I did not create this image-I noticed it while I was walking in a neighborhood where Joe and I use to buy Italian beef sandwiches. The first letter of Joe’s name and the first two letters of my name.
Recently, I was corrected when I attributed the word synchronicity to the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung; I was told that Steve Job coined the word! Later that same day, I was waiting for my coffee at Starbucks when two friends ran into one another unexpectedly. They noticed that they were both carrying the exact same paperback book. They laughed and tried to remember “that word” for a “coincidence” That night, one of the words Cole needed to define for his vocabulary list was synchronicity.
This blog post was inspired by synchronicity.
The word synchronicity, coined by Carl Jung, comes from two Greek phrases meaning “joined with” and “time.” According to Jung, “Synchronicity is the coming together of inner and outer events in a way that cannot be explained by cause and effect and is meaningful to the observer.” Simply put, synchronicity is a meaningful coincidence.
Synchronicity helps me navigate my inner world, connect to those that have moved beyond this life, and reroute my life when I’m heading in the wrong direction. If you’re interested in learning how to recognize or invite more synchronicity into your life, here are a few suggestions.
Seek: Synchronicity is always present in your life; start looking for it, and banish the words “it’s just a coincidence” from your vocabulary. However, keep in mind that people who walk around saying, “Well, you know, there are no coincidences in life” are universally annoying.
Acceptance: The universe resents being second guessed and being dismissed as a just a coincidence or luck. When the unexpected happens, greet it with curiosity. Don’t short-change the experience by trying to explain it way or looking for a logical explanation. On the other hand, if someone unexpectedly gives you cookies, don’t interrogate them about the true meaning of their gift. Just say thank you and give them a hug.
Acknowledgement: Synchronicity loves to be noticed (don’t we all). If you want to shout, “Hey! Hey! I feel synchronicity” and do a little hop, skip, and a jump, I certainly won’t stand in your way, but a quiet “Wow!” to yourself when you notice synchronicity at work in your life will suffice.
Act Now: Do you remember the story about the guy who stood on his roof during the flood waiting for God to save him? Two boats and a helicopter offered to rescue him, but he passed on each offer because he had faith that God would save him. The man drowned and arrived in heaven demanding to know why God hadn’t saved him. “What more do you want from me?” asked God. “I sent you two boats and a helicopter.” This man clearly missed the synchronicity boat. Follow up with the person whose photograph shows up unexpectedly between the pages of a book, call the number on the business card that falls out of your wallet and lands at your feet, and invite the friend who has been on your mind to lunch.
Creativity: When inspiration leaves you high and dry, and you feel like you’ll never have another good idea or be able to solve the problem you are confronted with, take a break, do something different, and watch what happens. More often than not, a friend will show up to offer you exactly what you need; or a book, or overheard conversation will provide the perfect solution. Synchronicity loves to surprise you when you feel at your wit’s end.
Stress: Life passages such as births, romances, and deaths are times when the worries of daily life recede as we are drawn into the currents of a larger existence. Our ordinary routines are disrupted, our thoughts focus on the changes in process, and our senses are wide open. We know that when the child is born, when the wedding is over, when the funeral is done, our lives will be different in ways we can only dimly perceive now. We probably have a jumble of conflicting feelings. Along with our joy at a birth may come fear about our new financial responsibility; along with the grief of death may come relief at the end of suffering. We might be looking for direction, for answers, for reassurance that the good and right thing is happening. During these times, synchronicity often shows up to reassure us, point us in a whole new direction, or give us the missing piece we need to make everything work out.
Synchronistic Clusters: When something or somebody shows up in your life more than once, synchronicity wants your full attention and often wants you to act on a suggestion or request even if it seems irrational or unreasonable in the moment.
Cosmic Giggle: Have you ever started a diet and then immediately been given a dozen donuts? A friend of mine announced that he would quit smoking after he finished his last pack of cigarettes—that was almost a year ago, and he’s still at it! Before he pulls the last cigarette out of the pack, someone always drops off or offers him a new pack or even a carton. He joked that while he may not be healthier, he was richer as he hadn’t bought a pack of cigarettes in almost a year. How do we ward off this kind of synchronicity? Very lightly. The universe knows that most of us would rather eat donuts over celery sticks and that most ex-smokers would continue to smoke if it wasn’t a deadly addiction. Our best bet to is first appreciate the donuts or cigarettes and then watch for synchronicity moments that will help us align more fully with our goal.
This blog post was inspired by synchronicity and has taken me outside my comfort zone. I am certainly not a synchronicity scholar, and I have no idea if my suggestions will resonate with you; what I do know is that this post will be much richer when you share your thoughts and stories about the role synchronicity plays in your life.
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