[Editor’s Note: Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I’ve got a cool story to share – but it’s a little long. So, please allow yourself some extra time to fully take in this post – you’ll be glad you did!]
My confidence was shaken, then my faith restored…all within a matter of a few days.
Just as we were leaving to embark on a Midwest road trip to catch a few shows with my all-time favorite performer, Neil Diamond, I allowed some external voices to grab ahold of me. I let some things in that made me question what the heck I was doing, what I was spending my money on, what I was doing with my time, and how I was living my life.
Woah, I was shocked at how much power I gave to this external voice. Even though I’m 43, I still yearn for affirming approval from those important to me, ya know?
Normally a confident gal, as I was packing – I was also second-guessing myself. That internal questioning almost felt like a physical pain.
I knew with 100% certainty that this type of fun adventure with Bill would bring me tremendous joy. I knew that when we do these things, we spread a great deal of joy to others on our travels. I knew this type of experience was a part of my core and a part of who I am. And yet, I still allowed someone else’s voice to become louder than my own.
I work with my clients on this stuff all the time. But this time it was mine.
Bill and I believe that a big part of our purpose here on earth is to experience joy and share our stories with the world. Our intention is to help others know what is possible and that you can have the life you dream of. Especially when you are clear about what you want, your intentions are pure, you keep the greater good in mind, and you believe you are worthy and deserve it.
If you’ve read any bit of this blog, you’ve seen a sampling of some of the amazing life experiences we’ve encountered! And it seems that when we share our stories with the world, others are inspired and moved to take action in their own lives with a renewed trust in life’s abundance.
So, we make sure to embrace the things in life that bring us joy. While we’ve got a huge list of those things, a couple biggies at the top are classic rock concerts (this will explain why!) and road trips. Magical things always happen for us when we honor what fuels us; what fills our hearts. We’ve made it a priority to take at least one summer rock ‘n roll road trip each of the last several years. Here’s a fun write-up from last summer’s awesome road trip!
Preparing with an open heart
In preparation for this year’s road trip, though, I had to put the self-doubt and questioning out of my mind…which is not always easy to do. But I sat down and wrote about what was important to me and what I envisioned for our trip. I have a support team of angels all around me (we all do!) for protection, support, and cheerleading. They’ve always playfully been involved at the forefront when Bill and I go to concerts. Hopefully, you’ve read some of our fun stories that involve front row, backstage, and all kinds of other fun!
[Sidenote: Before you continue, you should know about what a big Neil Diamond fan I am!]
So I wrote a letter to my angels – writing helped make it real and cement it for me – in appreciation for always showing up on our adventures (go here, here, and here for examples!). I wrote that we were about to head out for three Neil Diamond concerts, with no tickets in-hand, and if this is really what we were supposed to be doing (embracing our joy, going to concerts, embarking on road trips, etc.), then I trust that they’ll help us out where needed – working their magic – presenting us with perfect seats and divine timing!
Of course, I wrote that we would do our part and keep looking for great tickets as well.
So…we set off on our trip with the intention of having a blast and being open to whatever magic was in store for us. We knew that everything would unfold exactly as it was meant to.
Off to a great start
While it was the string of concerts that served as a catalyst for our road trip adventure, every other bit of the trip was just as important. We prefered not to make the long drive straight through to Chicago, where the first show took place. We wanted to enjoy every moment of the adventure and stop somewhere fun along the way.
We spent our first night in Madison, Wisconsin – what a great city! It was swelteringly hot. I know everyone complains about the intense heat, but I love it. I feel like I’m being wrapped in a warm and loving blanket and I can’t get enough of it.
In addition to walking and exploring downtown in the extreme heat that night, we found that our hotel was connected to an expansive public terrace overlooking a beautiful lake. This is where we watched the sun set and also saw the moon rise.
When we awoke early the next morning, the temperature was already in the mid 90’s with super high humidity. We still kept to our morning walking ritual, though!
We love being just the two of us, off on an adventure. Fortunately, we’re great travel partners and always enjoy the same things. We love to do little random acts of kindness along the way like leave big tips wherever we go and pay for the person behind us at a toll booth. So much fun to share.
Next up, we had a ball in Chicago. On our drive in, the thermometer hit 109 degrees! We tried out new restaurants and bars (ask Bill about his new intrigue, Trump Vodka); we walked and walked and walked; we people-watched; we went to Ghirardelli for ice cream sundaes late at night when we shouldn’t have (I still feel a bit ill thinking about it – ugh).
And there we had our first of the three Neil Diamond concerts. On this tour, it has been really tough to get tickets. It’s a shorter tour with pretty much only one show per select big city, while in the past Neil has always done multiple shows in these larger cities. We knew Chicago was going to be a high-demand event.
But sure enough, at our hotel the afternoon of the concert – we met a “guy who knew a guy” and we scored some awesome 7th row seats just hours before the show. Woohoo!
Excellent concert. Great time had by all!
The magic begins to unfold
The next morning when we left our Chicago hotel, though, was when the real magic began. As we started up the car for the next leg of our road trip (destination: Milwaukee), Jefferson Starship’s “Miracles” came on the radio.
This classic 70’s tune always accompanies the magical experiences in our lives (check out this post for more!). Even though we had been checking for tickets consistently for days – with absolutely nothing available – this song was our reminder to take a breath and trust that all was working out for us.
Hearing “Miracles” quickly melted away any anxiety and doubt we were feeling.
We arrived at our beautiful Milwaukee hotel and were so grateful for such a nice room in a perfect downtown location. Still with no tickets in-hand, we dropped our stuff off in our room, changed into our concert attire, and ventured out.
We made our way down the street to the Milwaukee Brat House where we hopped on a free shuttle to Summerfest – a big-time 75-acre music festival with 11 stages and hundreds of bands over 11 days! Their tagline is “The World’s Largest Music Festival.” I don’t know whether or not that’s actually true, but it sure seemed right-on to me!
In the shuttle (where the party atmosphere was already kicking into high gear), everyone was talking about the big concert, where they traveled from, where they were sitting, etc. “How about you – where are you guys sitting?” they asked us. Bill’s reply: “Well, there are a couple of seats there with our names on them but we don’t quite have ‘em yet.” That garnered a few comments like “Bummer!” or “You know there’s no good seats left, right?”
We just smiled at each other, choosing to stay positive.
We got dropped off and trusted that some great seats would open up before showtime. We wandered around the grounds, got a slice of pizza and a beer, and after a while went back out to the front gates in hopes of hooking up with a ticket broker who had great seats or scoring some newly released seats at the box office. However, everyone we talked to told us that this show was a really big event and we would just have to be satisfied with the few available lawn seats way in the back.
But, I didn’t believe that!
Bill and I both kept feeling like there were spots up front for us. It’s what we had been visualizing. It’s where we felt like we were supposed to be.
In between checking with the box office and random ticket brokers, we also had our smartphones with various apps to help us find tickets. Still nothing, though, and yikes – it was getting late in the day!
At one point, I paused, took a deep breath, and happened to look down only to find a penny at my feet. Not only did I remember the “Find a penny, pick it up, and all day long you’ll have good luck” phrase from childhood, but I also remembered a friend’s idea that when you find a penny it’s a wink from a loved one up above. Regardless of what it meant, it felt good and I put it in my pocket.
Two hours before showtime
Outside of the festival grounds and in the near 100-degree heat, we met a lot of cool people. Everyone was doing the same thing – waiting around for great tickets to open up. But nothing seemed to move. I knew we were going to get excellent seats; I just knew it.
But I was also getting anxious to get back inside the gates! I wanted to be able to enjoy the festival and the beautiful evening on the shores of Lake Michigan. After all, we drove a long way to get there!
Even though each ticket person consistently gave me a firm “No,” I tried once again.
My phone screen was so small and the sun was shining so brightly, that I didn’t even know if I was seeing the right thing. We had been to so many shows in the recent past that all of the venue seating charts began to meld into one in my head! My Ticketmaster app said there were two seats in Row D. That’s Row Four…right?
I ran over to Bill who was sitting underneath the only tree in the area to try to catch even a sliver of shade in the sweltering sun. “Is this right?!” I said to him. He shot up off the bench like a coach and a cheerleader all-in-one and shouted: “Grab ‘em!!!”
My fingers were shaking as I concentrated with all my might to correctly tap the tiny “Continue and Buy” button versus the nearby “Give These Tickets Up and Try Again” button on my phone.
After a couple of tense moments, I GOT THEM! Everyone in the area swarmed around me and asked how I did it. As my heart was pounding, I just humbly smiled with deep appreciation and said, “I’ve got Ticket Angels watching out for me.”
The bigger meaning
Every time I share one of these stories here on the blog, I always say that of course the excitement was about getting the great tickets. But more importantly, though, that excitement – on a bigger-picture level – was really about the power of abundance and what is possible. That is – what’s possible when we are clear about what we want, our intentions are pure, and we’re following our joy.
WOW! Once again, we did it!
The first person we wanted to tell was a guy that Bill and I had been hanging out with – he was there trying to get tickets for someone else. Cool guy, great company. He was elated that we had gotten such great seats. As Bill and I were ready to claim our tickets at will-call and go inside the gates, for some reason, I felt like I wanted to hug him. It was then he told us that his son had just been murdered a couple weeks ago.
Who could talk? There were no words to say. But I knew the penny I found was meant for him, so I quietly passed it along. Bill and I were grateful to have our paths cross with his. And what a sobering way to be reminded of the preciousness of life. It was a heartwarming experience for us as he showed us other assorted items that random people had passed on to him recently.
After a few quiet moments, I thought I better get up to the window to claim our tickets. The woman behind the window had seen me over the course of the afternoon and knew I had been looking for seats. When she saw that I had just scored Row D tickets, she was shocked that I got them before she did! “How on earth did you do that?!” she asked.
She then quickly pointed out, “You do know that where you’re sitting, there is no Row A, B, or C…right?”
You have got to be kidding me. Front row.
Letting it all sink in
Bill and I went back through the entrance gates into the festival and in a seemingly random motion, ran right into one of our favorite members of Neil’s band. Hmmm, perfect. I just happened to have a card in my purse addressed to the whole band sharing my appreciation. Love how that stuff works! So, I handed it off to John, chatted a minute, and we were back on our way.
After another slice of pizza and another beer, we made our way to the big outdoor amphitheater. For me, it was a mixture of being giddy with excitement and being humbled to the point of not really being able to talk.
In my previous letter to my team of angels (before we left for our road trip), I wrote:
“Your ‘magic’ is a tangible way for us to share with others about what is possible. Our stories of synchronicity and serendipity blow others away…as well as blow us away! When we share our stories, it seems to renew faith and hope in others. We feel like a big part of our purpose here on earth is to spread sunshine and joy – individually and together. You help us do that! When you help to make the stars line up for magic to unfold, we enthusiastically share that joy with others.”
“The ticket magic in our lives has been incredible! I’m sure you can feel our deep gratitude and appreciation for all the amazing concert experiences – front row, backstage, dancing, joy, connectedness, music that fills our souls. Woohoo!”
“So now, on this upcoming road trip, we invite and encourage more playful magic! We trust that the stars are aligning right now for us to fill those front row seats where we shine our lights and love to Neil and the band and lead the way for the rest of the crowd. We are up for the task and dutifully fulfill our mission.”
“We will do our part and continue to look for those great seats and trust that you will present them to us at just the perfect time. We also trust in the greater good and know that all will unfold perfectly.”
As we made our way to our seats, we breathed in everything. We walked way slower than usual. We looked all around and noticed every minute detail: The random assortment of people in all shapes and sizes, the hot breeze, the concession food smells, the background music piped in, the varied ages of the concert goers, the seagulls flying by, the excitement in the air, the buzz of the crew and security, the sweat on our skin.
Then we got to our seats with eyes open wide, jaws dropped.
Yeah, it was the front row – just a few feet from the stage. So cool – those two seats were meant for us. We don’t know how it happened (nor did any of the ticket pros we came across), but the “how” doesn’t matter. I couldn’t help but think this was the biggest nod ever from up above saying: “Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep enjoying life. Keep spreading the joy. Keep being who you are.”
An affirmation that made my heart soar.
I had graciously asked for a sign at a time of confusion and self-doubt, and it’s as though the response from the Universe was, “Here ya go, Girlfriend. Have a ball.”
Bill and I sat down in our two red padded folding chairs. We were choked up and looked at each other with tear-filled eyes and then back again to the proximity of the stage. Our glances were silent acknowledgements to each other that we know we are being watched over. I could just feel Bill’s appreciation for this universal support; for this playful magic that consistently shows up in our life.
It’s an incredibly humbling feeling to repeatedly experience things outside of the “normal” realm of possibility.
We still had plenty of time before the show, so we made our way all the way back to the lawn seats to get a view of the amphitheater from there. What an incredible vantage point! And yet, we were beyond grateful for our newly secured up-close and personal seats. :)
We had an absolutely unforgettable night with Neil and his amazing band. We were up on our feet dancing, clapping, and singing along – sharing our joy with the guys right in front of us on stage and the thousands next to us and behind us. Talk about magical. We were both sweating and had gooseumps at the same time. Crazy.
When the show let out, we floated through the grounds on a post-concert high. Thinking we would just head back to the hotel, instead we happened to walk by one of the free concert stages and heard an eerily similar rendition of the B-52’s “Love Shack.” So we kept the party going and started dancing with people in the crowd. “Wait! Look at the screen!” I said to Bill and motioned to the big jumbo screen next to the stage. It was the B-52’s! Ha ha, too funny. That made us smile big. “Tin roof…rusted!”
After their high-energy encore, we sat on a bench together and devoured a couple of hot soft pretzels and downed giant bottles of water (it was still HOT!), continuing to take everything in.
Wow, what a night.
The shuttle ride back to the Brat House also became one of the highlights! Just like magic, as we walked out the exit gates – our shuttle pulled up. Thousands of other people were lined up waiting for various buses and anxious to get outta there. But we just waltzed right on to our little party bus! There were probably close to 20 sweaty adults on what I think was probably a van meant for only 12.
The driver was selling beer from a cooler up front (no one needed any, including my sidekick in the picture below) and he had Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” blasting on continuous repeat. And when that one wore out, it was Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” we sang over and over (a pre-cursor to this experience just a few months later?).
With all the windows down, we mostly 40-somethings were shouting the lyrics at the top of our lungs and pumping our fists out of the windows. It may have been one of the biggest spectacles on that Sunday night in Milwaukee as everyone on the downtown streets stopped what they were doing to have a look at the mayhem that was driving by.
A classic moment in time. Bill and I were on the back bench laughing during the whole ride – we felt like we were back in college! There was even a Neil look-a-like onboard with a sequined shirt. The scene was surreal!
No room for doubt!
Before the trip, just a few days prior, I doubted myself. Big-time. But after posting a photo on Facebook of Bill and me before one of the shows, the first comment that was left just minutes afterward was: “I’m so glad that you and the love of your life have so much fun going to concerts. Please keep on living your dream and inspiring others to do the same. You have that gift and it shows!”
There were several other comments and messages I received. This quote I saw on Facebook that day really hit it home for me, too: “The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.” Awesome. Made me think back to that external voice I allowed in before we left. As long as “I” love my decisions, that’s all that matters. Who cares what anyone else thinks.
Third and final show
While on the road trip, we still had one final show to secure! The one in our hometown – the Twin Cities, Minnesota. It was taking place just two days after we returned home. And, once again, there were no good tickets available.
On a whim, Bill just happened to check out Craigslist, which we never use for tickets. Just when we’re taught to be leery of that site and the various ticket scams out there, we came across THE nicest guy from Iowa who simply could not make the show.
And he had front row seats! These were the only front row seats we ever saw available for this show.
With the concert just a couple days away, I asked the guy on the phone as we drove down the Wisconsin interstate: “How will I know that this is legitimate and I will get the tickets in the mail?”
He replied, “I’ll tell you what. I trust you. I will overnight the tickets and you just send me the money when you receive them.” Not only did I know he was telling the truth, but I was so appreciative for coming across a cool guy who was willing to help me with my dream – that I logged on to PayPal as soon as we checked into our hotel and sent him even more money than he asked for.
Trust that people will do right by you…and they will. Thank you, Todd, from Iowa. Turned out to be one of the (many) best nights of my life. :)
Midwest Summer Road Trip 2012 was a success. A big one. Not only because we scored amazing seats and had a BLAST, but because in the face of questioning – I was forced to stand up for doing what is right for me. And I felt supported all along the way.
Interesting, too, that whenever we return from a joyful experience – vacation or road trip or concert adventure – my LifeShine business always picks up. In fact, the week we got back, four new clients signed-up for coaching with me! A new record for just one week. I see it as another nod from the Universe that I’m on the right track.
Now, I get to share my message of abundance with four lovely new clients who want to make a positive change in their lives and make a difference in the world.
Bottom line: When you follow the things that bring you joy, magic awaits.