Sometimes random encounters can change our life forever. This was the case when I met Jeff Carreira for lunch at a vegan restaurant in 2012. The next time you meet someone through unusual circumstances, stay open and allow the bigger picture to reveal itself in time.
I was desperate to feel differently, willing to take any measures. The funk I felt was similar to the bottom I reached at the end of my drinking career. I had become sober and grown immeasurably. How the hell did I end up spiritually bankrupt again? Every line item that I thought was needed for a happy life was checked: husband, kids, apartment, friends, personal trainer, and designer clothes, etc. On the outside, my life looked ideal, but according to what blueprint? Whose plan was I following anyway? Had I unconsciously been trying to recreate a better version of my childhood? Had I been hanging out in yesterday’s transformation for too long?
Meeting a middle-aged man who was a teacher at a spiritual community for lunch definitely took me way outside my comfort zone. When a man of medium stature with curly dark hair walked in and looked over, we identified each other immediately.
Our conversation was awkward at first until Jeff asked me why I was there. Three hours later, we were still there, holding hands across the table crying. “What if you had the same exact life but felt entirely different? That is what I can offer you,” Jeff said with certainty. It was a movie that I would have turned off a day before. I had no idea what he meant, or how he could make this happen, but at that moment I trusted him fully. “Give me a week to think through the best way to work together. I have a lot on my plate right now and don’t normally take on private clients” he said, as we were getting up from the table. A week was way too long, but I was in no position to push him.
Jeff also mentioned joining forces with another teacher, Patricia Albere, to run a year-long course called the Evolutionary Collective. Jeff asked if I would be interested in signing up for that group. I informed him that I was NOT a group person. All this talk of spiritual teachers and year-long commitments was more than I could handle. Working one-on-one with Jeff replicated the shrink model I knew well.
To my relief, Jeff called a few days later. “I have thought about it, and I can’t wait to work with you. I think talking at least once a week is important.” Over the moon, I asked if we could begin that day and he agreed.