Seeking Connection: Finding Leo and getting unstuck

Published 9:47 am Saturday, July 8, 2017

By Erin Smith

When my friend Casey was 23, her real life was starting.

She had recently gotten engaged to her best friend and had been accepted into a doctorate program for physical therapy. After struggling to find both love and meaning, the puzzle pieces of her life were finally falling into place.

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And then, like a cosmic middle finger, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. She went from looking forward to the rest of her life to wondering if she would survive the year.

After a surgery to remove the tumor, she returned to the apartment she shared with her fiancé and took to her bed. She was depressed, desolate, unmoored. Had they removed all the cancer? Would it return? If she died before her wedding day, would her fiancé get the venue deposit back? Everything seemed meaningless, hopeless.

She cried for days, incapable of eating, showering, staying awake. She fell into a pit of despair, stuck in her pain and unable to move forward. Her cat Leo was the only witness to her misery, watching it all from the window.

And on the eighth day, God rested, so Leo took charge. He jumped onto the bed, planted his paws on Casey’s chest, and looked deep into her eyes, all the way down into her soul. They stared at each other for a long minute, and then, without breaking eye contact, Leo urinated all over her.

And you know what? On the eighth day, Casey got out of bed and took a shower. That shower was a giant thing, a courageous first step into her new life. The cat pee was her Cosmic Intervention.

It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut, wallowing in our figurative bed instead of living out loud. We too often exist in a dead-end job, a toxic relationship or some other holding pattern of mediocrity. Sometimes our rut can be so mild we don’t even notice. And without Leo to urinate us awake, how’re we to tell that it’s time to move forward?

We are co-creators with the universe. Life offers us opportunities to grow and learn, but the universe doesn’t desire our self-destruction. If we pay attention, we can see our own cosmic interventions, signifying it is time to embrace change.

Life is always trying to help us unleash our best selves. It’s always speaking to us, if we are willing to listen.

Do you often feel as if you’re sleepwalking through your own life? Do you compare yourself to others and envy their perceived successes? Do you struggle to find joy in relationships or experiences that used to light you up? Do you feel overwhelmed, undervalued or simply exhausted all the time?

Do you avoid thinking about your thing(be it your weight, your job, your spouse, your habits, your drinking, etc.) because the subject is too painful? If you mentally nodded your head to any of these questions, it’s probably time to start looking for Leo.

Your Leo might be anything. A sickness you can’t shake. A traffic detour. Reading the perfect book at the right time. Déjà vu. A topic that keeps coming up over and over in different settings. A spirit animal sent as a divine messenger. A bumper sticker. An especially vivid dream. Glancing at the clock at exactly 11:11.

Any moment where the hair stands up on the nape of your neck. It’s easy to discount these things as superstition or coincidence. Our rational brain often talks us out of those things our gut knows to be serendipitous.

Remember how I said we’re co-creators with the universe? That means we have a responsibility to listen, to receive experiences with an open mind.To recognize your cosmic interventions, there has to be an element of faith. You must be willing to trust that the universe has your best interests at heart, and ready to let go of any fear that is preventing you from seeing your opportunities clearly. The universe never works randomly. When it comes to cosmic interventions, the most important thing to remember is to listen to your gut and ignore your rationalizations. If it’s time to move on, Leo is nearby. Will you notice him when he shows up?

And I’m delighted to report that my friend Casey has now been cancer-free for several years. She’s happily married and loves her work as a physical therapist by day and yoga teacher by night. And while she is a dog person at heart, she maintains the utmost respect for King Leo, checking in daily to see what messages he might be bringing from beyond.

Erin Smith is the owner of the OM place in Winchester, the author of “Sensible Wellness for Women” and the online host of a yoga and mindfulness channel for Eppic Films. She wants everyone to make friends with meditation, eat real food, move their bodies and hit the pillow a little earlier. When she’s not standing on her head, she enjoys being a wife, mother, dancer, reader, flower sniffer, guitar player and wine drinker. Send her a shout out at or play along at