So while I was standing there with this huge grin on my face enjoying the synchronicity of re-connecting with my former supervisor, a woman a bit younger than me walked up to me. I didn’t recognize her, but she said, “Are you the same Michele Zehr that went through Marine Corps boot camp back in 1996?” So you just have to know that I’m sure the look on my face was priceless, because I could not figure out how this woman knew this about me. I said, “Yes, I’m that Michele Zehr.” The woman got this enormous smile on her face and said, “We went to boot camp together, it’s me….Washington, I was 2 racks down from you!”
Ok, so seriously, my heart totally stopped for a few seconds and I remained in a state of psychological shock for several hours, because indeed, it was one of my best boot camp buddies—one of those people that you still tell stories about because they were so hilarious and bold. Well, here she was, standing right in front of me and I couldn’t believe it because we never saw each other again after boot camp. In fact, we never even knew what state the other person was from or where we would end up getting stationed by the Marine Corps after we graduated from boot camp. Literally the last time we saw each other was 15 years ago on Parris Island! This felt like nothing short of a miracle, as this was the first time she had attended this conference too. By this time, I was half expecting a big pot of gold to fall out of the sky and land in my lap.
Last week I went fishing in our local pond, and as I was sitting there with my store-bought rod and reel and one dozen night crawlers that I’d just purchased at the local gas station, I was thinking about how easy it all was compared to what it was like to go fishing during my Survival Quest, which was an amazing experience I had where I survived in the wilderness for a week with 6 other people using nothing more than a knife and a very small amount of emergency food. The point of that week was to live closely with the Earth and use primitive skills to survive. I was thinking about how during that week in the wilderness one of the group members found a praying mantis that we used as fishing bait—after we used our skills to make fishing line and a bone hook out of the natural resources that the Earth provided for us. We didn’t catch anything, but I remember wishing he had not killed the praying mantis when there were grasshoppers just a short walk away, as I could look at a praying mantis all day because they’re so uniquely beautiful to me. Well tonight, as I sat down at the table to eat dinner, I looked out of the window and noticed not one but two praying mantises on the window screen. Yes, I’ve seen them before here, but in 6 years, I’ve only seen them twice.
So were these events simply mere coincidences and did you find yourself saying, “Big deal…so you saw some old friends and a couple of bugs”? Honestly, I could go on and on with similar stories of all of the synchronicities that occur in my life. I’ve come to look forward to noticing and experiencing them, and above all other things, I feel tremendously grateful when they occur, because my life wasn’t always like this. What has changed is that I’m much happier and content than I was when synchronicities were not happening and when I did not take the time to acknowledge and appreciate them. Does one cause the other? I don’t know, but I once asked a shaman what it meant when you experienced a synchronicity. He told me to picture myself surfing in the ocean. Then he told me to envision myself inside one of those giant wave tubes that form when the ocean gets very shallow very quickly so it’s like you’re surfing inside of the curl of the wave. He said that the giant wave represents the Universe and the movement of the Universe, and a synchronicity is when you’re surfing in that tube, because you and the Universe are both moving at the same speed and in the same direction at that particular moment in time.
I’ve thought a lot about this explanation and I’ve come to the conclusion (more due to experiences I’ve had versus pure contemplation), that he was absolutely correct. Whereas many people may relate a synchronicity to some type of divine intervention (which is totally valid for anyone who embraces a religion), I don’t believe that the concept of “moving with the flow of the Universe” has to be attached to religion or even spirituality for that matter. You can believe in absolutely nothing but still look into the night sky and look at the Universe. Besides, scientists tell us the Universe is accelerating and expanding outwardly all of the time. Even if you believe in nothing, you can still experience a synchronicity, and I’d dare to say almost all of us have at some point in our lives. Some people call them coincidences, but if you really look at that word it is “co-incidences,” or two incidents occurring at the same time that seem to be related. Some people call it luck, fate, being in the right place at the right time, a sign from God or Allah, or even good karma. In reality, all of these phrases are examples of how we try to offer up an explanation when we experience a synchronicity, which most of the time can’t be explained.
I believe in this age of “seeing is believing,” we are way too quick to discount seemingly unexplainable events in our lives and yet they happen all of the time. Unfortunately, I also believe that many people have forgotten how to not only notice them but also appreciate them. Let’s face it, it’s damn fun when a synchronicity happens…it’s the stuff that life’s great stories are made up of and for me personally, I put them in the category of those things in which I may never understand fully, but hope they continue happening to me as much as possible, because each time they occur and I notice, my life becomes all the more richer. So here’s what I propose…
What if every morning when you woke up, you intentionally set out to notice life’s big and small synchronicities instead of discounting them with skepticism? What if when you approached these experiences with grace, you noticed them happening more and more, and what if one day you woke up and realized that you are feeling a sense of happiness and inner peace that you have either never known before or haven’t felt in a very long time? What if every day, you not only experienced, but felt at the molecular level, that you are indeed moving in perfect time to the beat of the Universe, as if you found your perfect dance partner? We are made out of the same stuff after all.
Go ahead and try it….just raise your awareness and start paying attention to everything going on around you, and even when you find yourself saying, “Yes, but that wasn’t THAT big of a deal,” why not allow yourself to feel excited anyway? You have absolutely nothing to lose, but everything to gain, as only when we move with the flow of the Universe can we fully appreciate all of the times in our lives when we struggled against it, and I’m here to tell you….the view from inside that wave is awe-inspiring.