I was hanging out with a group of girlfriends in Maui for my birthday (minus Gayle, who had a previous engagement with CBS This Morning). I'd just come back from India and wanted to have a spa retreat at my house to celebrate turning 58.
As girlfriends do even at this age, we sat around the table and talked till midnight. On the night before my birthday, five of the eight of us were still at the table at 12:30 A.M., worn out from a five-hour conversation that had run the gamut from men to microdermabrasion. Lots of laughing, some tears. The kind of talking women do when we feel safe.
In two days I would be interviewing the famed spiritual teacher Ram Dass, and by coincidence I started to hum a line from a song invoking his name.
Suddenly my friend Maria said, "What's that you're humming?"
"Oh, just a line from a song I like."
She said, "I know that song. I listen to it every night."
"No way," I said. "It's an obscure song on an album by a woman named Snatam Kaur."
"Yes!" Maria said. "Yes! Yes! Snatam Kaur! I listen to her every night before I go to bed. How do you know her music?"
"Peggy"—another friend who was with us—"gave me a CD two years ago, and I've been listening ever since. I play her every day before meditating."
Now we were both screaming and laughing. "No way!"
"I actually thought of having her come to sing for my birthday," I said when I caught my breath. "Then I went, Nah, too much trouble. Had I known you liked her, too, I would have made the effort."
Later that night, lying in bed, I thought, Isn't that something. I would have gone to the trouble for a friend but not for myself. For sure I need to practice what I preach and value myself more. I went to sleep wishing I'd invited Snatam Kaur to sing.
The next day, my birthday, we had a "land blessing" with a Hawaiian chieftain. That evening we gathered on the porch for sunset cocktails. My friend Elizabeth stood up—to read a poem, I thought, or make a speech. Instead she said, "You wanted it, and now you have manifested it." She rang a small chime, and suddenly music started to play.
The music was muffled, as if the speakers weren't working. I thought, What's going on? And then there appeared, walking onto my front porch...Snatam Kaur, in her white turban. And her musicians! "How did this happen?" I cried. And cried, and cried. Maria, sitting next to me with tears in her eyes, held my hand and just nodded. "You wouldn't do it for yourself, so we did it for you."
After I'd gone to bed the night before, my friends had called to find out where Snatam Kaur was, to see if they could get her to Maui in the next 12 hours. As life and God would have it, she and her musicians were in a town 30 minutes away, preparing for a concert. And were "honored" to come and sing.
It was one of the most amazing surprises of my life. Layered with meanings I'm still deciphering.
What I know for sure: It's a moment I'll savor forever—the fact that it happened, the way it happened, that it happened on my birthday. All...so...delicious!
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