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Have you ever experienced repeated words, signs or images that occur in different settings and at different times? Have you seen patterns come up in your life? Is it déjà vu, voodoo or magic? Perhaps it is just a coincidence? Or maybe it is synchronicity. All those coincidences, where you see something in one venue and then it repeats over and over again in other venues, converge into something meaningful.
For example, you first dream about enthusiasm and wake up feeling enthusiastic. Throughout the day you keep seeing and hearing the word “enthusiasm” in very unusual venues and media, like in a magazine you picked up to read while waiting for an appointment, then you hear it on the radio, and then you see it in artwork displayed at the local library when go to renew your book. You wonder if there is any significance in these coincidental events. The next day at work you decidedly engage in your duties and responsibilities with more “enthusiasm”. After lunch, your supervisor sings your praises and gives you the honor of being “employee of the month”. This is synchronicity.
The talented music artists, The Police, weaved Carl Jung’s concept of “meaningful coincidence” into a song entitled Synchronicity I (they also wrote and performed Synchronicity II, which provides an example of this idea). The concept of synchronicity is explained pretty well in the lyrics (excerpt below; also see video at the top of this page in the right margin):
With one breath, with one flow
You will know… Synchronicity
A sleep trance, a dream dance
A shaped romance… Synchronicity
A connecting principle
Linked to the invisible
Logic so inflexible
Yet nothing is invincible…
Synchronicity is defined as an apparently meaningful coincidence in time of two or more similar or identical events that are causally unrelated. In 1952 Carl Jung produced a detailed account of what he called “meaningful coincidences” in Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, written in collaboration with Wolfgang Pauli, a physicist. In daunting scholarly language, it is about unrelated connection of two or more psycho-physic phenomena. This concept was inspired to him by a patient’s case that was in situation of impasse in treatment. One night, the patient dreamed a golden scarab. The next day, during the psychotherapy session, a real insect this time, hit against the Jung’s cabinet window. Jung caught it and discovered surprisingly that it was a golden scarab; a very rare presence for that climate. So, the idea is all about coincidence: in this case, between the scarab dreamed by the patient and its appearance in reality, in the psychotherapy cabinet. (from: http://www.carl-jung.net/synchronicity.html)
The concept of synchronicity is based on the idea that the individual, through the subconscious, has access to an “absolute knowledge” which is not bound by the limitations of space or time. Jung’s primary source of material for this hypothesis was to be found in his study of dreams especially those which were of a parapsychological nature.
The synchronicity phenomena show that the subconscious is able to transcend the factors or space and time. With respect to the former, it would seem that space has been transcended when, for instance, one has an accurate inner knowledge, possibly in the form of a dream or fantasy, that a friend, who is living hundreds of miles away, has suddenly taken ill. This type of synchronised experience is not at all uncommon. With respect to the time factor, it would seem that it too can be transcended. The synchronised experiences, which are of a pre-cognitive character, show this quite well.
Jung’s concept of synchronicity provides an image of a psyche, which is not restricted by the limitations of space and time and participates in the overall events of nature. With the hypothesis of synchronicity, Jung felt he had achieved, from the point of view of psychology, an understanding of the nature of the phenomenal world that was analogous to that of modern physics. Both had achieved an understanding of reality that went beyond our everyday notions of solid bodies, empty space, cause and effect, space and time. Physics understanding of this new frontier was for the most part quantitative in that it was expressed mathematically. Jung’s understanding was, in contrast to this, principally qualitative in that it addressed the problem of “meaningful parallels.”
Both views, Jung had hoped, would eventually come together creating a new unified scientific model — a new world view linking the psychic and the physical. It is a scientific goal which, given the limited knowledge of psychology and physics, is at present unattainable. Or is it? What do you think? Are we in a new age of understanding?
I have used the following parable in my own workshops and seminars on and off for years. I was reminded of it again today and I felt compelled to share it here on my blog today. The original author of this is unknown; however, Stephen Covey used it in his book, First Things First (1994) on pages 88-89.
What are the Big Rocks in Your Life?
One day, an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration those students will never forget.
As he stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz” and he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouth mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. He also produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.
When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class yelled, “Yes.”
The time management expert replied, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. He then asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?”
By this time the class was on to him. “Probably not,” one of them answered.
“Good!” he replied. He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?” “No!” the class shouted.
Once again he said, “Good.” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”
One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it!”
“No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”
What are the ‘big rocks’ in your life, time with your loved ones, your faith, your education, your dreams, a worthy cause, teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these big rocks in first or you’ll never get them in at all. So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the ‘big rocks’ in my life? Then, put those in your jar first.
To Do or TaDa? That is the question. (21st Century Shakespeare?). To do do do, ta da da da, is all I want to say to you. Tee-hee, do you remember that Police song, “De do do do, de da da da”. The point of this article is to give you a couple of tools to help you gain a sense of accomplishment. How? you ask. Well, the first thing you get to do is to reorganize your way of thinking and proceed. Are you familiar with all those honey-do and to-do lists we make for ourselves and our loved ones? NOW, is the time to reinvent or recreate them into something fun.
The best way to get anything accomplished is to create a visual organizer or map to help you focus on the main item or items among all those daunting tasks that are vying for your attention. A mental shift from the standard To-do List to a Map of Hocus-Focus, which is a fun and fanciful way to get you through the day or week. Here is the fun part; take a standard sheet of paper in portrait position and fold it into thirds.
In the upper third of your map, create a word splash of everything you want to get done that is weighing down on your mind. If you have color markers or pencils handy, then by all means, make it colorful. Don’t leave anything out.
Then in the center part of your map, doodle a circle, heart, star, an “X” (because “x” marks the spot) or whatever suits your fancy. Make it large enough to hold one or two tasks to focus on for the moment, day or week. In that circle, heart, or whatever shape you decided, write the one or two items you really want to focus on and get done.
In the bottom third of your map write how you want to feel and/or how working towards your goals make you feel. Leave space at the bottom to write down a 5- to 10-minute activity that will bring you back into your focus or joy. This 5- to 10-minute activity can deep breathing, stretching, walking, reading or listening to music. It can be anything that brings you happiness. NOW, examine your Hocus-Focus Map. How does it make you feel? Refer back to your map as often as you like. This will help to center you. It will bring you back into focus (and joy).
Ta-da is an exclamation of triumph or pride; it is often used to express accomplishment after a daunting task or project has been completed. NOW, is the time to celebrate YOU. At the end of your day, flip your Map of Hocus-Focus over to the backside, turn it 90-degrees and make a Ta-da List (by Ellie Di, Headologist). List everything and anything you did over the course of the day (or week). Everything counts! NOW, relish in the accomplishment. Ta-da! Bravo! You did quite a lot!!!
Of waterfalls, gentle rains
and shimmering streams
Of fluffy white clouds
that decorate our skies,
Of fragrant flowers
and dancing butterflies.
In color and
in surround sound;
I feel the warmth
I dream of me,
I dream of connections
that can only be
In my dreams.
these sentient beings
Passed away to a place
far, far away.
Yet, when I close my eyes and
Transcend into a deep slumber,
These loved ones are with me today.
I feel their touch,
I smell their scent.
They are still here,
Like they never went.
Perhaps it is true, what they say,
We never really go away.
Our life spirit and energy
Has only transformed into
what we will not know,
Until it is our time to go.
Yet in our dreams,
We get a glimpse of how
it must be…
In that ether world,
an amazing wonderland,
a new reality.
Observe and truly see
With every part of your being
Such that you can discern
Each and every detail…
Use not only those miraculous
Orbs that connect your mind
To the world through reflecting
Colors we call images,
But with each of your senses
Take in every fragrance,
Every resounding frequency,
Intonation, flavor and texture.
How does it enrich you,
As you ponder and truly see?
Awareness and wonder, or
Information overload, maybe?
No matter where you are,
You only need to utilize
Your modus operandi,
And savor the wealth of data
That is in your immediate presence.
Consider the screen upon
Which your eyes are gazing,
The bits and bytes moving
Rapidly to create this.
Feel the temperature upon
The receptors just beneath
The surface of your skin
As it gently signals your brain.
Are you comfortable?
Yes or no, you will adapt.
We all are capable of change.
Observe and truly see.
It is within you and in me.
Spontaneity is like throwing caution into the wind and living! It is being in the moment and doing what you feel like doing! That is exactly what it felt like today! All activities today were voluntary and undetermined with no plans or set direction.
The weather was even been spontaneous as gusts of warm wind moved clouds around like a summer day (in the middle of winter); maybe it will rain or maybe it won’t rain. Ultimately it did rain. It was a wonderful day to do whatever you felt like doing as the warmth of the sun and the carefree breezes made you feel like a kid in the middle of summer with nothing better to do than to listen to the birds and frogs sing and watch the clouds pass by.
With spontaneity and being spontaneous came joy and bliss. Everything seemed better in many ways today. There was a heightened awareness as everything seemed more colorful and inviting. Perhaps this was because there was little concern about time.
Spontaneity allows one a sense of freedom, an invitation to just be. You are at liberty when you can engage in activities without any expectation. Aha! That’s it! With no expectation comes joy! It was letting go and simply enjoying the moment… actually enjoying the whole day. How can you invite more spontaneity into your life?
Yes, WHELM is a word that does exist; not just in overwhelm. According to Merriam-Webster’s On-line Dictionary (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whelm), whelm is (1) to turn (as a dish or vessel) upside down usually to cover something that is to cover or engulf completely with usually disastrous effect; (2) to be overcome in thought or feeling as in overwhelm (whelmed with a rush of joy — G. A. Wagner) ; (3) to pass or go over something to bury or submerge it. A sample sentence using whelm is: The news so whelmed them that they were stunned into silence.
Whelm does not have to be as negative as when one thinks of overwhelm; however, to be overcome with thought and feelings can put one in a place of inaction. Transforming this whelm into action is key to moving forward. Examine the whelm and reflect upon it. What feelings and thoughts are putting you into whelm? Sometimes, it is just not knowing where to start. Write it ALL down either on paper, on an electronic device or even verbalize it by stating something like, “I feel like a zillion things are going on; I have to do this, that and the other, there is not enough time in my day to complete this, that, and the other, etc”.
Try to narrow that whelm down into doable thoughts and feelings that you can address at this very moment, like right now. A great way to look at whelm is to doodle them. Draw little sketches of those things that are putting you into whelm. Label each doodle or sketch, use thought bubbles, and allow those things that bring you whelm become things that are lighthearted and fun. Then reflect on why those things are putting you into whelm.
Let’s do a bit of a mind shift. Consider this, can you break each of these down and compartmentalize or box them? Now, just take one box at a time as if it were a gift, a gift that you can both handle and enjoy in this present moment because each of these gifts will gradually take you out of whelm and put you in a place called accomplishment, success and joy. Let whelm put you in a place of action not inaction. Do you see that you do have choice and control of how you address whelm?
Charity, in practice, is generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless. It is benevolent giving and caring. I believe that charity is the contribution of ourselves and/or our resources to others in need; but, how do we do it when we have no more resources to give; what do can we do?
Perhaps, it is really a mind shift we need to make. Sometimes, the focus is on what monies people can give, which is probably the easiest thing to do because then people do not have to think about or reflect on the helplessness of others. People can pacify their guilt by contributing money to a worthy cause and feel relief that they did their part. How does that truly lift people in need? It certainly may take care of the immediate needs like food, water and medical attention to the destitute; but, what about the long-term? How does money alone really help them?
Charity, in virtue, is giving unlimited love and kindness. Charity, ideally, is giving of your whole self, your heart and your time. It is making others feel valued and empowered. It is a helping hand that lifts the soul and spirit of those who feel helpless. It is lifting the spirits of the sick and the poor. It is giving them hope and compassion. It is spending time with the homeless and the sick. It is sitting with people and listening. It is being completely present for them.
Charity also needs to begin with one’s self. You need to help yourself first and nurture your own heart before you can help others. An empty vessel cannot fill another’s cup. Once your own heart and soul is filled, then you can truly give of yourself to others. How does one fill his or her own’s heart and soul? That is a question people need to ask themselves. Start with what brings you bliss, peace and/or joy. It may be writing poetry, walking outdoors in nature, quietly meditating and praying, painting and creating crafts, interacting with other people or pets, or any activity that brings you bliss.
Perhaps some of the things that bring you joy is something you can share with others in charitable work, like sharing your poetry with a community of elderly or children or doing crafts with terminally ill patients in a hospice. Consider who you are and how you feel when you are at your best. Maybe you are a fabulous grant-writer or fundraiser, marketing specialist or web designer. These are wonderful gifts to share with a charitable organization. Ultimately, charity is of the heart, not necessarily the wallet. What can you give to others?
Focus…this word often used by people of authority wishing you to pay attention. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we need focus. The text-book definitions of focus are: The state of maximum distinctness or clarity of an image; a center of interest or activity; close or narrow attention or concentration; and, a condition in which something can be clearly apprehended or perceived. In different disciplines, focus is defined as the following:
Pathology: The region of a localized bodily infection or disease. Geology: The point of origin of an earthquake. Mathematics: A fixed point whose relationship with a directrix determines a conic section. Optics: A point at which rays of light or other radiation converge or from which they appear to diverge, as after refraction or reflection in an optical system. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/focus)
As one gives attention to, or concentrates on a single moment, object or task….this defines focus. Consider the following, when using a camera, binoculars, a microscope or a telescope, you bring an image of your immediate environment, the world, the Universe or micro-universe into clarity such that it can be more easily viewed without fuzziness. What are some synonyms of focus for you?
Perhaps it is clarity, distinctiveness, definition, sharpness, resolution, or point of view. Focus signifies having a central point of view which is clear and easy to observe. That view is well-defined and allows you to perceive it without ambiguity, distraction or any mistaken identity. Do you see how focus can play a role in your life? What do you focus on in your world and in your life?