Even though I’m sheltering in place, there is no lack of opportunity to continue to be involved in many activities of interest. I belong to several anti-racism groups that meet regularly on zoom, I listen to podcasts and specials on TV (as well as some favorite programming series), I meet with my women’s group (on zoom). I continue to prepare for new interviews, head up a small team of colleagues, and continue to look for ways to effectively contribute to the good. The honest truth is that the bustle of motion can keep me in a kind of frenzy of commotion.
Recently my pace was slowed down when I had a conversation with a young woman who asked me for advice about the current direction in her life. As she listened deeply to me, I began to listen deeply to myself and found that in advising her I was also advising myself to slow down and look deeply into my own motivations.
I reminded myself that life doesn’t travel in a straight line. As I look back over my own lifetime, I notice that the best results didn’t come from the execution of some grand plan. The best outcomes came from little seeds of an idea: Seeds not fully formed. Yet they have significant life changes in their potential.
The advice I gave (both to her and to me) was to notice those seemingly small things that catch your attention, glimpsed out of the corner of your eye. It takes some discipline to be aware of those fleeting moments thus the need to have a little notebook at the ready to jot down thoughts, images, and brief reflections. This, as it turns out, can be the planting of a seed, the ingesting of an idea that can germinate and become the path to a most fortunate and creative new direction.
For example, when Michael and I first had the idea of starting New Dimensions we only knew that we wanted to spread the news of a new and most promising cultural shift in consciousness that was taking place in the San Francisco Bay area in 1973 (the seed). We were attending many exciting lectures and gatherings and noticed that no media was covering these events. We started a nonprofit educational organization and called it New Dimensions Foundation. The seed of the idea was to record these events on cassette tape (the current technology of the time) and sell those tapes. We rented a room in the local Unitarian Church and put up posters for a six-week lecture series. We invited different presenters from a variety of disciplines: two Jesuit priests, a philosopher, a scientist, a spiritual teacher, and a parapsychologist. We hired someone to tape the series.
Now, here is where the seed germinated and took a surprising turn. On the fourth week of the series the person recording the session failed to show up. Shortly before the lecture was to begin several men came in, one of them carrying a small suitcase. That was Stephen Hill and he asked us if we minded if he tested his new NAGRA tape deck by recording the session. The seed grows. Afterwards we went to an all-night restaurant to get to know one another better. Turned out that Stephen was, and is, the founder and producer of the radio series “Music from the Hearts of Space” and, at that time, was producing other radio programs as well. One of his friends, Eric Anderson, was also producing a radio series on one of the premier public radio stations in San Francisco, KQED. Eric was ready to go on to other adventures and asked us if we were interested in taking over his program. The rest is history, our path took on a most fortuitous significance that we could neither foresee nor plan.
If you want to encourage a path of creating more synchronicities in your life, I advise you to add some activity that takes you out of the “normal” linear, logical, more circumscribed thinking and moves you into a more meandering, unbounded, imaginative, intuitive, and creative mode.
You’ll want to find an activity that calms the left brain down and takes your attention, allowing the creative muse to have an opportunity to whisper in your ear.
For example, doodling with colored pencils is great fun. It’s important to let the coloring have its own way and not to mandate that some great creative idea will show up. Allow a total immersion in the fun of it, enjoy the artistic endeavor for its own sake. Because our left brain is so loud, has such a big agenda, has such a backlog of “to do” lists, has such strong opinions of how to be successful, and takes up so much room in our head, we need to encourage it to take a break. Plus it’s fun.
There are many other activities that will inspire right-brain thinking: dancing, painting, knitting, walking in nature, painting rocks, singing, playing an instrument. The list is endless. Hopefully you’ll find some of your own that will allow the seed of synchronicity to germinate and bloom for you.
-Justine Willis Toms