Archive for the ‘synchronicity’ Category

The New Year is starting off with a bang! While my packing up the place in Parks is going slower than planned due to the fact that I have a cold, I may already have a buyer. I also got a confirmation call this afternoon for a gig playing at an attorney’s conference in February. (Things are finally starting to move on the music performance front. Woohoo!) And, though I haven’t been working on the novel at all lately, I had a major plot breakthrough this morning. Evidently my subconscious has been toiling away on it, unbeknownst to me.

The unexpected gift from my deeper mind was particularly exciting. The two closing scenes that it delivered up to me as a sort of “mental movie” as I groggily awakened solved several character motivation problems and tied up some loose ends in continuity – no mean feat when you are dealing with beings that bend time and travel between different dimensions. I was ready to start writing immediately, but had to limit my enthusiasm to some brief outlining. Snow is expected here in the high country and I’ve got waaay too much packing and cleaning to do before I have to beat it back down to Phoenix on Friday morning to stay ahead of the approaching storm.


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I get this funny feeling that I’m supposed to be teaching guitar in the East Valley…

Today, I went back to pick up my business cards and part of the text had been clipped off, making a reprint necessary. Okay. It meant an extra trip and I had several other stops planned for after that to deliver said new business cards, but I adjusted my plans accordingly. I was told that the reprint would be done this afternoon and to call to see if it was done.

I did. The copy center staff was busy, but another salesclerk checked and said that the cards were ready. I ignored the little voice in the back of my head that said, “You know, she might have seen the other box – the bad box – and assumed that the order was done.” I made another trip across Gilbert…

My intuition was right. The cards weren’t actually done; she had seen the misprinted box. I was polite and went out to my car to steam. I was mad at myself for not listening to my intuition and I wasn’t all that happy about the store’s lack of attention to detail, either. Alright. I decided to adjust my attitude and said to the Universe, “I’m listening. Is there something else I’m supposed to learn or do or see here?”

I looked across the parking lot and saw a sign that, given where I had parked on previous trips, I had not seen before. “MUSIC & ARTS.” Hmmm. Sounds like something worth investigating further.

What do you know? A music store – a nice, big, new one with quite a few teaching studios, too. When I walked through the door the salesperson asked what had brought me in.

“I was over at the office supply store and saw your sign. I’m a guitarist and I thought I’d take a look around,” I replied. (I like to scout things out first…)

“You don’t happen to teach do you?” she asked. No, I’m not kidding. “We really need a guitar teacher…” Those were the very words right out of her mouth not one minute after I walked in the store.

“As a matter of fact, I do.”

I got the tour, the details, and I’m going back to deliver a resume in a little bit. Then, it’s wait to have an interview with the manager. Keep good thoughts. I should know fairly soon, and right in time for the peak lesson signup season of December – January. (All those new Christmas guitars.)

The whole string of events that led to becoming a teacher at Gilbert Music revolved around my carrying my guitar into a coffee shop to keep it from getting too hot in the car. Conversation with one of the counter guys, a drummer, led me to Gilbert Music. That and several other strange little “coincidences” have fueled a running joke with F1 and F2 about how all I needed to do was just carry my guitar around with me everywhere and doors would open. Now, with Music & Arts, it seems that I don’t even need to carry the guitar around…

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I am now a music teacher at Gilbert Music in Gilbert, Arizona.  Talk about timing – they did need another instructor, as their one classical guitar teacher is one slot shy of a full schedule.  In I walk, resume in hand…

I’ve been busy today getting all of my ducks in a row for a major promotional push. I got a local cell phone number this morning, my updated business cards are getting printed this afternoon, and I’m revamping my teaching methods and materials in light of my “Guitar Scale Meltdown” of several months ago. About all that’s left to do is get my flyer together (tonight’s big project) and then it’s pound the streets distributing them.

These days I’m practicing Christmas songs, my flamenco lesson materials, and some tunes for a new recording.  I’m back in contact with the sound engineer I worked with on the “Romanza” CD and ready to take a tour of his new studio (to me, anyway – he’s been there for several years) in another week in preparation to doing some recording in January.

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In the words of that great sage Yogi Berra, “It’s déjá vu all over again.”

Yes, that quote was going through my head on my drive down to Sedona yesterday to see the flamenco show at Tlaquepaque. That, and all that happened a year ago and what has happened since. (A separate post with photos of the flamenco show is upcoming, as soon as I get one more name straight.)

That Yogi quote was what I whispered to F1 as we walked through the narrow corridor into Patio del Norte at Tlaquepaque last September. We could hear the music, but not see the band or dancers, for the building walls and the dense crowd blocked the view. I looked up at the large sycamore that shades a good portion of the patio and had one of the oddest psychic occurances of my life. (It ranks in the top five or six in intensity, in a life full of such events.)

It was several things at once. It was both the remembrance of a vivid dream I’d had a couple of years earlier, and, simultaneously, the vivid experience of what I had seen in that dream. I had no other phrase for what I was experiencing at that moment and would experience for several minutes thereafter than, “It’s déjá vu, all over again.” I saw the green mass of the tree itself as full of sparkling golden lights, little flickers like leaves all over it. Green and gold. Every sense was heightened and active on another level. No drugs, no bump on the head. Dream clairvoyance is not all that unusual for me, but the impact, detail, and intensity of this particular experience amazed me. Remember the future…

Other than figuring on some great music and dancing, I tried to go back this year with no expectations of anything odd or unusual. Mostly, on the drive down the switchbacks into Oak Creek Canyon, I thought about all the things that have happened in the last year. Things like how F1 and F2 moved from Parks to Phoenix, I got laid off from my web design job, and all of the odd turns that have led me back to music in a new way. (For all of my quiet reflectivity on the way down, on the way back up the rim, I was tapping out palos and hootin’ and hollerin’. What a goon.)

Other than a wonderful little synchronicity of sitting next to an outgoing woman who happens to love the Spanish guitar and has the exact favorite two pieces I do, nothing strange occurred yesterday. She just happened upon the performance while on a short stroll through the center; she stayed for two sets. I am convinced that music is magic.

I breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe this next year will be a little less tumultuous, though M keeps warning me to stay flexible and ready for anything, telling me that I’m not aware of everything that is going on, to trust, have faith, etc., etc., etc. Yeah. OK. Got that. (Right.)

Nothing weird occurred until today. This afternoon M asked me how something that happened yesterday made me feel. “Feels like home,” I replied. Then I laughed. I caught my unconscious song title reference and thought of an old blog post. I came into my office about an hour later, went online, and the weirdest thing had happened with my blog stats.

Eleven views in a row that hour, and most of them within the five to ten minute window when I was talking about the very subject with M. All different people and from four different countries. That very post. I’ve never had that many unique visitors in that length of time and certainly never a straight run like that on any one post. My average traffic is currently between three and four page views per hour, and search terms and post viewings are all over the map, just like my writing. And it’s sort of a silly little thing to start with, one that I’m surprised I even posted. (Just as I’m surprised I’m posting this…)

This stands out as truly weird.

Coincidence? You bet. “There are no such things as coincidences, but I believe anything is possible, don’t you?” (Stole that line from a little girl in my current novel. Makes me laugh every time I try to wrap my head around it.)

Afterthought: I went and checked my stats again. Get this, everything returned to normal for several hours, then during the 30 minutes it took me to write this, three more hits on the post mentioned above and no other views. I think I’m ready to start humming the Twilight Zone theme. These are all coming off search terms, too. It isn’t a link somewhere driving this traffic. Mother of the angels that watch over us (and kick our butts), have mercy. I don’t even want to talk about this with M…

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One thing about writing about personal things in a public forum – sooner or later you will have to retract something you’ve said, apologize, or otherwise eat crow…

I need to correct something I said in my last post. I did believe it was true at the time, and the realization was quite freeing, but it is inaccurate. When I said, “I was finally able to admit what it is that I miss the most about firefighting. The danger,” I was wrong.

That sentence nagged at me all day and wouldn’t let me go. True enough that I enjoyed the danger. I do miss it, and facing it did develop qualities in me that I value, but it isn’t what I miss most. It took a few hours of acute writerly discomfort before I ran smack into what it really was that I missed most. Perhaps I should have known at the ease with which the first post rolled across the keyboard that I was missing the obvious. When something means as much to me as firefighting and EMTing did, it is never that emotionally glib.

I’ve been a frequent reader over at Steve Pavlina’s blog the last few days. I was merely preparing to do the exercise he recommends in his post, “How to Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes,” when the truth hit me. Structural collapse. A rain of metaphorical burning embers and charred trusses fell around my ears. I guess I needed the old cosmic 2″ x 6″ up along side of my head after all.

I didn’t need to do the exercise; I’ve been doing it for a year and a half. Longer, even. My personal mission went through my mind as clear as a the crack of thunder a half-mile away during the summer monsoons. “To embrace the world, sing it a lullaby, and rock it to sleep.”

As simple as that. Pavlina says that the mission that is yours will make you cry. It did. I’m still almost woozy from the impact. I know that’s it. I can look back over my life and see so many ways I’ve tried to live that out unconsciously and unknowingly. I “mother henned” my crews and trainees unmercifully at times, try as I might to moderate what I identified as “misplaced maternal instincts.”

“To embrace the world, sing it a lullaby, and rock it to sleep.”

The first part of that phrase is right out of something I told M back when I first started firefighting, that it was a way to “embrace the world,” to help whoever needed it whenever, however, without question. When the tones sound, you roll. It is called the Fire Service for a reason. The thing that gives me the shivers at the moment is that it was also during that conversation that we discussed how I was dealing with the miscarriage I had had a couple of years previous. Sometimes it is like looking into the face of Persephone to gaze into the eyes one’s own unconscious. One half the year in the world of light, the other half shrouded in darkness…

I can think of many ways that this could play out. And I know that thinking is not how it will play out. It will be in the day to day living and dying, the quiet listening to my heart at those moments when I will be tempted to take the easier road, to go back into unconsciousness and denial. On the surface it makes no sense that a childless woman of nearly 50, who wanted children and could not have them, and whose husband (now-ex) once told her she wouldn’t have been a good mother anyway, would have such a mission. M’s reply… “Who better?”

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A couple of things happened this last week that prompted me to look back into the past with renewed interest. Friend 1 sent me a book of devotionals in an apparent “coincidence” (she had no knowledge of the role those specific devotionals once played in my life) and in my blog reading, one of my regular stops had a post about the seeming incongruity of the writer’s journey from paganism to Roman Catholicism.

The book was the same one we used to read at every lunch in the religious order I was once a part of. It brought back fond memories and resurrected lingering questions about the long, strange journey I have been on. The blog post, likewise caused me to reflect on that same time period, my choices, and where I am today, having traveled from heathen to Episcopalian to “Jubuan.”

Many years ago, in my early twenties, I was a postulant in an Anglican religious order. I loved it – the life, the work, the prayers, the people. I can still remember it like it was only yesterday. As I write this I can smell the incense, hear the singing, feel the joy I felt in taking my temporary vows, all excited to wear my habit, which as part of an active order was reserved for special occasions. I believed in the work we did and that the most important thing in life was to know and serve God.

The long line of tradition meant a lot to me, and I, in my innocence, believed that it was more than sturdy enough to hold up to scrutiny. In my thirst to know and understand, I delighted in learning more and asking questions. But I asked “too many questions,” and it would have been much easier on all concerned if those pesky little visions and psychic occurrences that have been with me all my life had simply ceased.

I still miss it sometimes, just like I miss firefighting and EMTing. It’s funny, though, the things that I miss are 1) the people, and 2) the tools. The people part is pretty self-explanatory, I think, but the other seems a little odd to me. I’ve always taken a lot of pleasure in the outer tools of my trade, whatever that happened to be at the time. I still miss my prayer book and rosary, just as I miss my fire trucks, the ambulance, my badge and blues. These days, I thoroughly enjoy my guitar and my laptop. But as much as I like the outer trappings, most of all it is the inner life that the trappings feed, support, and point towards and beyond, that I love. That has remained, despite the outward changes.

That said, I guess I’m still most comfortable in a “uniform,” even though I know that is only symbolic of how I gravitate towards collective efforts. Yet I always seem to run into trouble because of my need to speak my mind in a personal war against groupthink and narrowness. I wasted a lot of time figuring that it was my problem, that somehow there was something wrong with me because of that. I still distance myself off from groups because I do not want any more fights or disappointments. Whether or not that will always be the case, I don’t know. It’s undoubtedly one of the reasons I read about others’ winding journeys with such fascination. (I can still hope, can’t I?)

Once again I find myself on the lonesome trail, wandering and wondering. I sometimes question whether the extreme outer-directedness and the concreteness of fire service culture was not an attempt on my part to leave all the inner questions behind in a flurry of action. If it was, it certainly didn’t work. But when I really think about it, I know that it was not about leaving the questions behind as much as an effort to express my inward experiences in some outward form. And, just as in the religious order, it was a defined opportunity to serve as part of a group.

For now, the way is long hours of solitary struggle, doing art, music, writing, webwork (of both kinds!) in an attempt to put what I have seen and done and experienced, in both the outer and inner realms, into forms that can be shared with others. Agonizing. Ecstatic. Daunting, exhilarating, scary, and fun, all at the same time. Once again, my favorite Ed Abbey quote from Desert Solitaire comes to mind. “May all your trails be winding, crooked, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.” Ah yes, they have been and they have…

I find myself standing on a rocky outcrop, footsore and weary, gazing with awe and amazement, back at the trail behind, ahead to a wreath of clouds that crowns jagged, snowy peaks beyond. The trail climbs ahead higher, further, and is just as rugged, if not more so, than that which came before. Sigh. Smile. I may seem to be hoofing it alone, but I am accompanied by all of those, past, present, future, on similar journeys on similar paths, whether in a recognizable “uniform,” or just in raggedy, old, patched together traveling clothes like me. See you out there.

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Giving Up Control

I’ve had a post simmering in the background that I thought was waiting for an upcoming personal anniversary. Once again, I’ve gotten the cosmic nudge to go ahead and post something that I was hesitant about. The Universe has its ways of getting my attention and teaching me to give up control.

First, a little background before it goes up. I’ve been reading a blog called “Giving Up Control” that I came across recently while doing research on a leadership project. It’s been interesting and thought provoking, well worth reading in and of itself, but it was author Barry Brownstein’s exhortation to be a “sparkling one” in a comment that tipped the balance for me concerning my next post.

It’s also proof to me of the strange and wonderful connections that exist on that archetypal “cosmic web” that I’ve talked about before. (Note: I’m not talking about the Internet; wonderful though it is, it’s just a pale reflection.) We put our individual ideas out there and they circulate and have ripple effects that none of us can anticipate. That vast web of connections has hidden paths and unknown circuits that never cease to astound me.


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