By Christine Baker
On the Trail, USA
Jessie and Christine Baker
Imagine lying outside near the ocean at night. It’s summer and the breeze is still warm. As the waves crash against the shore, you are looking up at the stars. Maybe you’re wondering what the next phase of your life will be like. Maybe you are thinking of a special person. Just at that moment, you see a shooting star.
Suppose you go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow morning remembering a dream you had about a friend you haven’t seen or spoken with in a long time. You push that dream out of your mind but later in the afternoon, you receive a Facebook message from that very person out of the blue wanting to reconnect.
What if you are walking alone in a wide green field but instead of feeling alone, you feel utterly connected and content. That feeling of contentment flows like energy through your body. At the very moment you become aware of it, a butterfly rests gently on your leg before flying off.
Let’s say you do a great deal of driving. Let’s say you have a close friend who has a favorite number. Let’s say that number is 13. You are thinking a lot about this person and you can’t quite turn it off. It seems every license plate you focus on has the number 13 somewhere on the plate.
At the Hudson River, NY
Are these examples of coincidences or something more? What if every random act is actually not random at all? What if it’s just a matter of us paying closer attention to the signs that are all around us? It’s called “synchronicity”, a term first coined by Carl Jung in the 1920s. According to Wikipedia, synchronicity is the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, yet are experienced as occurring together in a meaningful manner.
What if there are signs all around us but we just fail to pay close enough attention? Chew on that one for a while.
Sometimes I read craigslist when I can’t sleep. The overwhelming amount of information on craigslist makes me drowsy and usually works like a charm. Not last night. Last night, I visited a page on craigslist called: MISSED CONNECTIONS.
Here are a few entries I was struck by (bear with the typos, I’ve pasted these word for word):
#1: Unrequited Long Island
I'll only see you for an hour tomorrow and while its all I look forward to, I almost have nothing to say. And beyond that I dread every moment afterward, until I see you once again next week. I love your hair, and your smile, and how sometimes you don't laugh but tell me that I said something funny. I am in love with your existence; the thought that someone like you is alive and is real. I'm in love with all the things I don't know about it, which is a lot. I am NOT in love with your unattainability. I don't want you because I can't have you, I want you because when you hugged me, it created a circle of love and safety that was overpowering. I desperately want to sleep and pass all these moments that I am not in your presence.
God help me sleep tonight, and lift the misery from my situation.
Buddha, Cape Cod
#2: Dark Shades and an iPod - NJ Transit, Secaucus Station
You had dark shades and an ipod, and an archangel bag. me - black dress. it was only a short trip from secaucus to ny penn this AM, but was hoping you caught me checkin you out the whole ride. liked your shoes. wonder if this will reach you.
#3 I Think About You - Williamsburg
i wish i wasn't commitment-phobic because i think of you often. i enjoyed your company tremendously and i will miss you when you leave. and i miss you now.
#4: I love You. SM - NYC
Just wanted to get it out.
I know, so stupid.
Are we all so starved for contact, for a true connection, that we feel the need to post things like this anonymously? These are real people. Real people with real feelings who cannot say to the people in their lives, “Hey, I love you. I want to be with you. I can't stop thinking about you.” These are also people who are hoping for a slice of synchronicity, and for someone else to be in synch with them too.
Let’s face it, most of us go on with our days with iPods cranking, Blackberrys beeping, and we pass by people all the time on the train or the bus or stopped in traffic in the next car. And we don't really see people. We don’t see the signs all around us. Maybe if we turned the iPod off and put the Blackberry down, we'd have a conversation on the bus, or connect with someone on the train. Maybe if we weren't becoming a society so engrossed in NOT connecting would we actually have the wherewithal to say the truth to the people we care about and not wait until the moment passes by and we're left with writing anonymously heartbreaking tidbits on Facebook or craigslist. Maybe if we weren’t so cynical we could believe once again in the power and possibility of coincidence and synchronicity.
And the living is EASY
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, NY
If you are thinking about someone and a song comes on the radio, what is the song saying? The truth is, if we all just slowed down a little more, we’d notice these things happening all around us and we wouldn’t feel so isolated and alone.
Walking in the woods has taught me to slow down and take each and every moment in slowly. While hiking last week, I was thinking hard (i.e. worrying) about some things and I saw a red-tailed hawk fly overhead. Hawks have always been good luck for me. I felt better and I stopped worrying. A moment later, I saw a magnificent bald eagle turn and look down at me before it continued on its way. I was immediately reminded to get out of my head for a moment and pay attention to the signs all around me.
Signs. They are all around us. Take the time to notice them. And the next time you have the chance to stare up at a night sky, do it. You might just catch a shooting star.