Do you ever experience that the universe provides exactly what you need, exactly when you need it? Not before or after, but exactly at the right time?

A few years ago, I went for a walk in the Blue Hills Reservation just outside Boston. Original home to the Nipmuc and Wampanoag peoples, with seven thousand mostly undeveloped acres, one might be able to imagine what this land was like before the colonists arrived.

I never took a map when I walked the reservation, despite its large swath and 125 miles of trails. “It’s practically in the city!” I thought. I mean, you can hear the highways from a lot of the trails. Plus, I’d always prided myself on my sense of direction and “inner radar.” It would be impossible for me to get lost.

That particular day, I walked for two hours without seeing a single person and was headed back to the car. Or so I thought. I’d left my cell phone in the car so I wouldn’t be text-tempted and was feeling lovingly connected with the land and the trails. Until I wasn’t.

Suddenly, nothing looked familiar. The sky had just turned deep overcast, and I couldn’t get a good sense of where the sun was to align my direction. I turned around and walked back. And then did it again. And again. And realized I was going in circles.

I tried to hear the highway to orient myself, but the wind was playing tricks on me. I’d never been lost in the woods, and while I knew this was not deep wilderness, I was by myself in what seemed like an oncoming cold thunderstorm and was disoriented enough to get anxious.

Collecting myself, I stood still, and with eyes closed and breathing deeply, I asked the universe, “Which way do I go? Point me in the right direction to get me home safely.”

I felt a tug to my left, then hesitated, as left didn’t feel accurate. Recalling a friend who would ask my advice then argue with my response, I figured if I wasn’t going to listen to the answer, I shouldn’t have asked the question! So left I went. 

Within a few minutes, I started hearing voices—two women jabbering loudly and animatedly—the only people I’d encountered in two hours. “It’s this way!” I heard. “No, that’s not right. Get out the map!” the other demanded. I came upon two women who seemed as surprised to see me as I was to see them. Relief washed over me as I looked over their map and got my bearings.

“Where’s your map?!” the bossy one interrogated me. “You’re the first person we’ve seen in hours. What are you doing without a map?”

They’d just taken a wrong turn minutes before. At precisely the same time, I’d asked the universe for directions. If I’d run into them 15 minutes earlier, I wouldn’t have known I needed the map. If they’d not taken a wrong turn exactly when they did, our paths wouldn’t have crossed. We met, the three of us, in the midst of seven thousand acres at exactly the right place and moment. I got exactly what I needed at exactly the right time, not before or after.

I try to remember this when I’m confused and searching for answers, when I’m feeling disoriented or lost in life, going around in circles, unsure what direction to take. The formula is simple; it’s just the trust that can throw us for a loop.

  1. Get quiet. It can be hard to soften your mind when you’re feeling anxious. I know! You can try gently blurring your eyes, taking some deep breaths, and finding a point to lightly focus your eyes on.
  2. Ask a direct question. The more specific you can be, the easier it is for the universe to answer you.
  3. Wait for the answer. Can you relax while you wait for the answer and trust that it will come? Waiting for an answer in such circumstances can be a bit tricky. It’s a soft but vigilant waiting that’s needed. You have to relax while you wait for the answer and trust that it will come. Sometimes it takes a while. Can you take your mind off the question while the universe arranges things behind the scenes for you?
  4. Follow the breadcrumbs, even when your mind or your ego thinks it knows better.
  5.  Find magic and directions to appropriate action.


Two women with a map, exactly when I need them, exactly where I need them.

Can you think of a time when you were provided with exactly what you needed and couldn’t have planned it more perfectly if you’d tried?

Is there something today you could put that kind of trust in?


Join Diane for the WBI/JCC Online Positive Psychology Hour on Tuesday, May 23, to explore how engaging in nourishing, small daily acts of grace can allow magic to bloom—in your life, the lives of others, and the world. Register here for “Be the Magic—A Conversation to Open Your Heart, Fuel Your Purpose, and Connect to Joy.” 

Diane Pienta

Diane Pienta is a creativity mentor, healer, forest therapy guide, and author. A former businesswoman, she was sparked by a cancer diagnosis to transform her own life and explore alternative healing, herbalism, yoga, and meditation, which led to a new career in nontraditional ways of finding joy, inner peace, and creativity. Diane holds certificates in Positive Psychology and Spring Forest Qigong and is a certified Happiness for No Reason trainer. She’s the author of the award-winning book Be the Magic: Bite-Sized Nuggets of Wisdom to Feed your Joy, Nourish your Soul and Open your Heart.