Miranda Macpherson answers the question:
What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?
Wow. Well, I can think of many, many things, but some really extraordinary kindness came towards me at a time when I was transitioning between my former life in the UK and my new life here in the United States of America. And all this was happening at a time in the year after a significant awakening had happened. And the aftermath of that initiated really enormous changes and asked me to let go of all the structures that were holding my familiar identity in place.
And so spiritually I was on board for that, but it was emotionally at times very powerfully challenging and was really asking me for a totality of trust and surrender and a radical just stepping into the unknown and being deeply obedient to the pulse of truth, moment to moment to moment. And that was really what brought me from the United Kingdom to America where I didn't know anybody. I didn't know anybody on the West coast anyway where I was being invited to make my new life.
And so there were a lot of difficult details that I needed to navigate, like how to get legal in the United States of America and all of those kinds of very difficult things. And there was this period where I was in transition and I was still beginning to navigate the whole legal situation. And at that time I had been living without a home, without a fixed address for almost a year. And I was really coming to the end of my capacity to live out of a suitcase with no fixed abode, traveling around the world, fulfilling teaching obligations. I think I circled the globe three times in that year and I was coming to the edge of my capacity to do that. I was feeling really ungrounded and I knew I needed land under me.
I would be praying in the immigration line every time I got off the airplane and I reentered the United States. I'd be praying to the soul of America, Please give me a home. I need land under me. And I knew that I couldn't keep reentering the United States on a tourist visa. Somehow I needed a breakthrough with this. So in that interim period, I needed to find an apartment, a place to live. And if you have ever tried to find an apartment or make any major purchase or do anything much without a Social Security number, you know that it's pretty impossible. So I looked at so many apartments and every time it came to filling out the form, they asked for my Social Security number. I didn't yet have one. I wasn't at that stage of the immigration department. And so I just kept getting knocked back for the basic things that I needed.
And I remember reaching this point of just despair about that. I was in a hotel room and I was sort of working with my own fear like I was confronting, Okay, if this doesn't happen, could I open into that? Could I surrender to... if it's not the truth for me to find my way here in the United States, could I surrender to that? Could I surrender to the possibility of not being able to get a home for another six months?
And these were things that were scary and weren't what I wanted. I knew I had to find the place where I could accept whatever was asked of me. Even the things that might've been the most emotionally difficult or scary. And so the hardest part was confronting my fear of just being a bag lady and not having anywhere to live and not being able to have any ground under me in an ordinary way. And so I managed to find the place in me where I could say yes to that.
The next day I drove to see an apartment; I'd already seen on the internet that this apartment looked really great. I'm there at the front door and this very big, fleshy, kindhearted woman opened the door. She was the landlady of this apartment block. And I just spat it out. I leveled with her and I said, “Look, I'm sure this is a really great apartment, but I don't want to waste your time. I just want to level with you. Here's my situation: I'm in transition, I'm going through the immigration process. I don't yet have a Social Security number or any of the kind of details... I've only ever owned a home, but in a foreign country,” — Anyone who's come here from another country knows that America doesn't pay any attention to anything that happens anywhere else other than America, so it’s as if it didn't matter — “And so I’m going to have a hard time completing whatever form you're inevitably going to give me.”
She looked at me in the eye with such kindness and she said this to me... it makes me cry even thinking about it… she says, “I'm a pretty good judge of character. I can tell you're going to be just fine.” I had to restrain myself from just falling in a puddle on the floor and thanking her on bended knee. Her kindness just went so deep into my heart. And as it turns out, the apartment was great. As it turns out, she gave me that form. I couldn't fill it out. I didn't have the details, but she just made good on her promise that she could tell that I was a good person and that I was going to be reliable, it was going to be fine.
And she just bent the rules and allowed me to rent that apartment. When I moved out of that apartment, I let her know how much that had meant to me. And how that kindness that she had shown to someone who was a complete stranger from a foreign country had been such an embodiment of grace to me. Such the gift that I needed had helped restore my faith in the trajectory of what had been a very powerful and challenging journey and how it really, that meant so much to me and that I was so immensely grateful to her. So that was something that I'll never forget. She was one of my American angels at a time when I really needed them.
I have another story of one of my other American angels who was so exceptionally kind. This is a few weeks after the event that I just described; I'm now just beginning to get settled in this apartment. Just beginning to find some basic ground in me and be able to unpack my suitcase and put clothes into an actual wardrobe and go to a grocery store and put food in a fridge and know that I didn't have to move on in a few days time. The stress that started to just come off of me was enormous.
And I happened to meet this wonderful woman in a workshop who called me up afterwards. She was leading this workshop and she said to me, “I never ever do this. I've been leading workshops for 30 years, but who are you and can we have lunch? There's something I sense in you that's really remarkable.” I liked her too, so I said yes. And besides, I didn't know anybody, so I was very happy to be invited to lunch with anybody who seemed friendly.
So we were at lunch and just having a nice time getting to know each other. Her name was Caroline and she started asking me a bit more, and I started telling her where I was in my immigration process, which was that I could fulfill this category to get an O-1 visa for what's called “aliens of exceptional ability” — I find that term very curious because I thought I was from Australia, not Mars; anyway, that's the terminology used — and that I was hitting a roadblock because what I needed and didn't have was some kind of organization in America that would sponsor me to basically be a consultant of their organization.
Right out of her mouth she says, “Don't worry, darling, the Divine Feminine will sponsor you.” Well, the Divine Feminine Institute was an organization that she ran and with some friends of hers, and this is what happened — I was officially sponsored to be here and work in the United States as a consultant of this organization called the Divine Feminine Institute. So I kid you not, my earlier visa had a photograph of me and all the official documents that said I was an alien of exceptional ability, and that my art form was spiritual teaching and writing, and that I worked for the Divine Feminine Institute.
So that's the story of how I got to really become legal in the United States of America and begin working and teaching here legitimately... and that I will always be grateful to my American angel whose name was Caroline Muir. That incredible generosity and kindness made such a beautiful difference in my life and helped me remember that there are so many divine helping hands and angels and kind forces that exist for us when we're sincere and when we're willing to do our part; they just somehow find their way to give us what we need so that we can flourish and thrive and move forward in our life. And especially when our intention is sincerely to bring benefit, to serve, to be a loving presence, then we do get infinitely supported in all kinds of unexpected ways. That was my experience anyway.
Miranda Macpherson is a contemporary spiritual teacher, counselor, and author of The Way of Grace: The Transforming Power of Ego Relaxation. Miranda, who also authored the spiritual guidebook Boundless Love, has been teaching internationally since 1995. She is known for her depth of presence, clarity, and refined capacity to guide people into direct experience of the sacred.
Miranda’s work is dedicated to helping people become more graceful human beings through a transmission and practice she calls Ego Relaxation. This is a femine approach to welcoming the totality of our experience as a gateway into our deepest nature. Her work embraces self-inquiry, spiritual psychology, devotion, and meditation practice. Through a blend of silent transmission and articulate teaching, she leads ongoing programs oriented to guiding people into direct spiritual experience while providing a practical map for actualizing our realization into daily life.
Drawing from the ancient lineages of Advaita and mystical Christianity, as well as from more recent wisdom teachings such as A Course In Miracles, Miranda leads from the ground of unconditional love and compassion for our humanity, emphasizing receptivity, discrimination, and surrender.
She is founder of One Spirit Interfaith Foundation in London, where she trained and ordained over 600 ministers. Today, Miranda leads the “Living Grace” sangha in northern California and holds retreats in the United States and internationally. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Bob Duchmann, a teacher of the Diamond Approach (A.H. Almaas’ Ridhwan School).
Click here to visit Miranda’s website.