Tag Archives | Carol Schuldt

Synchronicity Story: Apples and The Road Not Taken

“I am open to the guidance of synchronicity,
and do not let expectations hinder my path.”
~ Dalai Lama
“Synchronicity is choreographed by a great, pervasive intelligence that lies at the heart of nature, and is manifest in each of us through what we call the soul.”
~ Deepak Chopra, Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire




On a Monday, I purchased two bags of Granny Smith apples at the Rainbow Grocery.  I had then been accustomed to eating just half an apple daily.  But the apples were a bit small and especially delicious. So instead of eating just half an apple (as I’d been doing) I started eating a whole apple daily.  On Friday I realized that I wouldn’t have enough apples to last until my next planned trip to Rainbow, and thought that I’d need four more apples  before then.

Later, on taking my usual walk through Fort Mason to the beach at Aquatic Park, I was walking up the steep bayside paved road for pedestrians and bicycles, when as I came to the summit my path crossed synchronistically with that of my friend Carol Schuldt (the legendary then 76 year old swimmer/surfer/cyclist). Like a mountain goat she emerged from walking on the natural steep bayside cliff below the road, and she climbed up onto the paved path where I was walking.    

I asked in astonishment, “Carol what were you doing walking down there?”  She replied that she didn’t like to walk in crowded places where others walk, but was glad to see me because she had brought me something in her backpack.

Thereupon, I told Carol she reminded me of a famous poem called “The Road Not Taken”.  But momentarily I forgot the poet author’s name.  Whereupon, Carol (who is not well read in literature and poetry) promptly reminded me that it was Robert Frost.  I asked, “Carol, how did you know that?”   In reply she told me that three days ago someone left a book of Frost’s poetry in front of her house.   She picked it up and randomly opened it to a page where that poem appeared.   Here it is:

The Road Not Taken
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Carol and I then walked together to the beach, where she removed her backpack, and gave me four fresh apples which she’d brought for me.

Carol Schuldt and Ron Rattner at Aquatic Beach

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One of The Most Unforgettable Persons I’ve Known – a Synchronicity Story

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.”
~ Eckhart Tolle
“Though we can’t always see it at the time,
if we look upon events with some perspective,
we see things always happen for our best interests.
We are always being guided in a way
better than we know ourselves.”
~ Swami Satchidananda




When I was growing up, my parents subscribed to the Reader’s Digest magazine, where I sometimes read a continuing feature called: “The Most Unforgettable Person I’ve Known”. It mostly told stories about people who were unusual because they were inner – not outer – directed; people who were ‘self-actuated’ and authentic. And I began to appreciate and respect such people.

Particularly since my mid-life spiritual awakening, I have come to recognize and especially appreciate people who follow their heart and not the herd. Of all such people I’ve met, my friend Carol Schuldt is one of the most extraordinary – an amazingly free spirit with great intuitive wisdom.  We met long ago while sitting at Aquatic Beach on San Francisco Bay (across from Ghirardelli Square), where she often comes to escape ocean fog and swim in the sun. Since then, we’ve had innumerable synchronistic encounters and exchanged many “miracle” stories about our lives. [Other synchronicity stories about our magical meetings are linked below.]

Carol is such an extraordinary person that, she’s become well-known throughout and beyond her San Francisco neighborhood; so newspaper and magazine stories have been written about her. An excellent and recommended story: “A Benevolent Queen of the Beach” appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 25, 2000.

It tells of Carol’s exceptional inner directness even from childhood, when she adamantly refused to attend obligatory church services at Catholic school and was the only student exempted therefrom by the nuns, who recognized her extraordinary inner wisdom. The article also tells that Carol has been dedicating her life to helping troubled souls – especially young people – but that paradoxically Carol has had great family tragedy with all of her three children: her two daughters whose lives were lastingly impacted by drug addiction, and her son who was permanently brain damaged in a childhood car accident.

During the many years I’ve known Carol, she’s almost always been in good spirits whenever we’ve met. But when I saw her on a recent foggy June afternoon at Aquatic Beach, Carol seemed uncharacteristically melancholy and taciturn. And even though she had come to the beach to swim, Carol decided to stay out of the water because she was cold – a rare occurrence. As we parted that afternoon I wondered what was troubling Carol. The next night my question was answered.

Carol excitedly phoned to tell me this story, about a “miraculous” incident that had just happened:

First she explained that she had been in a deeply melancholy state for several days because of an apparent staph infection and because she’d just had great difficulty with her mentally ill daughter Simone who was then living with her. So Carol began feeling very sorry for herself and was nostalgically dwelling on happier family days when her daughters were growing up, and before their lives had gone amiss with drugs and mental illness.

Unable to shake off her deep melancholy and nostalgia, that evening Carol had just impulsively jumped into the fog-enshrouded ocean across the street from her house. Carol told me that she couldn’t recall ever before doing that, rather than swimming earlier in quieter, clearer and more secluded places. After a brief swim she emerged from the water, crossed the street in front of her house and was just about to retrieve some things from her car parked there when another car stopped beside her. A handsome man – about her daughters’ age – got out and addressed Carol.

He asked: “Are you Celeste and Simone’s mother?”
“Yes”
, she replied.
Thereupon he said:
“I was in love with Celeste. I’ve never seen such beautiful girls. You raised them to be beautiful and strong.”
Then looking directly in Carol’s eyes, he said: “Mom, it’s not your fault.”

Whereupon he got into his car and drove off, leaving Carol in a state of amazement.

On entering her house, Carol excitedly called me to report this “miraculous” incident while it was fresh in her memory. As Carol spoke she seemed lifted out of the dark melancholy miasma which had enveloped her. And as we talked I typed the above quotes (on my iMac) with tears in my eyes and chills up my spine – psychic signals of the deep importance to Carol of this meaningful miraculous “coincidence”.

For Carol, this incident confirmed that she has been a good mother, and is blessed with Divine protection. How do you interpret it? How did the Universe arrange it?

Ron’s moral of the story: Look for the hidden blessing in every difficult experience.

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“The Gift of Giving” ~ a Synchronicity Story with Quotations

‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
~ Acts 20:35 (Paul quoting Jesus)
“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures.
The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.”

~ Lao Tzu
“For in truth it is life that gives unto life –
while you, who deem yourself a giver,
is but a witness.”
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
“You can give without loving,
but you can never love without giving.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson and/or
~ Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
“Lovers are givers, not getters.”
“Life is for giving, not getting.”
~ Ron Rattner, Sutra Sayings

Ron Rattner and Carol Schuldt at Aquatic Beach, 2012


Here is another amazing synchronicity story about my now 79 year old friend Carol Schuldt, one of the most unforgettable people I’ve ever known.

Carol is an extraordinarily intuitive free spirit, with her own unique path of communing with Nature while surfing, swimming, sunning, hiking, biking, and gardening, and helping troubled souls – especially young people. Though raised Catholic, she has never knowingly followed any prescribed Western or Eastern spiritual path. Because of her great generosity, especially toward needy young people, Carol is sometimes known as the “Mother Teresa of the Sunset District”.

We met long ago at Aquatic Beach on San Francisco Bay (across from Ghirardelli Square), where Carol often comes to escape ocean fog and swim in the sun. Since then, we’ve had innumerable synchronistic encounters and exchanged many “miracle” stories about our lives. [I’ve posted other synchronicity stories about Carol, which are linked below as “related posts”.]

As I write, I have just returned from another magical encounter with Carol at Aquatic Beach, on a cold December 29, where Carol shared with me a wonderful synchronicity story about her experiences earlier today and yesterday.

Here it is:

Carol swims or surfs in the ocean or Bay almost every day. But, on rare days when she can’t swim because of inclement or cold weather, Carol sometimes browses and shops at the main Goodwill resale store near downtown San Francisco.

Yesterday, was one of those rare days when it was too cold and rainy for Carol to swim. So she drove her old truck toward the Goodwill store, and parked several blocks away in front of a community garden on Fell Street. After walking to the Goodwill store and shopping, Carol was returning to her parked truck when suddenly she urgently needed to urinate. There were no available public restrooms, so she had to relieve herself in a nearby empty lot. Afterwards, to her chagrin and embarrassment, Carol discovered that she had mistakenly peed on an elderly homeless man’s tent.

In remorse, Carol opened the tent entry flap and apologized to its homeless occupant, telling him “I’m very sorry, but I just peed on your tent”. Then Carol pulled a twenty dollar bill out of her wallet, and tendered it to the homeless man, saying: “Here, please take this.” After looking at Carol (who is sometimes mistaken for a ‘street person’ or ‘bag lady’ because of her unusual attire and appearance) he replied: “No baby, I can’t take it.”

But Carol insisted he take the twenty dollar bill, emphatically repeating that she had just peed on his tent. So he relented, and took the money with a broad smile. Her guilty feelings assuaged, Carol then drove off in her old truck.

This morning it was again cold and inclement in San Francisco. So Carol decided to return again to the Goodwill store. As she again parked her old truck on Fell Street near the community garden, a small moving van stopped after its driver observed her. The driver got out of the van and offered to Carol the load he was transporting, asking her to take it onto her truck. On his van Carol saw many valuable garden tools and other artifacts in good condition which she could use in her organic garden, plus a new volley ball which her son Pete could use. So Carol accepted the van driver’s offer, and relieved him of responsibility to dispose of his load, by transferring it to her truck.

Thereupon, on seeing that the morning overcast was lifting to reveal patches of blue sky, Carol spontaneously decided to drive to Aquatic Beach instead of walking to the Goodwill store. At the beach, Carol swam in very cold water, then dressed and was sitting and warming herself in sunshine when a family group of tourists walked onto the beach and looked at her.

Jovially pointing at Carol, the family’s father exclaimed to his companions, “She’s having fun. There’s a happy person.” Then after walking to the shore with a child, he came back to Carol and offered her a twenty dollar bill. Carol – who is economically well off – told him “I can’t take that.” But he insisted. So Carol reluctantly accepted his twenty dollar gift.

Thus, just a day after she had spontaneously given a twenty dollar bill to a reluctant homeless man, Carol drove home from Aquatic Beach with another twenty dollar bill given her by a stranger after she reluctantly accepted it. And her old truck was filled with valuable garden equipment given to her by another stranger near the very same place where she peed on the homeless man’s tent.

Moral of this story: “It is in giving that we receive.”

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