Carl Jung defines synchronicity as meaningful coincidences that occur between the inner world and outer events.
A list of symbols that have not escaped me recently
Construction crews taking up the sidewalk in front of my house
My professional role literally disappearing from the face of the planet
My crown falling off
A tree outside my house being cut down
A furniture delivery going absurdly wrong
The reemergence of the rabbits
Dreams of buffalo
A bar without a liquor license
Finding that note that my mom wrote me in January today
Jill’s car battery dying
Contracting a throat infection
I got real quiet there. Sorry about that.
I stopped posting after my trip to Michigan. Since then, an entire month has passed and we’ve made progress into the next. It’s May in Illinois, and the dogwood trees are dusting sidewalks with petals. I’m on my porch, which has all the markings of a bohemian portal to an altered state of consciousness. I’ve been watching the Canadian geese fly North and the daylight grow longer.
A few weeks ago, I was struck with homesickness. It started with Tennessee; I missed the rain. I had an ache for the warm rain that flooded the Athens parking lot on 8th Avenue. I felt it in my bones then: the ecstasy and awe of a hot spring rain in that Cumberland River valley. The day of the Athens flood, not 5 minutes away, I saw lightning rip through indigo skies to kiss the ground.
(That was not the only time I’d see lightning strike in Tennessee. I understand why Southerners have such strong and active faith… They have some kind of weather down in Tennessee.)
(It’s fair to say that I met God in Tennessee.)
After homesickness for Tennessee waned, I zeroed in on Portland. My nephew was born, and my family’s gravity shifted. I took a trip west.
You know, I wanted to leave Portland because I wanted to know if I would choose it of my own volition. I wanted to be positive and committed to my roots and not have a trace of doubt that I was in the right place.
I know now (and I knew then) that a person doesn’t have to leave and then choose again to remove doubt. There are infinite ways to remove doubt. Five years ago, I had this theory that there was something divinely, mystically important about leaving home on your own. I wasn’t ever leaving to run away from who I was or where I was; to the contrary, the summer that I elected to move to Nashville was one of the best summers of my life.
I felt grounded, powerful, and in love with life. I adored my apartment and my relationship and I had just been promoted at work into a leadership role. I spent those months camping off-grid, went on 8-mile hikes through the Central Cascades, and swam in river after river with friends I adored. Life was serendipitous in every direction: I saw repeating numbers everywhere and coincidences added up like wildfire. Things were not perfect, of course, but that was the season I had really started to realize that I love my life.
That’s a fairly stunning realization for someone who was as depressed as I was for as long as I was.
I don’t mean to be vague and I don’t want to be misleading: I was never diagnosed with depression. I was never diagnosed with anxiety. I can tell you that I had panic attacks and I self-medicated. I can tell you that in retrospect, I can see that I functioned in survival mode for a long time.
When I woke up – as I did in the summer of 2012, I felt imbued with a kind of conviction and confidence. I know who I am. I like who I am. I like who I choose. I stand by my choices. I have no shame. I am proud of myself. I believe in myself.
So to go back to Portland is complicated. On the one hand, it is so easy to be there. It has changed and so have I, and so has everyone else there. I try my best to hold out light for us all: I try to hold the space to be who we are now. I want that city to change. I want it to be different when I get back. I want those people to be different. I want to be different. I want to see that city and those people grow, and that’s how I actually know that what I feel for that place is love.
Moving around the country has taught me so much about the richness and complexity of life. I write with tears in my eyes as I think of the unyielding and uncompromising beauty of the human spirit.
I think about other places I’d love to live, and I realize the list is almost endless (New Mexico, Virginia, California again, Washington, Denmark, Hawaii, Colorado, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica…). There are so many things to discover, and so many adventures to be had. I hope to keep adventuring always.
As priorities change, and gravitational pull shifts in direction or intensity, we can each only do our best to meet them so much as our values allow. I’m reminded of something M often says about relationships: They are a choice every day. I think that’s true about our lives: our experience is the culmination of millions of tee tiny choices.
I am happy with my tiny choices. If I were to send a message out from these past six weeks of digital hibernation, it would be that: I am happy with my tiny choices.
I love my life. I have a heart that is good, and I am connected with a tremendous amount of other good hearts. If you’re reading this, you’re undoubtedly one of them. Thank you for sharing your heart with me.
Life gets busy, and details go haywire. We lose really incredible people sometimes. If everything is just a matter of gravity, then I’m lucky to say that I am pulling in only the very best and brightest.
So that’s what’s been happening.
To see the other “soundtrack” posts, check here: https://nashlandia.wordpress.com/tag/soundtrack/
The light of the divine awareness has risen in my heart like the sun over the horizon and it will never set. (attributed to Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan)
I can’t remember when it started happening, but I think it was sometime last year. I started telling people that I loved my life. I can recall my inner skeptic flaring the first time I said it aloud to another human: Really? She asked. Do you really love it? Are you just saying you love it?
I remember being perplexed by this feedback. On the one hand: fuck off inner skeptic! What’s the deal with bringing me down? Lame.
On the other: You’re totally right, inner skeptic, I might just be saying it — but it will never be true if I don’t say it.
(Isn’t it worth the risk to say it anyway? I mean, at this point, I will tell you that I genuinely love my life — but is that partially because this is how I’ve been talking about my life? I figure, if I objectively(?) love my life, or if I just talk about my life as though I love it, my lived experience is the same — so party on, Wayne.)
When I think about what it means that we are programmed to be unhappy and discontent, I am pained: It’s marketing’s fault. It’s comparison’s fault (our sweet thief of joy). It’s people out of touch with their spiritual core. It’s people separated from their tribe. It’s people who are lost, disenfranchised, and apathetic. It’s this god damn fear landscape that we live in.
As I lift higher and higher and heal old emotional wounds and continually come into the fullness of my being, I gain perspective on the old.
Some say that love is the antidote to fear. Others say that love’s opposite is indifference. What I have learned is that as I love more wildly and openly, I experience less fear and anxiety.