Lord, open our eyes so we can see that nothing in life happens by chance.
The Buddhists call it “auspicious coincidence;” others, “synchronicity.” I call it “a wink from the Universe”—a God-wink, if you will—or, when it really bowls me over, the “cosmic nudge.”
Merriam-Webster defines “coincidence” as a situation in which events happen at the same time in a way that is not planned or expected. For me, it also includes the sense of something having been choreographed for fun, for encouragement, for direction, for validation, or all of the above. While “a wink from the Universe” is playful, “the cosmic nudge” propels me purposefully forward.
The wink feels like a message delivered with a chuckle. There’s sweetness in the so-called coincidence, often evoking a delighted “Ha!” The latter, however, is the kind of synchronicity that gives me goosebumps. There’s no missing or dismissing it. Three recent readings, for example, arranged themselves in quick succession, thanks to two unexpected postponements and a third intuitive’s spontaneous offer of guidance.
Aligned to deliver a triple dose of direction, each group of guides underscored that it wasn’t too late (or too soon) to create this blog, to tell this story. “Just do it!” “You’ve got this…” “We’ve got this!”—the essence of their messages. The nudge, in this case, felt more like a loving, but firm push.
For me, a case of synchronicity is more than a random event, a curiosity. In her Broadway hit, Lily Tomlin’s character looked for “signs of intelligent life in the Universe.” I, too, sense a higher intelligence behind serendipity. I’ve come to trust in the guidance gift-wrapped within it.
For instance, last week I came upon a Facebook post with a recent YouTube video of Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Thomas Friedman giving a speech about his upcoming book, Writing for the New York Times, Always Looking for Minnesota.* He was speaking in St. Louis Park, the city where he grew up, the community that, in his book, he lauds for having shaped his values. It’s also where our family lived for years, where I taught and developed literature and early literacy programs, and where Peter applied his research, early on, related to healthy communities and healthy youth.
Naturally, I was interested in what Friedman had to say, but I noted that the intros and speech last almost two hours. More pressing things called for my attention, so I committed to watching and listening to him for the first fifteen minutes (at 15.41, by the way) to at least get the gist of what he had to say. But with only seconds left of the time I’d allotted myself (at 30.00), Tom Friedman made a declaration that took my breath away and prompted the “OMG!” that followed.
“I do not believe in thinking in the box,” he stated, “I don’t believe in thinking out of the box…” And then attributing the paradigm to a friend Lin[ton] Wells, he declared, “I believe you have to think today without a box.”
Without a box. Here’s where I stopped breathing. Here was an echo of the otherworldly guidance that had seemed so preposterous when I received it. Here, to my way of thinking, was validation, a sign from the intelligent Universe that I’m on the right track.
You can bet I listened to the rest of the speech. It was rich with other forms of encouragement— his awareness of what’s happening at this moment in history containing in it “the greatest release of energy into human hands since electricity… if not fire.” And the call for all of us who “happen” to be here in this extraordinary time of “acceleration,” to “co-evolve.” What struck me as an especially personal call was the mandate that we have “to bring God into [cyberspace].” All this treasure to ponder because I gave meaning to the coincidence of his chucking the damn box, too.
Just as I count on the sun rising and setting, not to mention doing so right on time, I’ve learned to count on instances of divine synchronicity to not only remind me of the magical in life but to let me know where I’m supposed to be and that I’m heading in the right direction.
*Thomas Friedman’s published book now has a different title than he originally intended—”Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in an Age of Accelerations”… one of the most anticipated books of 2016, according to Publisher’s Weekly