continually
being presented with challenges that will promote soul
growth. Yogananda also explained the important concept of
Karma refers to
the spiritual principle of cause and effect where the actions of
an individual will influence his future.
In simple terms, good deeds contribute to
good karma and future happiness while bad deeds contribute to bad karma and future suffering.
Karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth.
Karma not only affects one's future in the current life, it
may well affect the direction of future lives. A man
who kills someone in this lifetime may well be the victim of
a murder in the next.
As a philosophy
major, my biggest problem was reconciling my concept of a
loving God with the immense amount of suffering in the
world. As Yogananda explained the twin mechanisms of
reincarnation and karma, I was immediately drawn to this
thought. Karma implied justice. Karma suggested
those who suffer in this lifetime may have done something to
deserve their Fate in a previous lifetime. Considering
all the suffering in the world, I was immediately drawn to
the possibility there was a hidden system of reward and
My major problem with religion had always
been the One Life tryout to decide whether we are worthy of
Heaven. Considering the unlevel playing field at birth
for most of the human race, the Christian concept of just one
life to prove one's virtue never seemed fair.
I was deeply intrigued by
Autobiography of a Yogi. At least now I had
finally found a religious system that made sense to me.
My need for Cosmic Justice had been appeased.
I deeply wished the
Material World was constructed the way Yogananda had illustrated. However, wishing doesn't prove anything. I had no proof
for the validity of these ideas. Nor did I have the
privilege to see any staffs turn from wood to snake.
I might add that
Karma and Reincarnation were not
easiest concepts to prove. But that didn't mean I
It was at this
moment that I decided to spend the rest of my life investigating these
ideas. In other words, my search for evidence of God began
the moment I read Yogananda's book.
don't just happen to me. They happen to all of us.
However, since coincidences don't happen very often, we
don't usually keep very good track of them.
Furthermore, most coincidences are
just plain silly which is why we dismiss them so readily.
I once had a girlfriend start singing 'People are
strange', a phrase from a Doors song that was
twenty years old. Oddly enough, I had just begun
singing the same song. We were walking in the
woods and there was no particular trigger. It was
pure coincidence. Was it important? No.
So we promptly forgot about it. But it was weird.
author Vladimir Nabokov, writer of Lolita,
once made fun of coincidence.
“A certain man once lost a diamond cuff-link in
the wide blue sea. Twenty years later, on
the exact date, even the same day of the week, a
Friday apparently, he was eating a large fish.
He looked inside, but there was no diamond.
That’s what I like about coincidence.”
not all coincidences are easily dismissed. Once in a while, a coincidence can be so abnormally
weird that it leaves us shaking our heads in
bewilderment. We search desperately for a rational
explanation, but no rational explanation ever appears.
In 1898, Morgan Robertson wrote a book
titled Futility. The
subtitle was The Wreck of the Titan.
The similarities in the book to the
actual wreck of the Titanic
In the fictional version
as well as the actual event, both ships
struck an iceberg in the middle of the
Both the story and the actual collision took
at midnight in mid-April.
The Titanic disaster took
400 miles from
disaster took place 400 miles from
Since the Titan
was considered unsinkable, it carried far
too few lifeboats, "as
few as the law allowed."
In real life, more than half
2200 passengers and crew died.
In the book, more than half
2500 passengers drowned.
Although Morgan Robertson was a well-known writer of short
stories, he became deeply
frustrated when no one would publish his
book. The rejection letters all said
the same thing.
no one will ever believe this story."
The sinking of the
Titanic took place in
Robertson wrote his book in 1898, a full 14 years before the
actual tragedy took place.
Yes, I know
the argument... random chance. With so many people
here on earth, statistically-speaking some weird stuff
is bound to happen sooner or later. Coincidences
don't prove anything. But they sure make you
possible to foresee events in the future? If there
really is such a thing as Fate, then perhaps there is
precognition as well. The Titan-Titanic
anecdote certainly suggests the possibility. I
once had an event of my own suggestive of precognition. Precognition is certainly not a gift I possess, yet
back in college one day I had a fantasy that became a
reality two weeks later.
It was March
1971. I was in the second semester of my Junior year in college. I was in the final phase of my
Magical Mystery Tour, the two year stretch I spent
in college pondering the mysteries of life. Out of
nowhere, a highly unusual idea crossed my mind.
As I sat in a reading room on campus
one afternoon, I grew
tired of studying. Taking a break, I found myself
daydreaming for a moment. I asked myself what sort of job I would
like to find for this upcoming summer. Until now, I had
not given summer employment a single thought.
That is when a fun thought
drifted into my mind. Wouldn't it be cool to be a camp
A big smile crossed my face. Very
I had spent my
life inside the protective walls of St. John's, my
high school, and Johns Hopkins, my
college. After twelve long years of study study
study, I was
sick of academia. Wouldn't it be great to get outdoors
for a change? Canoes, swimming, archery, softball, basketball,
hikes, practical jokes, marshmellows over campfires,
ghost stories... The very thought of it all had me smiling,
so I continued to daydream.
I like to be a counselor? Well, Colorado, of course.
I had visited Colorado several times as a boy and went
absolutely nuts over the mountains. To me,
Colorado was the most beautiful place on earth.
That is when
I stepped back. What an odd
thought this was. I had never been to a summer camp.
For that matter, I had never before thought of being a
camp counselor. Today the idea just popped into my head
out of nowhere. I casually wondered where such
strange thoughts come from. It was almost as if
someone had put the idea in my head.
As I rolled the
novel idea around, I agreed it sounded like fun.
practical side kicked in and dismissed the thought. How silly to even imagine.
What were the chances of finding a job like that?
thing, there wasn't much time left. This was
March. Summer was two months around the corner. Plus I had
absolutely no idea where to even begin looking. Since I had
never been to summer camp, I did not know the name
or location of a single place. Nor
did I know of anyone who had ever been to a summer camp
to offer a suggestion.
I didn't have the slightest idea how to go about applying.
It seemed unlikely that this reading room had any
magazines on summer camps.
if I tried hard enough, I could ask around and come up with the names of
several camps. However, how would I get hired?
Even if I
went to the trouble of sending a letter to a total stranger, why would they hire
me? What skill did I have to offer that made me special?
Long ago I had been a boy scout for one year, just long enough to
get a couple merit badges and
figure out the sun rises in the east. Would that be enough?
Unlikely. Let's face it... I had no unique skill
that made me any better than the rest.
my practical side suggested that
most camp counselors were chosen in-house. In other words,
any college student who had previously attended a particular summer camp as a
teenager would have the inside track. The ones who had made a good impression
as a camper
would surely be asked to return as a counselor.
hopeless. I shrugged.
Oh well. My camp counselor
idea was a nice fantasy, but far-fetched at best. It
seemed like a complete waste of time to give it another
thought, so I returned to my studies. I never
lifted a finger and soon forgot all about it.
Two weeks passed.
I was raised
as a Quaker. Homewood Friends Meeting was a place
next to campus where the Quakers met on Sundays.
I noticed they had a day care center, so one day I
dropped by and offered to do some volunteer
work. I liked playing with the kids and it was a fun thing
to do a couple afternoons a week. Normally pick-up basketball was
my afternoon activity, but I was doing this volunteer
work as a way to snap myself out of my constant loneliness.
I was playing with Eric,
age 4, my favorite kid. I made a point to seek him
out whenever I was there. Great kid, all boy. I
loved to chase Eric through the elevated playhouse,
across the hanging wood bridge and crawl through the tunnel, etc. I could be a great
monster when given the chance. Today I was in rare form.
I'm gonna get you, Eric, and when I catch you, I am gonna sit on you!!"
Eric and I
had a standing joke that monsters were so stupid they
thought "babysitting" meant sitting on the baby.
Hence the threat to sit on him. Eric
squealed with delight as I lumbered after him, growling
the whole time.
right in the middle of monster mania when Eric's mother
Jennifer arrived. When
called out to him that it was time to go, Eric immediately
began to protest. "I don't want to go, Mommy.
I want to stay here and play with Rick!"
Eric's protest was a part of our little game. The three of us went through this
practically every time Jennifer appeared.
Today I noticed Jennifer had a lady friend with her. The
woman was about 30, a couple years older than Jennifer and ten
years older than me.
She was much too old for me, but I could not help but
notice how pretty she was. I sighed
appreciatively and wished for the millionth time that
Hopkins had coeds. Then I blushed when I realized
had been watching our game of monsters. Good
grief. Jennifer already knew I was nuts, but this
pretty woman must think I was the silliest boy on
hugged his mother's leg, Jennifer noticed
my appreciative gaze at her guest. Jennifer decided to make an
"Rick, this is my
sister Mary Colvig. She is visiting me here in Baltimore for a
I smiled. I introduced myself and we shook
to Baltimore! Where are you from?"
quickly furrowed. Colorado? I instantly had
When I was a boy, I visited Colorado four different
summers with the Clarks, a family I am close to. I absolutely love
Colorado. In fact, I was thinking
of applying to graduate school in Colorado. What do you do
"My husband Craig
and I are opening a summer camp in Durango. This will be
our first year."
No way. My heart skipped a
Gee, that's an odd coincidence. I was thinking of
working as a
counselor this summer. I have been to Durango and I
love that area." I hesitated here. Did
I have the guts to ask? Yes, I did.
"Mary, I shouldn't ask, but do you have any openings?"
answer, I stopped breathing. I could not believe
this was happening. Maybe I was dreaming.
Nope, I wasn't dreaming.
by chance we
do! But we are leaving town tomorrow. Can you come over to Jennifer's house tonight and
speak to my husband Craig while we're still in Baltimore?"
I think Rick would be a terrific
counselor. He loves kids and the kids here at the day
school adore him.
Just look at Eric; Eric goes nuts over him."
comment, Mary broke into broad smile. She knew what
Jennifer was up to, but didn't mind a bit. If
anything, Mary appreciated hearing her sister's personal endorsement.
So did I. Wow!
Nice timing on the compliment. I smiled at Jennifer
and whispered a discreet 'thank you very much!'
I talked with
Mary's husband Craig that night. He liked me and,
boom, just like that, I got the job.
I would spend my
entire summer working at their camp in Durango, Colorado.
Wouldn't it be nice if everything in life was that easy??
“It's hard to believe in
coincidence, but it's even harder to believe in
The problem with
coincidences is that they are weird and they make no sense.
We have no scientific method to explain them.
Nor is there any way to test them.
Coincidences don't happen very often. A
coincidence will appear out of nowhere and then they are
gone. At this point, we are left with wonder and
confusion. Once life kicks in and we get distracted,
it is easier just to forget about it and move on.
Rather than hold the Universe accountable for an event that
seems to break all known laws of probability, we chalk it off as
something odd, then get on with things.
I refuse to let it go. Thanks to the Yogananda
autobiography, I pay close attention to everything
that happens to me. Okay, so
a coincidence by itself proves nothing. However,
what happens when we begin to add up several
my childhood, I identified eight coincidences that
seemed to defy all logic. I covered these events in my previous book, A Simple Act of Kindness.
walked in my room at the exact moment to catch me
cheating... I arrived at a train station just in
time to see my girlfriend betray me.... a
grocery store manager saw me
walking by at the exact time he had an emergency
job opening I could help with...
an idle thought stopped my progress just in time to
see a hurtling car fly past my eyes... a woman from my
school appeared out of nowhere at a different
location to rescue me from the
deepest depression of my life.... a book on chess
appeared as if by magic to help me destroy a
nemesis... a pin-point basketball toss ended my
basketball career... a traffic accident on a
very busy street at noon left me lying unable to
move on the street, but no car was in sight...
I believe the
existence of unusual coincidences raises a lot of questions.
Unfortunately I have no definitive answer to these
questions. All I know is that the coincidences in my
life have aroused my curiosity. At what point do we stop chalking
extreme coincidence up to random chance and begin to look
for a better explanation? How many coincidences does
it take before someone has the right to be curious? Is
I have spent my
entire life speculating that one possible explanation for
what we call 'luck' and 'coincidence' might be unseen
entities. Is it possible that some sort of
Guardian Angel was responsible for arranging some or all of
my coincidences? These entities could very well
coordinate certain events in our lives without any knowledge
that we are being manipulated. Our only clue that
someone might be toying with us again is when the odds of
the event defy all laws of probability.
My own experiences lead me to wonder
if certain 'chance events' are not 'chance' at all, but
rather somehow arranged behind the scene according to a
master plan. What exactly is 'luck'? What
exactly is a 'miracle'?
explanation for strange events is the Quiet Whisper
theory. Sometimes I ask myself where 'ideas' come from.
Naturally we all believe in our own imagination, but what if
it is possible for an outside force to contact us? We speak of
'inspiration', but who exactly 'inspires' us?
We think some thought is our own idea, but maybe the idea came
from somewhere outside of us.
Is it possible there are entities beyond our sight who have
the power to put ideas into our minds using the power of
telepathy? Is it possible our thought processes can be
influenced in some way without our realizing it?
five years old. I wanted to cut a thick piece
of rope in half. I found a dull kitchen knife
and went to work on the front step of the house.
My mistake was to pull the knife towards me instead
of away from me. Yes, I was very stupid.
So are a lot of five year old kids.
ten minutes, I was nearly finished, but I wasn't
aware of it. Unbeknownst to me, there were
just a couple strands of thread left. Suddenly
my mother called to me from another room. She
had no idea what I was up to, but there was urgency
in her voice.
we need to go right now. Whatever it is you
are doing, hurry up!"
the urgency, I decided to give the rope
one more big tug. The knife went right through
the rope and continued on through
my left eye.
my point? The timing was inexplicable. Without my mother's voice, I would
have finished cutting the rope at a normal pace with
no problem. And yet the exact timing of her call was
to overlook. Did the
laws of karma dictate that I was to lose an eye that
day? If so, did someone put the idea in my
mother's mind to shout at me at the exact time
to send me into a panic? Did someone plant the
idea in my mind to give the rope a mighty tug?
Most people wouldn't give it a second thought, but I
analyze everything. I never forgot it was her
voice that made me take that giant stroke.
That said, please be aware I never blamed my mother
for my blind eye.
course this sounds preposterous. My realistic
side is well aware of that. However,
if God exists...
and there are a lot of people who believe that He does...
then is it that much of a stretch to believe there
might be a system in place to coordinate important
it was my Destiny to lose an eye that
Que sera, sera.
my lost eye incident means
nothing. However, when one begins to line up
each individual incident side by side, a pattern
begins to emerge. At this point, that which we
call Reality starts to take on a
much different meaning. Perhaps there is a
hidden world that controls our life.
A MEDITATION ON
is a small miracle in which God chooses to
remain anonymous.” --
“Coincidence is the word
we use when we can't see the levers and
"Coincidences are God's
way of remaining anonymous." -- Doris
"When you live your life
with an appreciation of Coincidences and their
meanings, you connect with the underlying field
of infinite possibilities." -- Deepak
Ever since I
finished reading Autobiography of a Yogi, I have given the subject of Destiny
a lot of thought. For a while there in college, I was
seriously depressed because it seemed like I had no free
will. If everything is predestined, then why bother
struggling all the time? What will be, will be.
So I stopped studying. God will take care of me.
The moment I saw my grades fall, I changed my mind. I
had no idea whether I had free will or not, but for my life
to work, I needed to assume I was still the captain of my
own ship. So I resumed my disciplined life.
As it turns out,
the esteemed physicist Stephen Hawking agrees with my
have noticed something curious. Even people who
claim everything is predestined and that we can do
nothing to change it still look before they cross the
When I was
6, my father and I
shared a very frightening moment. This incident took place
about six months after I had accidentally sliced my eye open with a kitchen knife. Dad had recently been
transferred to Houston from Bethesda, Maryland, by his company.
after I cut my eye out, Dad took me to a carnival. I
was five at the time and still walking around with a giant
patch over my left eye.
The doctors were still trying to save the eye, but it seemed
thing was that my father had lost his left eye too about the
same age. Dad was walking home from school when a brick had fallen off a wall and hit him in the eye.
The brick should have just hit him on top of his head, but
for some reason he had looked up at the exact moment to
cause that much damage.
Now my father was
spooked that I had suffered a similar fate. Dad
was a big Edgar Cayce fan. Thanks to Edgar Cayce, Dad
believed in Fate. He was certain that some unseen
entity had pushed that brick off the wall and made him look
up. Unfortunately I was too young to understand
what he was talking about.
Today's plan was
for me to have fun for a while. Afterwards, we were going to
go watch a stock car
a race track located behind the carnival. Dad let me play games for a while - ring toss, baseball
toss, haunted house, house of mirrors, etc. However, after
an hour of this, Dad became impatient and said it was time to
the stock car show. I could have cared less about the car
racing, but a deal's a deal, so I tagged along without protest.
we began making our way to the race track, I could hear the loud
roar of the powerful car engines, but I couldn't see them. The
cars were hidden behind an eight foot wooden fence. The drivers warmed
up their cars
by barreling around the track. The loud roars of these
powerful machines were actually quite frightening to me
because we were very close. The fence was ten
feet to the left of our sidewalk. Those thunderous
roars made it clear one edge of the oval racetrack was on
the other side of that fence.
Suddenly I stopped in my
tracks. A whim had crossed my mind. I had
just noticed a game where I could shoot wooden ducks with an air
rifle using corks for bullets. Don't ask me why, but I
suddenly had an irresistible urge to play.
I tugged on
my father's arm and pointed with my other hand. "Dad, let me play that game!"
"No, Rick, you've had enough."
But I wouldn't take no for
answer. I refused to let go of his arm.
One last game, please??"
Just as the word
'please' left my mouth, we were startled by the horrible sound of a
loud crash. We had been standing
there debating for no more than 8 seconds when we were jolted by a crash on our left. Since we were both blind in
our left eyes, we
had no peripheral vision. As we whirled our heads in panic,
we screamed as an enormous metal race car came hurtling straight at us.
There was no time to react.
wooden fence had not slowed the powerful car one bit. Now something
caused the car to leave the ground. It was literally
flying directly towards us at jet speed. There was
no time to step back. We were sitting ducks. To
my shock, the car missed us. Right before my eyes, the car flew past me.
The car was so close I could have touched it as it went by.
It missed killing us by at most a foot. The displaced air knocked us both down with a rush.
A moment later the car
crashed violently into a telephone pole ten feet to my right. The impact was
brutal; the driver was killed
instantly. He had paid the ultimate price for losing control of his
car. As we scrambled to our feet, we heard a snapping sound.
We stared in horror as the phone pole
broke in two and collapsed on top of the crumpled car.
Dad was in shock.
I was too. I couldn't get over that poor lifeless driver
slumped over the wheel in the car, so I started to cry.
Dad stared at me funny.
He had the weirdest look on his face.
"Son, if you
hadn't stopped me, we would both be dead now."
Why was I spared
that day? Was it luck or was it an angel? Did some unseen entity put that thought in
my mind to cause me to hesitate? I ask again: How much actual control do we have over our lives?
It has been over
2,500 years since the Trojan War, but I am always surprised
at how many people seem to believe in Destiny
just as the Greeks did. From time to time, I ask
people what they think about Destiny. To
my surprise, many people nod a quiet acceptance.
Almost to a person, they agree some things happen for a
aren't quite sure exactly what is going on, but
there are mysteries to Life that leave them wondering.
No matter how much Science has done to explain the laws of
nature, today many people remain just as superstitious as
the Greeks were.
I cannot prove
anything that Yogananda says, but I definitely believe there
is more to this world than I can even imagine. Based
on a lifetime of observation, I have come to believe that
every now and then, certain events really do happen for a
When I was in
high school, there was a young man named George.
George was tall, handsome, and athletic. He was
also funny. George made people laugh. I envied
George more than any other boy in school. While I hung back in the shadows
to hide my throbbing, acne-covered face from view, George
basked in the sunlight. George had that gift known as
popularity. George had an
easy-going charm that made him irresistible.
Wherever George went, I noticed there was a flock of
pretty girls who followed alongside. The girls
laughed and smiled at his every word. Considering how lonely I was and how ugly I felt, what I wouldn't
have given to have
that kind of charm and popularity. I wanted to trade
places with George in the worst possible way.
One night in a
close football game against Kinkaid, our main rival, the ball carrier tried to sweep around
the end with two blockers in front of him. George was playing
left end on defense. When he saw
the two blockers,
George saw an opening between them. He made an instantaneous decision.
threw his body directly
through the narrow gap between the two blockers. One
George high, the other hit George low. They broke his
neck. As I watched George lie motionless on the field,
take a guess how much I wanted to switch places
father was the team physician. I cannot imagine
the pain of watching one's son being broken in half.
His son would never walk again.
I will never
forget that moment.
The memory is still vivid. I started to cry the
moment I saw the accident.
It broke my heart. George lived the remainder of his
life in a wheel chair. All it takes is an illness or
an accident. One drunk driver or a madman with a
gun and our lives could change in the blink of an eyelash.
One would think here in modern times that most people would scoff
at the thought that our lives are controlled by unseen
hands. What insane thought crossed George's mind to make him launch
his body in that dangerous attempt to tackle the ball carrier?
Again I ask... do we really know where impulsive thoughts
I am well aware the readers of this book will wonder
just how good my grip on reality might be. All I can
say is that I am considered level-headed by most. To
me there are simply too many unexplained things in this
world not to wonder.
Nor do I think I
am the only one who is curious. When strange things happen, there are many
people like myself who cannot help but wonder if some
or accident had our name on it. Have you ever
noticed that the English language is replete with phrases
that reflect the same helplessness the Greeks must have
meant to be."
had his name on it."
you doing here of all places?"
on his shoulder."
"It was in
Nor is the
belief in Destiny limited to English. In
Arabic, it is known as Kismet. In
German, Shicksal. In
Spanish, it is Que Sera. Every language
has a word for Destiny.
such a thing as Prophecy? Did Nostradamus really
predict the fire of London, the French Revolution, and rise
Did Edgar Cayce, the Sleeping Prophet, really see the past
lives of two thousand people?
I contend that
deep down, most of us suspect we are at the mercy of powers
greater than ourselves. We can't prove it and we
know it is irrational to feel this way, but some part of our
brain just can't seem to shake the suspicion.
Could it be that
we all have a Destiny? What if
there is Reincarnation? What if each life is meant to
follow a script of sorts? What if each incarnation is meant to be
a new series of opportunities to learn lessons, acquire new
abilities, develop our consciousness and learn compassion
Please be aware
I do not present these ideas as 'Fact'. These ideas
are merely my speculation, not something I have any direct
knowledge on. I am neither psychic nor prophet.
I am not 'enlightened' in any way. No angel has ever
revealed themselves to me nor have I heard voices. I am merely a
normal guy who has spent his entire life asking questions
about life's mysteries.
is the story of how my dance
In this book, I will carefully recount
the lucky breaks, unusual
coincidences and long-shot
gambles that led me to create my dance studio against all odds.
suppose each particular event in and of
itself is no big deal. But when viewed as part of a collection,
a picture will emerge that resembles a series of stepping
stones. These seemingly
unconnected events draw a path. I hope my stories will help
explain my conclusion that there was no way I could have
accomplished this amazing climb on my own. Someone was
helping me behind an invisible curtain. To me, there
is no better explanation.
believe in Fate. I am one of them. But please
don't expect me to prove it. I am powerless to do
that. Fate, Luck, Reincarnation and Coincidence are concepts that are
not susceptible to rigorous proof. No doubt a
scientist or statistician can come up with all sorts of
explanations for my uncanny streak of luck. On the
other hand, we all know from time to time things happen that
science simply cannot explain to our satisfaction.
people look at the long odds, they shake their heads in
confusion because science doesn't have a good answer.
everyone else, I would like to find proof of the existence
of God. Wouldn't it be nice if God would appear
regularly on the talk shows and explain the Mysteries of the
Universe to us? But it doesn't work like that.
So I am forced to look for subtle clues instead.
I have written
this book to offer my testimony on why I
believe in Destiny. My story will not
prove anything, but it will make people think. This
book is about Life's mysteries. I suspect
that after reading my story, even some of the skeptics will begin to wonder if there is more to
this world than meets the eye.
I hope you enjoy