We’ve all had those days when as Robert Burns so aptly said “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, gang aft agley”. Sometimes it’s a whole week like that. March has been that kind of a month.
Synchronicity is that thing that happens when all is right with the world and everything falls into place just as it should. Sometimes when plans go awry it is because synchronicity happens. Whatever I was planning wasn’t as fun, important or rewarding as what the shift in plans brings. For me, these usually involve avoiding a chore.
In March I was settling in for an evening with nothing on tv and no promising books to read when I got a call from an old friend I’d not heard from for months. I was going to get some writing done and a friend stopped by and we stayed talking, catching up, for hours longer than a quick visit. I was going to do laundry but Karina needed me to be Mom and listen to her rant about the crazy in her life. “Oh well, it was meant to be.” “It’s a good thing I hadn’t really started yet.” “I’m so glad this opportunity came along.” Synchronicity.
Then there are those times when it seems we can’t do anything right. I had a few of those too. Days when I would wake up with good intentions only to check Facebook and disappear down the Tube of You until it was too late to run errands. Days when the phone wouldn’t stop ringing with calls from telemarketers, appointment reminders, and the I don’t have anything to say so I thought I’d call you friends. These days are kind of the opposite of synchronicity. They are the days when I know I am fighting my alignment with the universe. I could get on track and do what I need to do, if only I’d get my head out of the sand.
I’ve had a couple of no good, horrible, very bad days (maybe I should have moved to Australia with Alexander). The worst one included misplacing my best serving trays which I’d promised on load for the weekend, not being able to find my fondue pot which I needed for a dinner party that night, driving to 4 thrift stores and finding several trays but no fondue pots, hearing from the woman I was borrowing a second fondue pot from that she was sick and wasn’t coming, dropping the bottle of wine I had bought special on the tile floor and breaking it in the bag of everything else I had packed for the evening, the toilet backing up, finding my fondue pot had been sitting under a drip in the ceiling for what looked like a century…….. In the end it all turned out just fine. The dinner party was with my best girl friends and they were happy just to be together. The trays were eventually found. I managed to borrow all the fondue pots I needed from another friend in the nick of time.
But apparently I’m not done being derailed. I had several ideas for my Monday blog this week. I spent the weekend off in the woods of Wisconsin. Packed my camera. Never took it out of the bag. I played with the dogs. Watched a very smart turkey grab the branches of saplings and bushes and let them go sprong so that all the seeds and new buds would fall on the snow for him to eat. Had a delightful relaxing time. But not anything to write about (except the turkey) and no photos.
I have been thinking for a week about an article in response to some things I’ve been reading in the blogosphere. An article that is ripe for controversy and needs to be carefully crafted to actually say what I mean. An article requiring a block of uninterrupted quiet in order to write it. Of course Orion was home sick yesterday. Derailed again.
I’m looking forward to April. Do you think I’ll manage to get past the 1st?
I’ve been thinking about all the teachers I’ve had in my life. Some have been inspiring. Some have been dreadful. Some have been lifesavers. There is a saying about spiritual seekers that when the student is ready the teacher appears. That has certainly been my experience and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and study with all kinds of teachers.
The easiest teachers to think about are of course the ones associated with public schools. I was fortunate to have a high proportion of really good teachers. Being involved in the arts and excelerated classes probably helped. But if I had to pick just one it would have to be Miss Suzanne Kelly. She taught English when I was in 7th grade. She told me that if I could use a dictionary and learn to type it wouldn’t matter that my spelling was bad and my handwriting illegible. Best advice I’ve ever gotten.
Then there are the teachers who show up in your life and lead by example. I have all kinds of those too. The ones who stand out the most are my ex-Mother-in-Law. Suz died this year and it was much harder than I expected because I owe so much to her. She had an incredible ability to find something nice to say about everyone. She could be sincere and gracious in the most difficult situations. I worked with her for a year and watched her deal with customers this way. She was amazing. She also had the ability to give you her full attention when you were talking with her. These are talents I’m sorely lacking. Any skill I have at all in these areas I got from watching her.
My other example is my son. I know that seems odd, because to some extent I probably taught him to persevere, to look on the bright side and to be kind. But again, he has a talent that far exceeds any abilities I might have in these areas. Orion is just a happy guy. He finds delight in the smallest things. He knows how to be satisfied. He assumes everyone he meets likes him and is pleased to meet him. It’s amazing to watch him struggle so hard and come up smiling. My favorite part of the day is watching him get excited about something.
My best example of a teacher who showed up when I needed it was Paul. I’d known him for years in the community. We’d nod at each other at events. We were in a group at a bar at a convention one evening. I announced to the group, “I need to find someone to teach me sword, staff and ballroom dancing.” An odd combination, and exactly Paul’s skill set. Who knew? I can’t say I’m an expert in any of those areas, in spite of Paul’s best efforts. But I learned a lot of what I really needed to know about moving in my body.
But the teachers that really fascinate me are the ones that show up just for a moment and say just the right thing. The small bit of inspiration that leads to great things. I’m writing this blog because of one of those aside comments. I’m working on a book – for real rather than just in my head – because of one of those comments. I’ve had people say the darnedest things on the bus or at community events.
I think this kind of teaching fascinates me because most often this is the kind of teaching I do. I’m the person who asks the odd question that makes you think about a problem in a different way. I’m the person who will give a “homework” assignment to anyone who asks “what do you think I should do?” I’m the person who you sit down with and talk to until you begin to understand what it is that you’re really talking about.
I do believe in omens. That might need a little clarification. I’m not talking about the kind of belief that comes out of reading a book. The owl in the night may not signal the death of anything more than a field mouse. The bird in the house may be the visitor himself. A black cat crossing my path is more likely to bring a smile than a worry about impending doom.
I believe in synchronicity, things going right, falling into place, as an indication that I am doing the work that I need to be doing. It’s like getting confirmation that I’m going along appropriately on my Spiritual path. I see synchronicity as encouragement to take a risk or to agree to something without worrying too much about the details.
The other side of the coin can also be true. When it becomes exceptionally difficult to get somewhere I begin to wonder if I should even be going. When it becomes extravagantly expensive (hidden costs revealed right and left) I question buying in. Resistance doesn’t necessarily stop me from doing something, but it often brings the value of the action into question. Is what I am doing, what I hope to achieve, really worth it?
So, the omens:
The city tagged one of my trees with Dutch Elm and when the tree service came out to take care of it they broke the equipment to grind the stump.
I came down with a nasty seasonal cold the same week I had a business meeting, a presentation and several small jobs with deadlines.
The water heater died Friday morning. Diagnosis didn’t happen until afternoon – too late to repair that day and planning to be away at a conference most of the weekend.
The “Check Engine” light came on in the car. Apparently something is out of alignment and it’s making noises like it needs new brakes or maybe a bearing.
And the other side of the story:
The tree guys were half the price of any other bid and were out the next day with the equipment fixed to finish the job.
The cold never become deadly, I had plenty of tea and OTC medicine in the house, and I got to bed at a reasonable time all week.
The side jobs really were small and easy, the business meeting was with good friends and gave me some good leads and the presentation was extraordinarily well received.
The water heater is over 10 years old and I’ve known it was going to need replacing soon for at least the last 2 years.
The car has 250,000 miles on it and I’ll probably drive it into the ground before I put any more money into keeping it going.
Additionally, I have help paying for both the tree and the water heater. My son is staying at his Dad’s where he can get a bath. I have a lot of big pots for heating water.
I have learned that it takes a lot of gallons of water to fill up a bathtub. But that a bath, even when the tub isn’t full, that required hauling the water yourself is worthy of a good soak. There is something very rewarding about climbing into a tub after doing that much work to prepare the bath.
I have learned that when I really need money it usually becomes available, either through extra work or extra assistance. Did I mention I won $25 in a drawing through one of my little side jobs? My work in this life isn’t about dealing with money. If I am simply contentious rather than careless things fall into place. Synchronicity happens.
I have learned that omens can be useful markers. But in and of themselves they don’t really tell me anything. They are just a reminder to check my point of view and pay a little more attention to the choices I’m making.
Now lets cross the fingers and hope the new water heater gets installed without a hitch!