Friday, January 15, 2016

Special Blog - Coincidence or Synchronicity?

Once in a while something special comes along that fits what is discussed in this blog.  The article below comes from Carolyn North.  After a lifelong marriage, Carolyn was widowed last year.  The very worst you can imagine happened next, with the police accusing her of killing her husband (all he did was die in bed, no reason for such a claim), later the hospital refusing to give her his body for burial.  This went on for weeks.  She and her husband were long-time residents, well-known in the neighborhood and well-loved; he a University professor of note. There is no reason whatsoever for his death spawning such a long litany of problems with authorities. 

Through periods of anger and despair, she was finally able to move past the pain and see the larger story.  Her healing and the wisdom she is gaining from facing every facet of her situation is incredible.  Whether one has a near-death experience or a death experience, ramifications can be huge.  Thank you, Carolyn, for giving me permission to carry at least some of your very moving and inspiring story.  PMH


Just as I finished my latest piece about the goodness of grieving well, the kitchen sink backed up. It was as if the drain was in sympathy with my emotional state, burping out grease and muddy water from clogged drains that gurgled like my own sobbing. What a mess! Neither plungers nor Drano even made a dent – the kitchen sink and I both needed to release!

Fortunately, I know a plumber well – Christina – and she came over with all the tools of her trade to help. Crawling under the sink with wrenches and lights, she banged on pipes that were rusted shut, uncoupling their joints until they came apart. A mass of gunk came out that must have been building up in there for all the years we’ve lived in this house.

Like my grief, it had to spew out sooner or later. Why it happened just before New Year’s when my own emotions were finally letting loose is in the province of magic, which of course I believe in - but who expects it from the plumbing?

Christina scraped and scoured, filling a bucket with mucky gunk while I sluiced out the pipes in the garden with the garden hose until the water ran clear; then I brought them back inside to the kitchen where Christina re-attached them.

The bucket itself we left outside until later, and when Arisika arrived for a session in the studio, the three of us did a ritual of burying the gunk in the garden. We took turns digging and dumping, each of us speaking to the earth with prayers. We were dead serious, the three of us, invoking renewal by composting the old to prepare the garden for new growth in the spring.

We all cried.

The sink drains well now. Me too.

I did not realize the significance of the timing of all that purging, even after yesterday’s trip to the Toxic Waste Dump with a load of ancient paint cans and poisonous snail bait, even after a dream of Herb and me in a bathtub filled with ice cubes. Waking early and watching birdflocks wheeling in the dawn sky, it suddenly occurred to me that it all was connected by the date: December 24, Christmas Eve, the end of one cycle and the beginning of another!

It was on a Christmas Eve those many years ago that Herb and I met and fell in love, at a Midnight Mass in Manhattan, two Jewish kids in a crowd of well-dressed Episcopalians.
December 24 one year ago is also when Herb’s body was finally cremated after a month in a cold vault – ‘ice cubes in a bathtub’ - while the authorities were deciding whether or not to arrest me for assisted suicide.

I’m seeing webs and timings here, the unconscious rhythm of events that carry us along without our even being aware of it. We move to a beat just beyond our range of hearing, but on some level we feel it – we must feel it if even the kitchen plumbing is in synch with us! (pun intended.)

“Plumbing the depths of my sorrow, dredging the rich mud of loss and bringing it out where I can see it, I am discovering that grief turns into roses when I follow its lead.”
I wrote that before the kitchen sink stopped up and before I had the urge to make a trip to the Toxic Waste Dump!

Simple coincidence? Was it just an end-of-the-year impulse cleanup or does it go deeper than that? And what do the birdflocks wheeling in the sky at dawn have to do with it, if anything?

What is synchronicity anyway, and why do these coincidences happen to us whether we recognize them or not?

I don’t really know, but I do know that the web is so richly woven that every strand responds immediately to every other. And connected as we all are, for better or for worse, every move we make has an effect on everything else whether we know it or not.

It makes me want to be very careful and conscious, recognizing that what I do and say can make a difference behind my back. Kindness will generate kindness and violence will beget violence.

That seems to be the law.

Once we get that, I believe that every little thing can ring with significance and then we enter into the magic. It doesn’t have to be big and dramatic - it can be every little thing.
Like a stopped-up sink or old paint cans.

Or who I happen to give a rose to tomorrow.

Or who gives me one.


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