There are moments that have the capacity to change our lives. How do we notice and take advantage of them?
When two or more unrelated events are experienced in a way that implies meaning, this is called synchronicity. It occurs when the mind connects things together in a new and unexpected way. Popular culture refers to these moments as “Aha” moments. They are one of the greatest treasures of the human experience.
Synchronicity can appear in any guise, any color. Today we are going to look at the color that arguably commands the most attention, red.
STOP. You are about to run into something or someone.
How many tragic, meteoric celebrities can you name? Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean? These are people who rushed to the top of their profession and then fell to their deaths from those dizzying heights. Becoming famous quickly can lead to a difficult life and an early grave.
We tend to treat stoplights and stop signs as inconveniences that keep us from getting where we are going. Actually, accidents keep us from getting where we are going. Red lights prevent accidents, so they help us achieve our goals. They don’t tell us to turn around, to change course or get off the road, although they may make those actions easier. They do slow us down and give us moments to reevaluate our situation with awareness, which is a valuable gift considering the hectic pace of the modern world. They also remind us that there are other people out there on their own journeys and shield us from harming someone out of ignorance while pursuing our own interests. Do you recognize any red lights in your life?
PAY ATTENTION. Something is going on here… be ready to improvise.
When I began to have symptoms of Celiac Disease I wasn’t sure how to interpret the red flags my body was giving me. I didn’t have time to stop living and figure things out. It took years to learn what was going on and to become willing and ready to make the changes needed. Now, surprisingly enough, I feel the experience has enriched my life by helping me take better care of myself and take greater delight in the world around me. It has increased my awareness and attention.
Remember this, red flags are not there to doom you or help you get resigned to fate and destiny. They are there so you can escape situations you don’t want to be in. That doesn’t mean you need to be jumpy or expect the worst for no reason, but when you can see it coming you don’t need to turn a blind eye to it. Address it in the moment and find the nearest exit if you need to. How many red flags do you need before you change your course?
HUH? What does that have to do with anything?
Traditional wisdom says, “That looks like a waste of time.” Synchronicity says, “What is that? I need a closer look.” Last year I decided to write some poetry for the the Home and Place Program at Houston Grand Opera. I had been writing for some time, but only for myself. Much to my surprise, the pieces I wrote touched people and continue to bring people together in ways I never imagined. This little red herring, this detour, has turned out to be very central to my journey and has amplified my understanding of myself and the world around me. This journey is about finding synchronicity.
If we are reasonably sure that we aren’t running any red lights or ignoring any red flags, we might as well check out the red herrings that draw our attention and let ourselves be enriched by the beauty around us. If we reduce our lives to major plot points, we lose the things that make us unique. Will you chase synchronicity with me? It is much better shared.
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