A synchronicity is a meaningful coincidence, events that are connected by meaning even though they may be unconnected by distance or the normal laws of causality. An example of a synchronicity would be a watch stopping at the moment of a loved one’s death. A synchronicity is evidence of the connectedness of the inner and outer worlds. Sometimes the meaning is clear and requires no further exploration. Sometimes the meaning, like a dream, is obscure, leading us to see things not previously apparent. In this case, the synchronicity was also an omen, suggesting that I act. I believe it was a shamanistic event, propelled by helping spirits.
This particular synchronicity occurred when Naomi invited a close friend from a moderately distant state named Sarah to stay with us. Looking back, Sarah was probably close to being in crisis, although Naomi didn’t realize it at the time. Naomi did know that Sarah wanted to speak with her about important private matters.
It turned out that Sarah was having an affair with a married man and was seeking Naomi’s council. Naomi had a huge capacity for counseling. But for some reason, in this case, she was highly judgmental of Sarah, stating that Sarah was clearly being used by this man and should end the relationship.
As far as I was concerned, none of this was any of my business. But Naomi was bothered that Sarah was so hurt by her opinion of the affair. Naomi filled me in on the details. I heard nothing to indicate that Sarah was in a positive or negative situation with her lover. From what we heard, there was no way of knowing how the situation would turn out. All we knew was that Sarah was almost desperately lonely, that Sarah loved Brad (names changed), and that she believed Brad loved her. Apart from being married, it sounded like Brad was good to her. We also knew that Sarah believed Brad would leave his wife for her. Of course, this does not usually happen, but in this specific case we had no way of knowing. I told Naomi that Sarah’s life without Brad was probably worse than her life with him, sad as that may or may not have seemed. Naomi admitted that what I said was probably true, but didn’t feel she could accept Sarah’s situation. I told Naomi it could cause a rift between them if she were not more accepting of Sarah’s affair. Naomi acknowledged that this additional insight was also probably true.
The next night Naomi was out on various errands and I was alone in the house with Sarah. I decided that her personal life was none of my business and determined to stay out of it. I was sitting on the couch reading. Sarah was looking out the patio door only a short distance from me. I became aware of the fact that she was crying.
I looked up at her from my position on the couch. Almost immediately, I saw it happen. I was looking directly at it. Her photograph, which had been sitting securely in its 5″ X 7″ wood frame on the mantle over the fireplace, fell to the floor. The photograph had been leaning against the wall for some time, three or four inches from the mantle’s edge. And yet it toppled over from the top down, as if someone had knocked it over. Having watched it fall, I knew there was no logical explanation. What had happened was more or less impossible, but it had happened nonetheless. Perhaps helping spirits had utilized the emotional energy in the room to communicate to me. I knew that the fallen picture was synchronous with the falling out that was occurring between Naomi and Sarah, that Sarah’s sadness was not limited to the dilemma of her love affair with Brad, but also extended to the rejection and lack of support she felt from Naomi.
I walked over and picked up the picture. Sarah had also heard it fall. “Wasn’t that odd,” I said. “I have no idea how that picture possibly could’ve fallen off.” But I did know. Unseen Powers are always just behind the veil. Circumstances occasionally allow them to shine through. I don’t think Sarah cared why the picture fell. Her pain was too intense for speculation. But the event did create a space for discussion. I recognized the synchronicity, not only as a description of internal events between Naomi and Sarah, but also as an omen for me to become involved. My picking up her picture after it had fallen was symbolic of that.
“You’re sad because of your dilemma with Brad, and Naomi’s non-acceptance of the situation.”
She was very open for someone, anyone, to discuss this with.
“Naomi thinks Brad is just using you. I don’t know Brad at all, so that has to be acknowledged as a possibility.” She seemed worried that another judge had entered the room.
“But it’s also possible that Brad truly loves you. It’s even possible he could leave his wife for you.”
She began to speak about her dilemma, but I could see she was going to do the same sort of wheel spinning she’d done with Naomi, and her sadness would only multiply.
“You know, it doesn’t matter to me if you have an affair or break it off. I hope it doesn’t matter to you what I think you should or shouldn’t do. I have no idea. Neither does Naomi.” I let the words sink in. She was receptive, so I continued.
“All that matters is how you feel about this. It’s important you understand that you don’t know for certain what the outcome of this affair will be. If you understand that, and you’re willing to assume responsibility for the outcome, then what other people think becomes irrelevant. Act out of your own center.”
It was like a burden was combed out of her hair. “I can do that,” she said finally. She wasn’t crying anymore.
I had no idea at the time whether she was truly assuming responsibility for the potential of either outcome, or if she was deluding herself that Brad loved her, and if only she believed it, that was enough. I didn’t ask. I had entered into conversation because her picture fell when it couldn’t possibly have fallen. I spoke intuitively. I wasn’t engaging in therapy. At any rate, she was scheduled to leave soon, so there wouldn’t have been time for the process of therapeutic discovery. I told Naomi what happened, and then forgot about it. I didn’t fancy that I’d made any impact or difference one way or another.
Six months later, Brad divorced his wife and married Sarah. She was passing through the Twin Cities on her way to somewhere else. We were never close, and yet she chose to stop by my workplace in order to introduce me to her new husband. At the time, I figured she was just so proud that she would’ve gone out of her way to introduce him to just about anybody. Looking back, I can still see the joy in her eyes as she held him in front of an impartial witness. I now know that she went out of her way to introduce us that day because I had walked across a room to pick up her fallen picture on a day that she was crying.
Open to omens:
I called this a shamanistic event because I was in the practice of going on shamanic walks. As described by my helping spirits, a shamanic walk begins when you form intention and become mindful of your surrounding with that intention or question in mind. For example, if you are wondering if you should make a particular change, and during your walk the sun breaks through the clouds, I would take that as an omen to pursue the change. At this time, I was immersed in reading omens. So the pattern may have led to this omen happening spontaneously. Because I was more likely to read the omen, the omen was more likely to appear.
Becoming a mindful observer:
In order to read omens as they are presented by spirits, and less by projection or wish fulfillment, it is necessary to train yourself to be a keen observer. A discipline such as mindfulness training, yoga (or a physical mind/body art), or an art such as photography can help train you to pay closer attention to yourself and the world around you. These are the same skills that make one an observer of omens. When something just falls off a wall, it doesn’t take such great observational skills as much as being present and knowing that you are present. I never asked: “Did I just see what I thought I saw?” I knew. When you are present, you don’t question your vision, but are prepared to take it to the next step. Why did that happen?