In the late 1960s when our three children were young, we spent a year in Northern India where Herb was teaching at a new Institute on the Ganges Plain—IIT Kanpur. The same night we arrived all the electricity went out—not an uncommon occurrence, we were soon to learn—but for me it was a magical experience as I’d never seen a night sky so richly crowded with stars as I saw that night. It heralded a year of life-changing (and life-threatening) adventures, a year that bonded us deeply as a family.

The family across the street from where we lived had a daughter named Lakshmi, who my daughter idolized, with her curly black braids and shining black eyes. Long ago their Daddies were colleagues at the Institute and the girls were playmates, but when the year was up and we left the campus for home, we inevitably all lost touch, except that Rebecca, who had loved her friend well, named her new kitten “Lakshmi” after we returned home to California, so Lakshmi remained a part of our family story for many years. Totally by some kind of magic last week, at a simple cabin of a mutual friend here in the Vermont woods, I was introduced to Lakshmi all grown up and gorgeous! Exchanging stories about India, we realized we had lived on the same lane in the same year on the IIT Campus! Needless to say, we were both astonished!

That meant our families had been close neighbors! And she and my children had been playmates 60 years ago! Last week when I met her mother, we knew one another immediately and we hugged and wept together and even started gossiping about our neighbors from long ago! This story still seems like a fairytale to me but it will no doubt unroll further when Rebecca comes next week to meet again with her playmate from the other side of the world after more than half a century!

So I am thinking about ‘unexpected happenings’ these days, the seemingly impossible that happens anyway, the unlikely surprises that quickly become ‘normal’ as we adjust to changing realities, and how we figure out how to live in them. It is time—in fact it is more than time—to prepare for major changes in our lives because they are coming, and coming on fast: droughts and floods; earthquakes and fires; political insanity; whole families surviving on the streets.

And perhaps even visitations from other conscious beings of other worlds … which just may be the good news!

We are still stuck in denial and are hardly ready to respond. Scared out of our wits we duck and cover, but the warming water we’ve been soaking in is reaching a boiling point and I pray that enough of us will jump out of the pot ready to act on what to do next before the heat kills us.

Personally, I’ve been waiting for this time of ‘waking up’ for years, hoping I would still be around for the experience. I’ve figured that eventually we would get closer to what has been called ‘the shift,’ when the three-dimensional descriptions of the world we live in got larger, expanding in our minds to a larger multi-dimensional reality in which we live, recognizing that our world was composed of interlacing levels of experience, of more and more subtle levels of reality than we supposed. That we knew by experience that we were each kin not only with one another, but with all of life from microplankton on up—maybe even from stones and mosses, on up!

We share this earth with it all from invisible viruses to whales and dolphins, carrots and redwood trees, ants and elephants and one another—and what about the Earth herself, with her ocean depths and towering mountain peaks all spinning around our Sun that is also spinning through Space along with all her sister-planets, in one gorgeous galaxy amongst millions more, all in motion, a universal do-si-do taking all of us with Her wherever She goes!

We have never been separate, I wager, we just thought we were because that was all we thought we could see. As my grand-daughter Elizabeth put it when she was five,

“It’s the love-glue of the Universe, Grandma!”

How could she know that at her young age, and be able to express it so perfectly? I was stunned.

“Yes Lizzie, it is the Love-Glue of the Universe, you’ve got it!”

OK. We are in good hands, I believe, dire as it all seems. Look to the young ones, I’d say. They are here for a purpose, may they be blessed. Start with the babies and I figure the rest, with the mature support of the grown-ups (that’s our job), will take care of itself.

So I’m listening to the children, getting to know my new neighbors, especially the kids and with my eyes wide open, jumping into the love-glue of the Universe. That seems like a good idea to me; it’s a lot more fun than brooding and more often than not there are warm hugs to be had and lots of laughter.

Makes sense to me, and why ever not?

I mean, what’s not to love?

You’ll find this piece is an audio piece on Carolyn North OutLoud. Read for you by producer, Leslie Jackson. Enjoy.