November and December 2019 - Featured Inspirational Story
At age 10, I won a pony in a contest sponsored by a popular Philadelphia kids show, called Popeye Theater. Contestants had to design a winning cattle brand out of their initials. The show's hostess was a beautiful, and widely popular cowgirl named Sally Starr. She was as wise and kind as she was pretty. Every kid in the Philadelphia area hurried home from school every day to watch her program. She typically showed cartoons and western movies. And she often had famous guests, like the Three Stooges.
As the contest winner, I even got to appear on her show to receive my pony!
Well, I have to tell you - that experience was much more than just an exciting event in my life. Having my fondest dream come true, at such a formidable age, taught me that what you truly desire the most, in your heart of hearts, can (no matter what anybody tells you) come true. Hey...It happened to me! So, how I could ever doubt it after that?
In fact, ever since that peak experience, I've consistently trusted, believed in and relied upon the deepest messages from my heart, to guide me on my life's journey, as I've pursued other dreams. I remember the feeling I had when I won my pony. It was one of solid "knowing." Not a knowing of great knowledge or mysterious wisdom, but rather a deeply personal feeling and understanding that assured me I was on the right path for myself. Even as a little boy, I somehow understood that for the rest of my life - if I didn't block the messages from my heart I would become the person I was born to be. I would grow to become authentic, happy and on track with my path and purpose, and with sharing my gifts with others.
Even though my family was poor at the time, and we lived in a small apartment, all of the right things came together - perfectly timed help from family and friends - that enabled me to keep my pony. You can imagine how happy I was. And you can imagine how shocked my parents were (lol).
Ok. Are you with me so far?
So, after desiring a pony more than anything in the world (and I really believe - even more than most kids) I won a beautiful Shetland with a red saddle. And I won it, not by luck but with my creative talent. Forever more, I would trust my inner guidance - my spiritual essence - my heart and soul. Moving forward in my life, (plenty of ups and downs not withstanding) I maintained the courage and commitment I needed to tackle many challenges while pursuing other dreams and goals (metaphorical 'ponies').
Now this is where it gets really interesting!
Unfortunately, the wonderful cowgirl hostess of the TV show, passed away before I could do what I felt a need to do when I became an adult - which was to respectfully look her up and personally thank her for the impact she had on my life. I had even written a book about my pony experience (called MEMO From Your Soul) - which I wanted to give to her.
But by the time my book was published, our dear Sally Starr had passed away. I was so sad. I felt a deep regret that I had never fully thanked her for enabling me to establish a solid foundation of faith in my life.
Flipping the calendar ahead (after a wonderful career of doing lots of things I love - counselling, painting, writing) I found myself, in my late sixties, retired and wanting to spend a little time around horses. Something I'd never done after my pony, though my soul-deep love for them had always been constant. In fact, if anything - always deepening.
One day a friend of mine mentioned that she had recently rescued a retired Amish buggy horse. She told me she was boarding it at a near-by farm.
Knowing that I had a little more time on my hands in retirement, and having read about my love of horses in my first book, Kate asked if I would like to go and meet her horse.
An invitation I happily accepted.
Well, not only did I get to meet her horse, it turns out the place she boarded "AJ" was a beautiful horse farm. They must have had 30 horses there at the time! And goats and donkeys and llamas...I was in heaven! I instantly fell in love with the place.
Long story necessarily shortened - I began volunteering at the farm. I went there every day for over a year. I did everything from cleaning stalls to helping train horses. And I loved it all.
After a few months of working there, I mentioned to the owner that I had won a pony as a child. And I gave her a copy of my book. She read, and thoroughly enjoyed my book.
She could easily relate to my love of horses, as it deeply matched her heart's desires too.
One day, quite suddenly and dramatically, Missy (the owner of the farm) came running up to me with what apparently was going to be breathtaking news. She could hardly contain her excitement.
I couldn't imagine what she was going to tell me. Gasping for breath, she said, "You are not going to believe what I have to tell you!" I was all ears! What could it be?
'You know how you won your pony on the Sally Starr show back in 1956? Well, I went with my husband to a special awards banquet last night. It was for successful media people from all over the region. And you will never guess who I met there! I actually met the man who discovered Sally Starr! He was the guest celebrity there, bestowing the awards! And get this! He worked at the Philly TV station, and produced the Sally Starr show! It was even his idea to have the win-a-pony contest! What kind of crazy coincidence is that? I told him about you and he wants to meet you! Now you can thank him for how the pony experience influenced your life!'
I was flabbergasted! What are the odds! This is crazy! What kind of sixty some year, circuitous, full and varied - life path had I travelled that has led me full circle, back to my Sally Starr days? Amazing!
Well, upon his invitation, after he read a copy of my book which I had sent him, I (re)met this great man. He was about almost 90 at the time. He was still working in the TV business and also teaching and lecturing around the world as a renowned professor. Instantly, when he opened the door of his home to welcome me, we became wonderful, loving friends. I told him I was a 'seed' he didn't realize he had planted - now blossomed to fruition.
After that, we corresponded regularly. Always with hand written letters.I always felt so honored and grateful. I loved hearing the wonderful stories about Sally - her love for kids and her, big-hearted philanthropic nature. Sadly, my wonderful producer friend (and I feel - spiritual mentor) passed away in the summer of 2019. I won't mention his name here, but I tell all about him in my latest book. A book (called Try Softer) in which he lived long enough to contribute a beautiful Foreword!
Think about how the dots had to have been connected - how so many (non) coincidences had to happen. We are all guided along the way. The trick is to remain open.
Every blessing seems to lead to the next - like an ever-flowing spiral of love.
Written by Thomas A. Newnam
Thomas is a psychotherapist, family therapist, artist, martial artist and life coach who began writing inspirational self-help books when he became a grandfather.
From York, Pennsylvania (USA) Tom's latest book is called TRY SOFTER - Sub title: How to recover your natural state of happiness and clarity of purpose. Michael Bernard Beckwith has contributed the Foreword. Try Softer is published by Bluewater Press >>> and the book is available there and also on Amazon. You can visit Tom's website to see his artwork and learn about all of his books. Sage and Brush >>>